For the commune on this island, see Ponza, Lazio.

Ponza (Italian: Isola Di Ponza) is the largest of the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Pontine Islands
Pontine Islands
The Pontine Islands are an archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the west coast of Italy. The islands were collectively named after the largest island in the group, Ponza. The other islands in the archipelago are Palmarola, Zannone,...

An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

, located 33 km south of Cape Circeo in the Tyrrhenian Sea
Tyrrhenian Sea
The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea off the western coast of Italy.-Geography:The sea is bounded by Corsica and Sardinia , Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Calabria and Sicily ....

. It also the name of the commune of the island, a part of the province of Latina
Province of Latina
The Province of Latina is a province in the Lazio region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Latina.It has an area of 2,251 km², and a total population of 519,850...

 in the Lazio region.


The island was inhabited from neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 through Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 times. According to local legends, Ponza was named after Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilatus , known in the English-speaking world as Pontius Pilate , was the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. He is best known as the judge at Jesus' trial and the man who authorized the crucifixion of Jesus...

, Roman governor of Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 who tried Jesus of Nazareth for heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

. Pontius Pilate's family owned a grotto on Ponza, which is still named after him. The Pontius Pilate legend of Ponza's name has recently come into dispute amongst historians, because the name "Pontia" appears in Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

's Geography. This pre-dates the birth of Pilate. It is not known if this is the same name as Ponza or a similar name. "Pontia" means "Land of Bridges" in Latin and Ponza has many natural arches and natural bridges, so that may be the origin of the name Pontia.

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, which sank into the sea with most of the island below the water, with the parts remaining above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

. The same exact phenomena happened at Capri
Capri is an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, in the Campania region of Southern Italy...

. According to legend, there was a large city on the ancient island. There has been significant archaeological progress recently that shows this may be true. For example, it was discovered that the harbor floor of nearby Pozzuoli
Pozzuoli is a city and comune of the province of Naples, in the Italian region of Campania. It is the main city of the Phlegrean peninsula.-History:Pozzuoli began as the Greek colony of Dicaearchia...

 had sunk and risen several times in the last 5,000 years, revealing sunken Roman temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...


Ponza was first colonised by Etruscans. The island was heavily forested with giant trees in ancient times, but the forest is gone and the trees are extinct and the hills are covered with man-made terrace
Terrace (agriculture)
Terraces are used in farming to cultivate sloped land. Graduated terrace steps are commonly used to farm on hilly or mountainous terrain. Terraced fields decrease erosion and surface runoff, and are effective for growing crops requiring much water, such as rice...

s. Most of these terraces are no longer being used to grow food and grapes 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 grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s for wine and cactus pears
Opuntia, also known as nopales or paddle cactus , is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae.Currently, only prickly pears are included in this genus of about 200 species distributed throughout most of the Americas. Chollas are now separated into the genus Cylindropuntia, which some still consider...

 and fig
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...


Ponza is also suspected to be the island of Aeaea
Aeaea or Eëa was a mythological island said to be the home of the sorceress Circe. Odysseus tells Alcinous that he stayed here for a year on his way home to Ithaca....

 in Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

's Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

, as the island of the Circe
In Greek mythology, Circe is a minor goddess of magic , described in Homer's Odyssey as "The loveliest of all immortals", living on the island of Aeaea, famous for her part in the adventures of Odysseus.By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid...

 the sorceress, where her cave or grotto was. Today it is known as Grotta della Maga Circe on the west side of the island, between Capo 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
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

 men into animals and cast her spell on and seduced him and lived with him for a over a year. On the west side of Ponza is the Grotta di Ulisse O Del Sangue, which means Cave of Ulysses of the Blood. The Grotto
A grotto is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide...

 or cave is almost directly underneath the hill/peninsula called Il Belvedere
Belvedere (structure)
Belvedere is an architectural term adopted from Italian , which refers to any architectural structure sited to take advantage of such a view. A belvedere may be built in the upper part of a building so as to command a fine view...

