Pithecusae (Greek: Πιθηκοῦσαι): small island in front of the Bay of Naples, first Greek settlement in Central Italy. The modern name is Ischia.
In front of the Bay of Naples are several small islands. Pithecusae is the largest of these and was one of the first places occupied by Greek colonists, who arrived from the Euboean towns of Eretria and Chalcis.note[Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 7.3.1.] The new settlement was a trading post (an emporion) and served as base for the colonization of the mainland, where a city name like Neapolis (“the new town”) suggests that it belonged to the next phase of the Greek presence in Central Italy. Neapolis, modern Naples, was to become a real city (an apoikia). The same can be said for Cumae, Capua, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and so on.
Archaeological finds from the acropolis of Pithecusae date from the mid-eighth century but are subject to debate. (Radiocarbon dates appear to be higher than dates based on pottery.) There is evidence for early metallurgical production, suggesting a trade route to Etruria. In historical times, the island was ruled from cities like Cumae, Syracuse, and finally the Roman Republic.