Castello Aragoneseatop a massive rock off the eastern shore of Isola d' Ischiawas a Byzantine military garrison in the 5th Century. In 1438 Alfonso V had the islet linked to the land by a masonry bridge, ordered an access ramp cut into the rock, and fortified the castle with bastions. From 1495 it was inhabited by the family of d'Avalos, governors of the island.
This brooding castle high above the sea was for a while the home of Vittoria Colonna, an intriguing Renaissance figure. Vittoria had great stature as a political and intellectual leader, and was friend and adviser to many of the greatest personalities of her age, including Michaelangelo. She was as well an accomplished poet.
Below the nearby Cattedrale is the Convent of Clarissa where in the 16th century an austere order of nuns called the Poor Clares spent their days in prayer, penance, contemplation, severe fasts and hard labor. When one of them died, the corpse was placed in a carved stone seat to putrefy. The Poor Clares were required to visit these rotting figures each day, as a reminder of what awaits us all.
Putrify to Purify