, which has the Giardino Botanico Ponziano
Giardino Botanico Ponziano
The Giardino Botanico Ponziano is a private botanical garden located on Villa Madonna collina Belvedere, Ponza in the Pontine Islands, Province of Latina, Lazio, Italy....

 a botanical garden
Botanical garden
A botanical garden The terms botanic and botanical, and garden or gardens are used more-or-less interchangeably, although the word botanic is generally reserved for the earlier, more traditional gardens. is a well-tended area displaying a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names...

 with a villa and the remains of a castle. These caves or grottos are popular destinations to visit by boat only. *http://s2.supload.com/free/The_Belvedere_1-20080217135054.jpg/view/ Archaeologists are now investigating Ponza in search of evidence of Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

's Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

During Roman times, Nero Caesar, eldest brother of Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

, was deported to Ponza in AD 29, where in 30 AD he was put to death. Two of his sisters, Agrippina the Younger (mother of the emperor Nero) and Julia Livilla
Julia Livilla
Julia Livilla was the youngest child of Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder and the youngest sister of the Emperor Caligula.-Life:Livilla was the youngest great granddaughter of Emperor Augustus, great-niece and adoptive granddaughter...

 were exiled to Ponza in AD 39 for their complicity in a plot to overthrow Caligula. They were recalled 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 there. A similar mansion with the same name was also built on nearby Ventotene
Ventotene, in Roman times known as Pandataria or Pandateria from the Greek Pandoteira, is one of the Pontine Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the coast of Gaeta right at the border between Lazio and Campania, Italy...

 for Emperor Augustus' exiled daughter, Julia the Elder
Julia the Elder
Julia the Elder , known to her contemporaries as Julia Caesaris filia or Julia Augusti filia was the daughter and only biological child of Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire. Augustus subsequently adopted several male members of his close family as sons...


Ponza was abandoned during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 due to constant raids by Saracens and pirates. In 1552 the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 fleet under the command of Turgut Reis
Turgut Reis
Turgut Reis was an Ottoman Admiral and privateer who also served as Bey of Algiers; Beylerbey of the Mediterranean; and first Bey, later Pasha, of Tripoli. Under his naval command the Ottoman Empire maritime was extended across North Africa...

 (known as Dragut in the West) defeated the Spanish
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 fleet of Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 under the command of the famous Genoese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 admiral Andrea Doria
Andrea Doria
Andrea Doria was an Italian condottiere and admiral from Genoa.-Early life:Doria was born at Oneglia from the ancient Genoese family, the Doria di Oneglia branch of the old Doria, de Oria or de Auria family. His parents were related: Ceva Doria, co-lord of Oneglia, and Caracosa Doria, of the...

 near Ponza. During the 18th century, the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 re-colonized the island. Today the island is a tourist attraction
Tourist attraction
A tourist attraction is a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, or amusement opportunities....

 with big sandy beaches like Chiaia di Luna or Half Moon Beach. The Spiaggia Chiaia di Luna or Half Moon Beach is now permanently closed due to falling rocks from the huge collapsing cliff above. Several tourists were killed a few years ago while sunbathing on the beach. The Italian National Park Service has installed huge steel cable netting to prevent further rock falls and deaths. The Roman Galleria or Roman Tunnel that connected the beach to the road is now closed because of collapsing Roman brickwork. Many beaches that were very popular are now permanently closed, because falling rock from overhead cliffs have killed vacationers.

Ponza has suffered many invasions, just like nearby Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and had been captured at one time or another by the English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Greeks
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

, Carthaginians
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

ns, Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ians, and Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns. Even a place on central Ponza is called "Campo Inglese" which means "English Camp" for where the troops were garrisoned. Several Fortresses can still be seen around the island.

The island became part of the Kingdom of Italy in the mid-19th century and it is now part of the Republic of Italy. The island's isolation destined it to serve as a penal colony
Penal colony
A penal colony is a settlement used to exile prisoners and separate them from the general populace by placing them in a remote location, often an island or distant colonial territory...

 by various regimes. During the two decades of fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

, Ponza and the nearby Ventotene
Ventotene, in Roman times known as Pandataria or Pandateria from the Greek Pandoteira, is one of the Pontine Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the coast of Gaeta right at the border between Lazio and Campania, Italy...

, served as a prison for political opponents of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's regime. The Ethiopian leader Ras Immiru
Imru Haile Selassie
Leul Ras Imru Haile Selassie was an Ethiopian noble, soldier, and diplomat. He was also the cousin of Emperor Haile Selassie.-Biography:...

, 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.

The island is well known for the tragic story of Lucia Rosa
Lucia Rosa
Lucia Rosa was a young girl from the 19th century who wanted to marry a poor farmer, and instead was being forced by her father to marry a wealthy man she did not want. In despair, she threw herself into the Tyrrhenian Sea on the northwest side of the island of Ponza, Italy. She is viewed by some...

 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 martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 for women's rights and symbol for human rights.

