Associazione Vivara APS - amici delle piccole isole
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Brief news on the islet of Vivara  


The island of Vivara, 34 hectares, is the smallest of the so-called ones "Phlegrean Islands" (the others ones are Ischia, Procida and Nisida) which, together with Capri of completely different nature, they form the group of islands of the gulf in Naples.

It is what it stays of a submarine crater, whose emergent cone has been attacked and destroyed by the sea and by the winds.

Vivara house (particular)

It belongs to the Hospital Albano Francescano of Procida, it's uninhabited and in natural oasis has been constituted for protecting its geographical characteristics, the native vegetation, of typical Mediterranea bush, even if in past epoch has been turned into cultivation of oil and grapevines and above all the migratory and permanent avifauna, that counts around 200 kind of birds.

An archaeological mission, by now from years is activates on the island, testimonies that bring up to the XVI-XII see has noticed A.C., showing Mycenaean and pre-Mycenaean infiltrations.

In the 1681 it was realized the complex of the buildings that they are found on the island, constituted by an agricultural house, a villa, a little stable and a turret.
To the Bourbon Age go back the shelter of said entry " the lance-corporal's house ", and the use of the island as a shoot reserve.
Naturally today the hunting and so any kind of capture of the Vivara fauna is forbidden.

In the 1957 it was build a bridge that sustains the aqueduct of Procida and Ischia and that surmount the few about ten meters of sea that separates it from Procida becoming also the half one of terrestrial connection. 

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The islet of Vivara (Procida – Napoli)

Vivara - Casa padronale

The Campi Flegrei, rich in history, nature, culture, and traditions rooted in the most ancient past, constitute an important part of the land of Campania. Finds from the Mycenaean and pre-Mycenaean periods suggest a continuity of settlement even preceding Greek colonization and the Roman and mediaeval settlements, through the fourteenth century up to our own days. This vast patrimony deserves to be more widely known and highly valued, but cannot withstand the development of mass tourism.

Areas of particular naturalistic and archaeological interest, such as the islet of Vivara, offer an opportunity, in accordance with the most recent guidelines for environmental protection, for the creation and development of natural reserves dedicated to environmental education of a kind which, with full respect for the natural environment, would foster a  tourism oriented towards conservation. This would, on the one hand, diffuse a positive image of the region and the people who have conserved its integrity and, on the other, foster a mediterranean ecological conscience the necessity for which is ever the more widely recognized.

This activity would also have a pedagogical effect on the local population, important because Vivara must be considered in connection with the island of Procida and the area of Flegrea, and because, given the complete lack of structures for the teenage population, Procida is now considered a somewhat dangerous area. The success of this activity would send throughout Europe the echo of an education which, by cultivating a love of nature in young people, would develop in them a sense of harmony  and proportion, enlarging their cultural and ethical horizons to a degree otherwise inaccessible to disfavored youths.  

Tourists, scientists, and scholars could visit the small island of Vivara to understand the aspect of Mediterranean shores and islands before it was changed, perhaps irretrievably, by the aggressive exploitation of our times.
The islet must be conserved in its integrity, so that its beauty may be known to whoever aspires to it, offering at the same time an appropriate reception to scholars desirous of deepening their knowledge of its geology, flora and fauna in conditions of scientific observation.

Vivara (34 hectares) is a volcanic island in the gulf of Naples completely covered with foliage. The climate, moderated by the sea, is sweet and mild, exquisitely mediterranean. The geologists De Lorenzo and Riva, disembarking on Vivara, wrote: "In the September of 1899, surveying this crater of Vivara which so beautifully opens between the laughing sea and the sky, with a true inner joy we observe that it also offers much precious material for study." The island, which rises 109 meters above sea level, was formed by a partly undersea explosive eruption, and has since been eroded on its eastern side by the action of the sea. Vivara is conspicuous for its crescent shape, with clearly visible compact strata of grey and yellow tufa, copious vegetation, and an igneous blanket composed of ash, small stones, pumice-stones, and scoriae.  

The islet is owned by the Public Hospital Albano Francescano. It is linked to Procida by a bridge, constructed in 1956 by the Fund for Southern Italy, which conducts the acquaduct to Ischia.
Buildings on the island include an impressive sixteenth century villa, still endowed with the necessary equipment for the production of oil and wine, a lookout tower, and some farmhouses.

