After having covered the beaches of the island of Ponza in detail, now it’s time to shine a light on its “companions”. We are talking about the Ponza archipelago islands of Santo Stefano, Ventotene, Palmarola, Zannone, and Gavi. Let’s find out more about these little jewels.
Let’s start from the second-largest island that makes up this archipelago. Ventotene is the ideal destination for those looking for a quiet but luxurious vacation. The sea here is clean and clear, characterized by a dark backdrop due to the rocks typical of volcanic islands. In the uncontaminated green that distinguishes this island, the northern side of the island is populated.
To arrive at Ventotene, you’ll depart from the port of Formi, easily reachable by all means of transport (the journey by ferry takes a couple of hours). A must-see is the Roman port of Ventotene: excavated in the tuff, it offers a mix of nature and irresistible history, with a magnificent backdrop where you can admire the ancient fish ponds that once stood here. There are numerous hiking trails to do on this island, such as the paths that reach the Cisterna of Villa Stefania and the Cisterna dei Detenuti. The coast of Ventotene is mainly rocky, but there are also beautiful beaches like that of Cala Nave or Cala Rossano. To disembark in Ventotene you’ll pay a small fee (€ 1.50), whether it is a ferry or a private boat. The island is perfectly connected both to the mainland and to the other surrounding islands.
This is the third-largest island of the Pontian archipelago, after Ponza and Ventotene. This island is also called the hairpin because of its shape, but its name derives from the dwarf palm that grows wild in this area. Not surprisingly, Palmarola is the wildest island of the archipelago. On this island, there are no houses, accommodations, or ports. You’ll only find one restaurant with some rooms for rent. Typical and unique to Palmarola are the cave houses– dwellings that have been carved into the rock. Palmarola can only be reached from Ponza and you can also organize beautiful excursions. Alternatively, you can also rent a private boat to reach the island.
The coasts of Palmarola are wonderful, in fact, this island is part of a nature reserve. There are numerous caves and coves that will delight the most adventurous tourists. The most beautiful and those undoubtedly not to be missed are the Cathedral, the Faraglione di Mezzogiorno, the Grotta del Gatto, and the Galere. Cala del Porto or Spiaggia della Maga Circe (also called Spiaggia de O’Francese) and Cala Brigantina are also fantastic.
Our tour brings us to Zannone. Among the smaller islands along with Gavi and Santo Stefano, Zannone is deserted and only inhabited by two forest rangers. This small island is part of the Circeo National Park. Il Varo is the only place where you can land and where you will find an ancient Roman fish market, carved from the rock. The trekking routes, despite the island’s size, are numerous and one of the most beautiful starts from il Varo. At the end of the hike, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of Ponza and Palmarola. The island of Zannone has been uninhabited for a long time, so if you’d like to venture out and visit, you have to book through the Circeo National Park. You can get to the various beaches by sea or through some paths that cross the woods and rocks.
The island of Gavi is completely uninhabited, but it is easily reachable by private boat since there are no commercial or public ferries offered. This tiny island has numerous caves and diving spots that might be worth the effort if you are so inclined.
Santo Stefano Island
Let’s talk about another of the small islands of the Ponza archipelago: Santo Stefano. This island is famous for hosting one of the oldest prison facilities. Unfortunately, there is no beach where tourists can stop, rest and enjoy the sun, but despite this small detail, the island of Santo Stefano offers magnificent views.