clock tower

Prow to the east to the Maritime Museum of Ischia.


By the end of the 1700’s the Castle of Ischia had ceased being the administrative centre of Ischia. The ancient below-lying village of “Celsa” had finally vindicated its own importance; no longer depending on the turreted citadel – Ischia Ponte (as it is now named), now it included the cathedral, the bishop's  palace, and the “House of Parliament” which today is known as the Clock Tower. The building was destined to be the seat of the Parliament. At the time the varied island towns were called “Università”. The whole island was subjected to a superintendent  of the King, to a military governor stationed on the Castle and to a civil Judge. There was a general Parliament formed by the Mayors plus the deputies of the entire Island and by twenty-four Parliamentarians of the various “università” (12 nobles and 12 plebeians). The general Parliament took care of issues which affected the whole island; presiding over this body was representative of the king: the “Prefect of the Royal Chamber of Santa Chiara”, general superintendent of the island, or in his absence, the Governor of the island. Some other important institutions were the Parliaments of the respective “Università”, which were as well presided by Superintend and Mayor. From 1787 the Parliamentarians officially took the name “Decurioni” the present configuration of the palace, now known as the Clock Tower, goes back to 1759. It was in that period that the “Decurioni” re structured the tower with its Council room and various offices while using the ground floor as a jail. Until 1730, the General Parliaments were held in the tower. In the 1759 a “municipal clock” was placed on the tower, hence the current name. This clock’s face was in marble and only in 1960 it was replaced by luminous face. Also in 1759, near the tower, administrators set a basin in “tiburtina” stone. Even today, on the facade of the building you can read not only a plaque commemorating the death of King Vittorio Emanuele II, but also another far older one dedicated by Baron Antonini to the afore-mentioned fountain: “Aquam ex fonte Buceti A.D. IVMP publico aere derivatam labroque ex tiburtino lapide ornatam et turri in qua concilia fierent adpositam addito orario Decuriones Pithaecusani utendam fruendam civibus dedurunt A.D. 1759*”. Since the beginning the tower was used as a Government building. In the 1898, in planning documents it is mentioned as “City Hall”. In the early 1900’s Municipal offices were transferred to the “Palazzo Mazzella” across the street. The building then served as an elementary school until 1967. On December 15th, 1996 the Museum of the Sea was inaugurated.

* The authorities have given water to the citizens so that they may use it with pleasure. It is with the money of all that it is drawn from the font of “Buceto” and springs forth in this lovely tiburtina stone basin.  

From the guest-book   


·        Your wonderful idea fills a gap and gives all sea lovers hope to make the sea traditions live forever.

·        Very good exposition of the history and the sea of the island of Ischia.

·        These beautiful enterprises should be more and more appreciated because they show visitors how much the people of Ischia are linked to their own traditions.

·        It is really a beautiful museum, which should be anyway visited.

·        I found it a very interesting museum, expecially about local history, above all.

·        It was the best impression we got from our visit to the island.

·        Congratulation: You saved the history of your island: this, means love for culture.

·        All the best to the island of Ischia and to the people, who dedicate themselves to keep its traditions alive.

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Aggiornato il: 29 dicembre 2000