Vivara is the only site in the Flegrean area which manifests geomorphic and volcanic structures not yet subjected to irreversible human impact. It also features notable fauna, archaeological remains, and botanical specimens of importance. The island is particularly interesting, from the ecological point of view, for the good state of preservation of the flora and vegetation, notwithstanding the cultivation of some parts of the island in the nineteenth century. In 1973 the island was declared a protected oasis, and so the remaining vestiges of originary vegetation have gradually returned to the territories that man had previously removed them from.

Vivara can be considered a laboratory in which nature has renewed her experiments. It is particularly important at this time not to disrupt the ecological equilibrium that is only now being reestablished on the island. These developments have attracted the attention of several researchers from the geobotanical laboratory of the Botanical Institute of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Naples Frederick II, under the direction of Professor Caputo. These researchers, in addition to their studies of the development and interaction of vegetation on Vivara, have undertaken a cartographical survey of the island. The research conducted on Vivara is part of the Institute's larger study of the microinsular environment in the south-central region of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Favorable local climactic conditions, caused by neighboring Mount Epomeo on Ischia, have fostered arboreal vestiges including significant examples of roverella (Quercus pubescens), representing a type of vegetation that took hold when the climate was milder and cooler than today.  These oaks and the high  bush, which seem to attest a stage of degradation of the original climactic conditions, recall a time when all of the Campi Flegrei were covered by forest.
Some sides of the islet are marked by a prevalence of lentisc, philyrea, myrtle, arbutus, and carob.  The island is enriched in spring by extraordinary flora including narcissus, hyacinth, and cistus, everwhere  varied by  the soft green of the young euphorbia and ferula which in the summertime attain heights of two meters.

Also of singular importance is the presence in some of the oak forests of some species not associated with coastal areas, and therefore unusual in the environment of small islands.
The birds of Vivara are one of the island's most interesting features. The observation of the species of the place and of their seasonal behavior in the ambient of the mediterranean brush is of inherent interest, as is the observation of the migratory patterns of various birds that use the island as their trampoline or as their first landing place in their crossing of the Mediterranean. Situated on the migratory route of the avifauna, the island has in past years lent itself admirably to the installation of an ornithological observatory of international renown and of considerable scientific interest. It functioned as the only ring station in Italy in correspondence with similar centers in Europe, operating full-time in Italy and the Mediterranean for more than sixteen years (1974-1990).

The  observatory, directed by Professor Punzo of the Trifoglio Union, in collaboration with the Zoological Institute of the University of Naples Frederick II, under the direction of Professor Milone, placed rings on many hundreds of migratory birds and published its own bulletin. Their constant retrieval over the course of many years has demonstrated either their constant presence or their preference for Vivara as a stage in their migration.

Professor Tremblay of the Institute of Entomology of the Agrarian Faculty of Portici (Naples) has published numerous studies of local insects. Professor Tremblay has identified a new species of cochineal on the roots of the inula tree, the homopteron Phenacoccus Vivarensis (1976). Professor Fimiani of the Biological Department of the University of Basilicata – Italy - has found significant biological, evolutionary, and ecological aspects in this insect group which, however small its dimensions, is numerically the most representative.

In the zoological field, Professor Picariello of the Zoological Institute of the University of Naples have been conducted studies on the island's reptiles. The most characteristic vertebrates (lizards, robins, Sardinian warblers, blackbirds, finches, herring-gulls, domestic mice, rabbits) have been studied not only to classify the species in their own environment but also to understand their reproductive processes. In the future research activity on the island may be centered on some ecological and behavioral issues in connection with reproductive rhythms. Vivara well lends itself to this type of research.

Vivara contains the only traces of prehistoric settlement in the Flegrean area documented by scientific excavations. Of particular interest is the discovery of Aegean-Mycenaean ceramics, datable to between the seventeenth and fourteenth centuries B.C. These finds show the influence of an ancient Mediterranean culture, and represent, together with finds in the Aeolian islands, the most ancient traces of commercial activity between the Cyclades, Crete, the Peloponnese and the western Mediterranean. An archaeological itinerary of the island's interior might be developed.

The already extraordinary context of possibilities that the island presents for science, culture, and naturalistic education is complemented by its sea which, in comparison with other areas, is less polluted and, in its gulf, marked by a significant exchange of water with the open sea. The study of marine organisms is only possible in areas where natural conditions have been unchanged. The study of some aspects heretofore unexamined, such as algae, and vegetal parasites, might be undertaken.

An optimal use of the Mediterranean natural reserve of Vivara might be supplemented by the development of a protected marine area around its perimeter, monitored by the Naples Zoological Station. This would also further protect the island by preventing access to the island from the sea.

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