Ponza (Italian: Isolated Ponza [iːzola di pontes] ) is the largest island of the Italian Pontine Islands archipelago , located 33 km (21 mi) south of Cape Circeo in the Tyrrhenian Sea . It is also the name of the commune of the island, part of the province of Latina in the Lazio region.


The island was inhabited from neolithic through Roman times. According to local legends, Ponza was named after Pontius Pilate , Roman governor of Judea who tried Jesus of Nazareth for sedition against Roman rule. Pontius Pilate’s family owned grotto on Ponza, which is still named after him. The Pontius Pilate legend of Ponza’s name HAS recently come into conflict Amongst historians, Because The name “Pontia” appears in Strabo ‘s Geography . This pre-dates the birth of Pilate. [1] Ponza or a similar name. Also, Pontiameans “Land of Bridges” in Latin, a name which could have been applied for Ponza’s many naturally occurring arches and bridge-like landforms. Another theory is that of Greek origin, from Greek pontos , πόντος , sea (see also Pontus).

Greek and Roman periods

In ancient times the island was called Tyrrhenia . Legend says that Ponza is what is left of the lost island of Tyrrhenia. Ponza is Said to-have-been connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, qui sank into the sea with MOST of the island below the water, with the remaining shares Above sea level . The same exact happened at Capri . According to legend, there was a large city on the ancient island. There has been significant archaeological progress that this may be true. For example, it was discovered that the harbor floor of Pozzuoli had sunk and risen several times in the last 5,000 years, revealing sunken Roman temples .

Ponza was first colonized by Etruscans . The island was heavily forested with giant trees in ancient times, but the forest is covered with man-made terraces . Most of these terraces are no longer being used to grow food and are falling apart, due to lack of maintenance. The tallest hill on the island, called Monte Guardia, still has the rotting stumps of the extinct giant trees over eight feet wide. Crops are grown on these terraces like grapes for wine and cactus pears and fig trees.

Ponza est Suspected to be the island of Aeaea in Homer ‘s Odyssey , as the island of Circe the sorceress, Where Was her cellar or grotto. Today it is known as Grotta della Maga Circe on the west side of the island, between Cape Bianco and Chaia di Luna beach. She was said to have lived in this cave in the winter months, spending the summer atop nearby Mount Circe on the mainland of Italy. This is where the Circe turned Odysseus ‘ men into the world of animals and animals. On the west side of Ponza is the Grotto of Ulisse O Del Sangue, which means Cave of Ulysses of the Blood. The GrottoThe Belvedere , which has the Giardino Botanico Ponziano, has a botanical garden with a villa and the remains of a castle. These caves or grottoes are popular destinations to visit by boat only.

During Roman times, Nero Caesar , eldest brother of Caligula , was deported to Ponza in AD 29, where he was put to death the following year. Two of his sisters, Agrippina the Younger (mother of the emperor Nero) and Julia Livilla , were exiled to Ponza in AD 39 for their complicity in a plot to overthrow Caligula. They were reminded to Rome in AD 41. Julia Livilla had a mansion named Palazzo Giulia (Julia’s Palace) built specially for her on Ponza. The ruins are still visible. A similar mansion with the name was Ventotene for Emperor Augustus’ exiled daughter, Julia the Elder .

Middle Ages

Ponza was abandoned during the Middle Ages due to constant raids by Saracens and pirates . In 1552, the Ottoman fleet under the command of Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West) defeated the Spanish fleet of Emperor Charles V under the command of the famous admiral Genoese Andrea Doria near Ponza.


During the 18th century, the Kingdom of Naples re-colonized the island. In 1813 it was captured by British Naval Captain Charles Napier during the Napoleonic Wars . [2]

The island became part of the Kingdom of Italy in the mid-19th century and is now part of the Republic of Italy. The island’s isolation is aimed at the penal colony by various regimes. During the two decades of fascism , Ponza and nearby Ventotene served as a prison for political opponents of Benito Mussolini’s regime. The Ethiopian Prince Regent and military leader Ras Immiru , who was captured by the Italian Army in 1936, was imprisoned in a house in Santa Maria. Mussolini himself was imprisoned on the island for several weeks after being overthrown and arrested in 1943.

