The archipelago of wonders immersed in the Blue Ponza between history and nature

Italy – About 50 km from the coast of Latina, and 120 km from the port of Naples, surrounded by the blue detail of that point of the Tyrrhenian Sea, is located one of the pearls of the Italian natural heritage: the island of Ponza. Its area of 8 square km makes it the largest island in the archipelago of the Ponziane Islands, including the islands of Gavi, Zannone, Palmarola, Ventotene and Santo Stefano.

The only inhabited centres, those of Ponza and Ventotene, which have a total of 4000 inhabitants, live on profitable craft, fishing and tourist activities. Those that in the past, since Roman times, were places of confinement for those who dared to oppose the state, today are among the most fascinating, exciting and engaging. What makes these islands truly unique is the variety of geological elements that characterizes them.

In Ponza, the beach of Chiaia di Luna, described by Enea in the Homeric songs, is an authentic spectacle. Equally important is the bay of Cala Fèola, much loved for its particular shape that gives life to natural pools. Incredibly fascinating is the cliff north of the bay, called Capo Bianco because of the dazzling white of the volcanic rock, perforated with caves some of which can be visited with a tender or swimming. This magical place was even used by Federico Fellini as the set of the movie Satyricon. And then there is the head of Punta della Madonna, which also shows off some large outcropping rocks and a cliff. The rock is very clear and crossed, in the cliff facing north, by tunnels and hypogea dug by the Romans and visited by boat with local operators. The approach by boat to the cliff is instead forbidden. Not far off is the so-called Red Rock with ideal depths for snorkeling. Just to the south, some reefs called Ants can be explored with scuba diving for each level.

In Ventotene, about 40km from Ponza, however, the ruins of Roman infrastructure characterize most of the island environment. Of particular importance is the Roman Port, the best preserved and visible structure in the current port of the island, the main point of connection to the rest of the world. It is a basin dug into the tuff, which is still functional for boats moored, which can enjoy good protection from the wind. Let’s not forget Villa Giulia, one of the residences of the Emperor Octavian, who used it as a place of confinement for his daughter (from whom the residence later took its name), where the different areas are still clearly visible. Among these, it is possible to distinguish the private thermal area, with the calidarium, the frigidarium and the tiepidarium. A paradise for lovers of diving who take advantage of the beautiful seabed, among other things, characterized by some wrecks capable of creating surreal scenarios.

The uninhabited islands are also of great interest, an ideal area for yachtsmen and sailors who move freely in that marvellous blue sea, bluer than blue, interrupted only by the jagged coastline and the games of rock. Palmarola, rugged and wild, is an authentic Mediterranean eden which, with its small but fascinating hills and majestic cliffs allegorically nicknamed “cathedrals”, is an irresistible destination.

The islands are very much appreciated by the international jet set, which allows the archipelago of the islands to be defined as a worldly destination of excellence. On the other hand, the archipelago is an extraordinary combination of beauty, scents and flavors. Even the cuisine is excellent, Mediterranean, particular in the union of elements such as fish and legumes. The spaghetti with granseola, very tasty and spectacular in the planting as the tradition wants, is not to be missed. And what about linguine with lobster, which becomes the distinctive taste of a sauce made with garlic, parsley, oil, cherry tomatoes and white wine. Concluding with a series of desserts such as zeppole and casatiello alla ponzese, the perfect fulfillment of a midsummer dream.

The most important island from the historical point of view is that of Santo Stefano, a few kilometers from Ventotene, which houses the prison built under the Bourbons in 1795 remained in operation until 1965. During Fascism, the President of the Italian Republic Sandro Pertini and Giuseppe Di Vittorio were confined to this prison as political dissidents. This is also the place where the Ventotene Manifesto, considered the founding text of the European Union, was written by Altiero Spinelli and Eugenio Colorni during their confinement in the fascist era.


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