July 9, 2013 / Places
Ponza, Lazio

ponza1This small island just off the Tyrrhenian coast between Rome and Naples is a local, very pleasant and low-key weekend vacation destination, just as it was for the Romans two thousand years ago.

And before them and since? Volsci, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Libyans, Egyptians, Anatolians, and Canaanites, Moors, Spanish, French… Pretty much everyone in the neighborhood has at one point or another settled here.

They’ve used it for all sorts of purposes too… mining, vacationing, Saracen raiding base, fish farming, as an ancient shipping and cargo port, a penal colony, a religious center, etc. etc.

ponza2Why go? Besides the pretty phenomenal fish restaurants (but avoid the ones at the port itself), the island has unlimited, picture perfect, isolated rocky coves to sail into and enjoy all day. Oh, and supposedly there are quite a few ruins too… except if anyone manages to see them then let the rest of us know. For some reason you just never manage to get around to it…



by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

5 Responses to “Ponza”

  1. bob paglee

    Thanks for this interesting reminder about Ponza. When I was working at the U.S. Embassy in Rome during the early 1950s, my bride and I took trips almost every weekend to visit some of the innumerable beautiful localities within easy driving distance. At the start of one unforgettable weekend, we went to Ponza.

    If I recollect correctly, we drove to Anzio, parked the car and climbed aboard a small vaporetto (ferryboat) that took us to Ponza. Upon arrival we inquired around, and were recommended to stay with a friendly fisherman’s family that provided a room for guests in their small but tidy home.

    About 5 A.M. the next morning we were rudely awakened by several very loud nearby explosions. It turned out to be cannon fire — not to repel another Saracen invasion — but the firing of a ceremonial cannonade to celebrate the return visit of a Ponza-born Priest who had emigrated to America! Great fun!

    Having brought along my spear gun, swimming mask, and fins, I went down into the tranquil, crystal waters of the bay in search of a trophy. But all I could spear (by accident) was a weird creature, of a sort I had never seen before — a sea cucumber! I quickly turned it loose, and that ended my fishing endeavors at Ponza.

    Next day, my wife and I boarded another vaporetto in Ponza harbor and continued our adventure down to the next island paradise in a chain of them that extends past Naples. I don’t know if those vaporetti are still operating, but if so, they offer a splendid opportunity for visiting some delightful out-of-the-way places.

    • Thank you Bob Paglee. How great it would be to read your other accounts about Italy being this one was stellar, or I should say “great fun”.

  2. Lovely island, but how does one get there. Ferry from Naples or Rome ? Thank you. LOVE your website !

    • Vincent Cammisa

      Agnes, from Rome or Naples take a train to Anzio and then an aliscafo (high-speed hydrofoil) to Ponza. On calm seas the trip is about an hour if I remember correctly.


Leave a Reply