This is the tragic story of Lucia Rosa who threw herself into the Tyrrhenian Sea rather than being forced to marry a man against her wishes. She is viewed by many women around the world as a martyrfor women ‘s rights and symbol for human rights.

A few years ago when? ] Engineers working one year ancient Roman tunnel connected That the harbor of Ponza to share the neighborhood of Santa Maria , used explosives to dig led nearby – They Were Supposed to use a chisel . The explosive shock shattered and destroyed a 2,100-year-old Roman gallery tunnel. The tunnel that connects Ponza with Santa Maria is now repaired, but many residents who? ] complain that it does not look like it used to, with steel reinforced concrete in place of Roman bricks.

Today the island is a tourist attraction with beaches like Chiaia di Luna or Half Moon Beach, now permanently closed to the world. Several tourists were killed a few years ago when? ] while sunbathing on the beach. The Italian National Park Service has installed steel cable to prevent further rock falls and deaths. The Roman Galleria or Roman Tunnel that is connected to the road is now closed because of collapsing Roman brickwork. Many beaches that have become so much more popular than ever since.

In the late summer / early fall of 2007, six “aquanauts” spent two weeks living underwater off the coast of Ponza, breaking all other records. quote needed ]


Ponza and Gavi are the remains of a caldera rim of an extinct volcano , with a surface area of ​​7.3 square kilometers (2.8 square miles). Ponza is approximately 5.5 mi (8.9 km) along by 1.5 mi (2.4 km) at its widest. It is a crescent shaped island with a large beach called Half Moon Beach and a few rocky coast made of kaolin and tuff rock. The island has layers of Kaolinite and Bentonite which used to be mined. It has many natural rock formations, one looks like a monk , Spaccapurpo(Arco Naturale O Spaccapolpi), another looks like a patch of flowers and another one looks like mushrooms, another looks like a horseman. It has the Fantasy Rock Castle and several natural bridges and arches. It also has Faragliones or giant sea stacks made of solid rock. Ponza, Santa Maria and Le Forna. Ponza is often confused with nearby islands like Ischia and Capri , except Ponza has no active volcanism.


[ hide ]Climate data for Ponza (1971-2000, extremes 1946-present)
month Jan Feb Mar Apr may Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec year
Record high ° C (° F) 17.4
Average high ° C (° F) 12.1
Daily mean ° C (° F) 10.4
Average low ° C (° F) 8.8
Record low ° C (° F) -2.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 64.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 7.9 7.2 6.2 6.6 3.5 2.0 0.9 2.1 5.1 8.0 9.0 8.7 67.2
Average relative humidity (%) 75 74 75 77 77 74 73 75 76 77 73 74 75
Source: Servizio Meteorologico (humidity 1961-1990) [3] [4] [5]


The island is famed for its Blue Grottoes, which were created by the Etruscans. Among them are Grotto Snakes and the Roman Gallery, a Roman tunnel that connects the town of Ponza to the (now closed) wide sandy beach called Chiaia di Luna on the west side. The island has many archeological ruins visible everywhere, including Egyptian , Canaanite, Greek, and Phoenician necropolis ruins in the middle of the island. There are Etruscan ruins on Roman ruins. A large statue called Il Mamozio (“The Mummy”) or Il Mitreo , meaning a miter or priest’s hat, is a 3,000-year-old marble statueand was found in the harbor. Depicting a local Etrurian consul, it is now displayed in a museum in Napoli behind protective plastic, where it was reunited with its head. It is the oldest known Etruscan statue of its kind and extremely rare.


The town of Ponza is a fishing port with several large docks that can accommodate large ships. Its biggest industry is tourism by boatbuilding, boat repair and fishing.

The four mines at the northern end – the most beautiful area of ​​the island – were closed down in 1975 by the Italian Environmental Protection Agency because of the mining operation’s destruction of the wildlife and flora, which are endangered species . The mines produced kaolin and Bentonite . Kaolin is used in making Kaolin-Pectin medicine and the manufacture of porcellain.