A few years ago engineers working on an ancient Roman tunnel that connected the harbour part of Ponza to the neighborhood of Santa Maria, used explosives to dig a conduit nearby — they were supposed to use a chisel
A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge of blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal. The handle and blade of some types of chisel are made of metal or wood with a sharp edge in it.In use, the chisel is forced into the material...

. The explosive shock shattered and destroyed this 2,100 year old Roman Gallery Tunnel. The Tunnel that connects Ponza with Santa Maria is now repaired, but many residents complain that it does not look like it used to, with steel reinforced concrete in place of Roman Bricks.

In the late Summer/early Fall of 2007, Six "Aquanauts" spent two weeks living underwater off the coast of Ponza, breaking all other records.


Ponza and Gavi are the remains of a caldera rim of an extinct volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

, with a surface area of 7.3 square kilometers. Ponza is approximately 5.5 Miles long by 1.5 miles (2.4 km) at its widest. It is a crescent shaped island with one large beach called Spiaggia di Chiaia di Luna (Half Moon Beach) and a few small beaches and has a mostly rocky coast made of kaolin and tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

 rock. The island has layers of Kaolinite and Bentonite which used to be mined. It has many odd natural rock formations, one looks like a monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

, another looks like a giant pair of work pants, 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
Stack (geology)
A stack is a geological landform consisting of a steep and often vertical column or columns of rock in the sea near a coast, isolated by erosion. Stacks are formed through processes of coastal geomorphology, which are entirely natural. Time, wind and water are the only factors involved in the...

 made of solid rock. It has several small villages, among them are Commune di Ponza, Santa Maria and Le Forna. Ponza is often confused with nearby islands like Ischia
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal in shape, it measures around 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has...

 and Capri
Capri is an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, in the Campania region of Southern Italy...

, except Ponza has no active volcanism.


The island is famed for its Blue Grottos, which were created by the Etruscans. It has the Serpents Grotto and the Roman Gallery which is a Roman tunnel that connects the town of Ponza to the large sandy beach called Chiaia di Luna on its west side. The island has many archeological ruins
Ruins are the remains of human-made architecture: structures that were once complete, as time went by, have fallen into a state of partial or complete disrepair, due to lack of maintenance or deliberate acts of destruction...

 visible all over. There are Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, Canaanite, Greek, and Phoenician Necropoli ruins at the middle of the island. There are Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

 ruins on parts of the island jumbled with Roman ruins. A large statue that was found in the harbour called Il Mamozio ("The Mummy") or Il Mitreo, meaning Miter or priests hat, is a 3,000 year old marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

A statue is a sculpture in the round representing a person or persons, an animal, an idea or an event, normally full-length, as opposed to a bust, and at least close to life-size, or larger...

 . The statue is now displayed in a museum in Napoli behind protected plastic and was reunited with its head. The statue is of a local Etrurian Consul. It is the oldest known Etruscan statue of its kind and extremely rare.


The town of Ponza is a fishing and boating port with several large dock
Dock (maritime)
A dock is a human-made structure or group of structures involved in the handling of boats or ships, usually on or close to a shore.However, the exact meaning varies among different variants of the English language...

s that can accommodate large ships. Its biggest industry is tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 followed by boatbuilding, boat repair and fishing. It is accessible by small car by ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 and pedestrians may travel to the mainland by high speed hydrofoil
A hydrofoil is a foil which operates in water. They are similar in appearance and purpose to airfoils.Hydrofoils can be artificial, such as the rudder or keel on a boat, the diving planes on a submarine, a surfboard fin, or occur naturally, as with fish fins, the flippers of aquatic mammals, the...

s. The sea there is a distinct greenish blue. Ferries reach Ponza from Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, Terracina
Terracina is a town and comune of the province of Latina - , Italy, 76 km SE of Rome by rail .-Ancient times:...

, Formia
Formia is a city and comune in the province of Latina, on the Mediterranean coast of Lazio . It is located halfway between Rome and Naples, and lies on the Roman-era Appian Way.-History:...

 and Anzio
Anzio is a city and comune on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about south of Rome.Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a fishing port and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the Pontine Islands of Ponza, Palmarola and Ventotene...


The four mine
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

s that are at the northern end, and most beautiful area of the island were closed down in 1975 by the Italian Environmental Protection Agency, because the mining operation was destroying the wildlife and flora, which are Endangered species
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

. They were mining kaolin
Kaolinite is a clay mineral, part of the group of industrial minerals, with the chemical composition Al2Si2O54. It is a layered silicate mineral, with one tetrahedral sheet linked through oxygen atoms to one octahedral sheet of alumina octahedra...

  and Bentonite
Bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate, essentially impure clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite. There are different types of bentonite, each named after the respective dominant element, such as potassium , sodium , calcium , and aluminum . Experts debate a number of nomenclatorial...

