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Rome’s best kept secret: the Island of Ponza

Chiaia di Luna cove

Italian art cities or Greek islands? If you have ever been in this dilemma, you will be happy to know that on a trip to Rome there’s no need to choose between the fascination of art and the sheer beauty of turquoise waters, white cliffs and sandy beaches!

Rome is the European capital closest to the Mediterranean, and on a day trip you can actually discover one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

Take a break from Rome’s ruins, museums and monuments and set off to explore Rome’s secret island: Ponza. This tiny pearl of the Mediterranean has been the hideaway of Roman vacationers and celebrities since antiquity.

The colorful houses of the small port in Ponza

Ponza is certainly worth a stay, but it can also be a perfect daytrip. Starting at 7AM, our driver takes us to Rome’s nearest port, just an hour ride away in a seaside town called Anzio. Here, we board a comfortable fast ferry to Ponza Island. The ride lasts about 1.5 hours and is a great opportunity to breath in the fresh sea breeze.

Fast ferries connect Ponza to the mainland; once there, you can have fun boarding a fisherboat for a cruise around the island

We arrive in Ponza at approximately 10:15AM and have a quick break for a coffee and have a stroll alongside the quai. Now, it is high time to explore the colorful port with its many shops and cafe’s, and the pastel colored little houses. Let’s walk past the neoclassical church with its distinctive dome, to the picturesque cemetery, located on a dramatic cliff offering nice views of the port and of the faraglioni, the stacks formed by wave erosion.

Then, we can board a taxi to have a scenic drive around the island: there’s just one road running alongside the entire island, with multiple stunning view points.

View of Palmarola Island from Ponza

Once you reach the highest point of the road, to one side of Ponza you can spot the characteristic outline of Palmarola, the island owned by the Fendi sisters (fashion designers, multimillionaires and funders of many conservation projects); on the other side, you see the colorful houses of the port, looking like toys, and the small islet known as Zannone. But the most famous viewpoint is the terrace overlooking Chiaia di Luna, a wonderful half-moon shaped beach overshadowed by white cliffs.

Sit down for a seafood lunch at one of the many nice restaurants overlooking the tiny port

Back in port, we can have lunch at one of the nice little restaurants; afterwards, if you feel like it, we can also arrange a boat tour around the island, to enjoy the wonderful coastline dotted by the caves once used by the Romans as fish farms, and by fancy rock formations.

Lighthouse “La Guardia”

At 5.30, board the fast ferry back to the port of Anzio, and just relax during your return trip to Rome, savouring this unforgettable excursion as it comes to an end.