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Blick auf die Insel Ponza, Bild: Matteo_Ciani / shutterstock

Ponza – the Italian insider tip in the Tyrrhenian Sea

“Between bougainvilleas and explosions of broom, I lose myself in the beauty of these sunsets and find my paradise on earth”.


This quote comes from the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Eugenio Montale, who expressed his enthusiasm for the small island of Ponza. And yet it is not one of the best-known places to go in Italy, which is otherwise so much travelled. If you visit Ponza, you are following a true insider tip that is not very well known outside Italy.

Facts about Ponza

Ponza belongs to one of the Pontine Islands and is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, between the capital Rome and Naples. The area of 7.3 km² shows the shape of a sickle and is home to about 3,300 inhabitants, most of whom live in the main town of Ponza as well as in Le Forna on the west coast.

In earlier times, the island was often used as a place for the internment of various historically relevant personalities. Benito Mussolini and Pope Silverius, among others, were arrested here. The latter found his final resting place on the small island. And Homer also immortalized the archipelago in his Odyssey, through the legend of Odysseus and Circe.

What makes Ponza an interesting destination?

Chiaia di Luna, Ponza
The Chiaia di Luna, Image: Ciro Orabona Creative / shutterstock

Ponza is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean and is a very well-known and popular destination for a relaxing holiday among Italians. The rugged cliffs, wonderful white sandy beaches and the enchanting little bays offer the perfect backdrop. Since Ponza has so far been spared from mass tourism, large hotel complexes are not to be seen, and so the picture is characterized by pastel-colored houses and small hotels embedded in the architecture. The island is particularly suitable for an active holiday with hiking, snorkeling and swimming, because nature is the real star of this small island.

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Which sights should be visited?

One of the absolute highlights is the main town of Ponza. Built like an amphitheatre on the water, this place has wonderful pastel-coloured houses and a cute, picturesque harbour. Here you can sit in one of the numerous restaurants with a glass of wine and pasta. Enjoy the fantastic view of the sea and la dolce vita is perfect.

Ponza also has its own legend, as a love drama is said to have taken place here at the end of the 19th century. The young Lucia Rosa is said to have jumped from a rock to her death because she was not allowed to marry her lover, who was a poor farmer.
The place is now known as the Faraglioni di Lucia Rosa and, as a viewpoint, offers a meeting place for romantics and lovers of unhappy love stories.

And Ponza, like Capri , also has its grottoes. One of the most famous is the Grotto of Pilatus, which can be found near the port of Ponza. Old statues and other decorations still bear witness to the religious benefits that this place had in times long past. The long use of the grotto is also shown by the name, which is said to go back to Pontius Pilate. For diving enthusiasts, the Secca dei Mattoni is a worthwhile destination for a walk into the depths of the sea.
Here you can visit a wreck that was discovered in 1985 at a depth of 30 meters. The Roman ship contained amphorae and other precious objects.

Ponza also offers beautiful coves and beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters for swimming.

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How to get to Ponza?

Port of Ponza
Port of Ponza, Image: Vladimir Sazonov / shutterstock

The journey is by plane to Rome or Naples airport. From there, you can continue to the island by speedboat, ferry or hydrofoil. The departure is also possible from smaller towns, so that the coast between Rome and Naples can be driven in advance with a rental car before the beach holiday on Ponza begins. It should be noted that in summer only the islanders are allowed to travel by car. So if you want to spend your time here in summer, you should leave the car on the mainland.

Tips for the perfect stay in Ponza

Since the journey to the island is a bit time-consuming, enough time should be planned.
Due to the fact that Ponza is very popular with Italians and increasingly international jet set greats, it is worthwhile to plan your own travel time outside the main season. This runs from June to September, so spring and autumn are particularly suitable for getting a relaxed impression of this beautiful island. At this time, you share the island almost exclusively with locals and get an unadulterated picture of life on Ponza and the beauties of nature.

In any case, the weather plays along and still offers pleasantly warm temperatures to explore and relax on the beaches and in the bays even after the high season.