. Kaolin is used in making Kaolin-Pectin medicine. Ponza has a two lane road that goes from north to south, but can accommodate small cars only. The planned airstrip at the north of the island was canceled, due to environment concerns. Seaplanes frequent the island because of this.

Celebrities who have vacationed on Ponza include Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas is an American stage and film actor, film producer and author. His popular films include Out of the Past , Champion , Ace in the Hole , The Bad and the Beautiful , Lust for Life , Paths of Glory , Gunfight at the O.K...

, his son Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas
Michael Kirk Douglas is an American actor and producer, primarily in movies and television. He has won three Golden Globes and two Academy Awards; first as producer of 1975's Best Picture, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and as Best Actor in 1987 for his role in Wall Street. Douglas received the...

, Burt Lancaster
Burt Lancaster
Burton Stephen "Burt" Lancaster was an American film actor noted for his athletic physique and distinctive smile...

, Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida is an Italian actress, photojournalist and sculptress. She was one of the most popular European actresses of the 1950s and early 1960s. She was also an iconic sex symbol of the 1950s. Today, she remains an active supporter of Italian and Italian American causes, particularly the...

, Elsa Martinelli
Elsa Martinelli
Elsa Martinelli is an Italian actress and former fashion model.Born Elisa Tia in Grosseto, Tuscany, she moved to Rome with her family and in 1953 was discovered by Roberto Capucci who introduced her to the world of fashion. She became a model and began playing small roles in films...

 and Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren, OMRI is an Italian actress.In 1962, Loren won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Two Women, along with 21 awards, becoming the first actress to win an Academy Award for a non-English-speaking performance...

, Jacques Cousteau and his son, Philippe Cousteau
Philippe Cousteau
Philippe Cousteau was a documentary film maker specializing in environmental issues, with a background in oceanography. He was the second son of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Simone Cousteau....

 who filmed several documentaries in the area.

Federico Fellini's Satyricon
Satyricon is a Latin work of fiction in a mixture of prose and poetry. It is believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius, though the manuscript tradition identifies the author as a certain Titus Petronius...

 (1969) was filmed on Ponza. Wes Anderson's film The Life Aquatic was filmed on the island, Ponza was instead called in the movie, "Port-au-Patois". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362270/ http://www.thefilmfactory.co.uk/lifeaquatic/ http://www.imdb.com/List?endings=on&&locations=Ponza%20Island,%20Ponziane%20Islands,%20Latina,%20Lazio,%20Italy&&heading=18;with+locations+including;Ponza%20Island,%20Ponziane%20Islands,%20Latina,%20Lazio,%20Italy

Most of the people who live there raise rabbits and chickens and other animals in coops for meat to make cacciatore
Cacciatore means "hunter" in Italian. In cuisine, "alla cacciatora" refers to a meal prepared "hunter-style" with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, often bell pepper, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken or rabbit...

. Other farmed animals include goats, lamb
Domestic sheep
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries...

 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 of the children of the main families there, simply move away after becoming adults and never return. The local economy there is in a downturn.

Points of interest

  • Giardino Botanico Ponziano
    Giardino Botanico Ponziano
    The Giardino Botanico Ponziano is a private botanical garden located on Villa Madonna collina Belvedere, Ponza in the Pontine Islands, Province of Latina, Lazio, Italy....

     "Ponza's Botanical Garden"

  • Capo Bianco "Cape White" Italian National Natural Monument

  • Spiaggia Di Chaia di Luna "Half moon Beach" and Roman Galleria Popular Tourist Beach

  • Grotta della Maga Circe "Cave of the Sorceress Circe" Official cave from Homer's The Odyssey

  • Grotta di Ulisse O Del Sangue "Cave of Ulysses (Odysseus
    Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

    ) of the Blood" Official cave from Homer's The Odyssey

  • Monte Guardia "Lookout Hill" Ponza's tallest hill, has old ubiquitous Semaphore building on top used for flag signaling.

  • Arco Naturale O Spaccapolpi A natural arch standing in deep water looks like giant pants

  • Grotta Azzurra The famous Blue Grottos, not the Blue Grottos of Capri

  • Spiaggia delle felci The most beautiful beach in the island, where it is not difficult to spot celebrities.

External links

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