Ponza has a two lane road that goes to north to south, but can accommodate small cars only. An airstrip is planned for the north of the island. Because there is no airstrip, seaplanes visit the island instead.

Celebrities who have vacationed on Ponza include Kirk Douglas , his son Michael Douglas , Anthony Quinn , Burt Lancaster , Gina Lollobrigida , Elsa Martinelli and Sophia Loren , Cousteau and his son, Philippe Cousteau , who filmed several documentaries in the area.

Federico Fellini’s Satyricon (1969) was filmed on Ponza. Some scenes in Wes Anderson’s movie The Life Aquatic were filmed on the island; Ponza was instead called in the movie, “Port-au-Patois”. [1] [2] [3]

The Rai Fiction television series, “Un’altra Vita” (2014), was largely filmed on Ponza. [4] Many of the scenes showcase the hilly landscape and rugged shoreline of the island.

Most of the people who live there raise rabbits and chickens and other animals in coops for meat to make cacciatore . Other farmed animals include goats, lambs and pigeons .

Many of the original inhabitants of Ponza are now leaving the island. They are steadily being replaced by other Italians from the mainland. Many local children simply move away after becoming adults and never return.

The local economy is in a downward direction due to severe restrictions on commercial fishing.


Ponza reach ferries from Naples , Terracina , Formia and Anzio ; There are also hydrofoils (aliscafo) from Anzio and Formia that take about 75 minutes. The ferries and hydrofoils may not depart from Ponza during severe weather conditions. Much of Ponza is accessible by bus and runs the length of the island.

Main sights

  • Giardino Botanico Ponziano “Ponza’s Botanical Garden”
  • Capo Bianco “Cape White” Italian National Natural Monument
  • Spiaggia di Chaia di Luna (Moon Gravel Beach)
  • Grotta della Maga Circe (Cave of the Sorceress Circe )
  • Grotta di Ulisse or the Blood “Cave of Ulysses ( Odysseus ) of the Blood”
  • Monte Guardia (“Watchout Hill”), Ponza’s tallest hill
  • Arco Naturale o Spaccapolpi , a natural arch
  • Grotta Azzurra , a sea ​​cave complex
  • Spiaggia delle Felci , a beach
  • Grotta di Serpent an underground maze of tunnels built by the Romans, much of it blocked off for safety reasons.
  • Cave di Pilato , built by the Romans .
  • Spiaggia Di Le Forna , a smaller and tourist beach.
  • natural saltwater swimming pool in Forna.
  • Faraglioni di Lucia Rosa (Rocky shoals) named in honor of Lucia Rosa
  • Spiaggia di Frontone , a beach
  • Spiaggia di Santa Maria , a beach
  • Cala Fonte Natural fisherman ‘s harbor, swimming on the north side is interesting.
  • Bue marino cellar where the seals where used to find cover.
  • cala Gaetano Beautiful sea colors, nice variety of fish during the spring time are visible.
  • Caletta Also called the sunset coast is possible to admire some beautiful sunsets.
  • Forte Papa An ancient fortress used to defend the island from Saracens attacks from the sea.


June 20 feast of St. Silverius
August 15 feast of the Virgin Mary


  1. Jump up^ It should be noted that this only excludes the possibility that the name is derived fromthat particularPontius. Since names have been repeatedly applied in Roman families – even to the point of having multiple sounds with the samenamebut differingcognomina– it remains plausible that an earlierPontiusinspired the name.
  2. Jump up^ The annual register or a view of the history, politics and literature for the year 1813 . Baldwin. 1823. p. 161.
  3. Jump up^ “Ponza / Isola Di (LT)” (PDF) . Atlante climatico . Servizio Meteorologico . Retrieved 19 May 2015 .
  4. Jump up^ “STAZIONE 280 Ponza: medie mensili periodo 61 – 90” . Servizio Meteorologico . Retrieved 19 May 2015 .
  5. Jump up^ “Ponza: Monthly Record 1946” (in Italian). Servizio Meteorologico dell’Aeronautica Militare . Retrieved 19 May 2015 .

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