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Displaying items by tag: isole pontine
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 11:31

Ponza Island

Visiting the typical touristic hubs in the Regions of Lazio or Campania and want to make a quick getaway to an island paradise? You may be surprised to know that not far from Rome and Naples lie six tiny, yet beautiful islands known as the Pontines. 
Those in the know (and near the Tyrrhenian) make these Islands their spring/summer weekend destination, and who could blame them? 
The transparent waters, the gracious little ports, and the easy ferry connections make these “fishermen’s isles” an attainable Mediterranean dream: within just a couple hours from the coast, the Pontine Islands will be welcoming you with all their warmth and hospitality.
PonzaThe Pontines make up an archipelago: individually they are Gavi, Zannone, Palmarola, Ventotene, Santo Stefano and, the first among equals, Ponza, from which the island chain takes its name. Of course these magnificent isles boast a well-developed touristic structure, but it is really the sea, the nature, and the landscape that attract visitors most.

Ponza is the most frequented of the islands – a mere 3.1 square miles of terrain, it is a concentration of both rocky and sandy beaches, natural arches, faraglioni or sea-stacks, pristine waters, romantic coves and landfalls for mooring, and magnificent, hilly scenery. 
But it is also concentrations of tiny, rambling streets, artisan workshops and typical restaurants and cafes buzzing with tourists each evening. Some houses sport slightly-barrel vaulted roofs and some sit right on the port and shine like the sun with their bright, pastel colors. 
Upon coming here, any sea lover immediately understands that the Pontine Islands are the ideal vacation setting. Numerous beaches and tiny harbors define the coast of Ponza alone: the most famous is Chiaia di Luna, marked by abundant sand and rocky bluffs in ethereal tones of white, yellow and, almost as if reflecting the sea, a rare blue-green. Not to be forgotten is the beach of Lucia Rosa, where seaside revelers and romantics flock to watch the sunset; Fèola Cove, with its natural shallow pools; and Frontone Beach, happening spot that many reach in the smallest of boats to enjoy early-evening aperitivo. 
With not only beaches to offer, the Pontine Islands hold much more under the surface: marine landscapes at which scuba divers and snorkelers will absolutely marvel. They will find an underwater isthmus connecting Ponza to its neighboring isle of Zannone, and deep and variegated seabeds bearing such relics as ancient Roman ships and sunken World War II steamship remnants.

Published in Pontine Islands
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 10:10

Palmarola Island

Palmarola is smaller still, craggy and almost uninhabited. There's a small landing-place for boats and a restaurant (summer only). The green isle of Zannone is a nature reserve, and also the site of a ruined monastery, built in 1213. The remaining island is little Gavi, which is private and inhabited year-round only by wild rabbits.

Ventotene and Ponza have several archaeological sites; the Emperor Augustus exiled his embarassing daughter Julia to Ventotene (then known as Pandataria); and Nero later did the same with his wife Octavia. The remains of the Roman Villa Giulia can be seen on the tip of the Eolo headland by the port. Over the centuries many other notable exiles arrived on the Pontine islands, including the early saint Flavia Domitilla, Sandro Pertini (a prisoner of the Fascists and later President of Italy) and Mussolini (confined here for a few days in 1943).

Fortresses and prisons mostly date back to the period when the islands belonged to the Bourbons, ownership having passed from the aristocratic Farnese family in 1734. In 1813, Ponza was briefly captured by the British during the Napoleonic Wars before being returned to the Bourbon dynasty.

As well as swimming and sunbathing, the islands offer heaps of opportunities for boating and diving. If the action gets too much, there are restaurants and bars for unwinding after dusk, while pleasant daytime hours can be spent exploring the islands' dramatic landscapes, hunting out scattered ruins and breathtaking views.

Published in Pontine Islands

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