Believed by many to be named after Pontius Pilate, Ponza is the largest island in the Pontine archipelago. It was raided by Saracens and pirates during the Middle Ages and wasn’t resettled until the 18th century. Today, it’s a popular holiday destination due to its beautiful beaches, Roman ruins and hidden grottoes.
Things to do in Ponza Island
Green thumbs shouldn’t miss a visit to the Giardino Botanico Ponziano, a private botanical garden established in the 1980s by Dr. Biagio Vitiello. It’s planted with wild orchids and woody species native to the Pontine Islands and boasts sweeping views across the Tyrrhenian Sea. Nestled beneath the garden is the picturesque sea cave of the Grotta di Ulisse O Del Sangue.
If you’re visiting in the summer months, you can refresh with a swim at the Piscine Naturali Ponza, a protected cove divided into two natural swimming pools filled with crystal clear water. It can be combined with a visit to nearby Cala Feola Beach, a small stretch of sand where you can relax beneath a rental umbrella while watching the boats bobbing in the water.
One of the most photographed beaches on Ponza Island is Chiaia di Luna, a crescent-shaped cove backed by steeply-sided white cliffs. It is connected to Ponza Town via a Roman tunnel. While it’s now closed to sunbathers due to falling rocks, it can be viewed on boat trips and the remains of several ancient buildings lie submerged beneath the offshore waters.
Getting around Ponza Island
Regular ferries connect to Ponza from Formia, Anzio and Naples, all of which can be accessed by train from Rome. Buses travel around Ponza and boats can be rented for exploring the coast. The centre of Ponza Town can easily be explored on foot.