Ponza, the Pontine Islands
Ponza is the largest of the Pontine Islands, an attractive archipelago off the Italian coast between Rome and Naples. With blue waters and a striking hilly landscape, the island is loved by regular visitors who attempt to keep its charms a secret.
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Ponza tourist information
Ponza is seen by many of its visitors as a lower-key - and cheaper - version of Capri, and is frequented by the rich and famous who like to keep a lower profile on holiday, as well as by hordes of young Romans who visit for the
weekend in summer. The island's main settlements are Ponza Porto, around the harbour, and Le Forna, to the north.
The cheapest option for staying on Ponza is to rent a room on the island. Several agencies deal with lettings. Rooms are usually quite basic, and most are located around Le Forna rather than the port. Hotels cater for those wanting a little more comfort or reluctant to commit themselves to a week-long visit. Italians holiday in late July and August; prices at this time (and at Easter) are massively
higher than at other times.
Reachable in a few hours from Rome, the island boasts clean and limpid waters. Holidaymakers swim from beaches, from rocks, and from boats (available for organised trips or to hire at the port).
There are some excellent restaurants on Ponza, as well as a few options for late-night drinking and dancing.
There aren't many tourist sights or monuments on Ponza: the island's main appeal is its landscape, shoreline and atmosphere. Boat trips enable visitors to explore the other Pontine Islands, including the nature reserve of Zannone. Along the shore you can see the Grotte di Pilato, three caves where the Romans dug fishpools to raise their seafood supper. Underwater there are wrecks to discover, while ashore there are mule-tracks to wander, and ruins to visit, including the remains of a
Roman port at Santa Maria, and a Roman necropolis.
Ponza's most popular beach is Chiaia di Luna, a long crescent of sand under high cliffs accessible by foot from the port. Towards the other end of the island, near Le Forna, are the Piscine Naturali, lovely natural pools ideal for bathing and enjoying the sunshine.
A bus service runs the length of the island, connecting the port and Le Forna. Water taxis will also take you around the island to coves and beaches.
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