Subject: Ponza Island
Hi Ziners!

I have been with 3 friends to a little island located South of Rome (about half way with Naples), called Ponza. The isle is very small (around 7 squared Km = 4 squared miles more or less), and a week is a reasonable time to visit it extensively and enjoy it!

We arrived to the port with a ferry from Anzio (1 hour from Rome), but the island is reachable also from Formia (better for those coming from Naples). We went straight to the estate agency we contacted for a little apartment and got to our house! In fact, most of people rent an apartment for one or more weeks, but there are also a very few hotels. Prices in August are pretty high, being it the peak season, while they decrease in the other periods. If someone is interested, feel free to contact me for some suggestion and addresses: contacting the right agency on the island rather than any travel agent can help choosing a better location and saving some money!

Arriving in the early afternoon, the only chance after settled in the house and met the new neighbours was to go to the closest beach. We got through a Roman tunnel to Chiaia Di Luna, with an impressive cliff of tufa rock, but we have been pretty disappointed of the water: lots of seaweeds, and it didn't look clean either! BTW, that was the only beach reachable by foot from the main town (apart of the port) so we could understand why!

We got back home for dinner. Our apartment was small (2 rooms, one with open kitchen and dining table + bathroom), but very centrally located: only few meters from the main street with all the shopping and walking, and on a quiet corner! We found out that our neighbours were the group playing live music at a local bar, and they gave us a lot of tips about the isle!

For the second day we still stayed in town: we had to watch the Formula 1 car race (we are all big fans!) and our favourite driver became world champion with 4 races left!!! Go Schumi!!! :o)

On Monday we had a trip to the near island of Palmarola, on a boat with 2 local guys and a bunch of others. The trip has been amazing: on several occasions we stopped the boat and went to see the caves swimming inside of them. The coast is rich of caves and sculpted rocks, and the local guys also told us a lot of stories about them. We have been around for almost 10 hours, and when we got back we were pretty tired!

The next day I rented a zodiac from a local man (my parents have one and I used to drive it) so we had a similar trip around the isle of Ponza, looking for stories on a book we bought, and exploring every little corner of the coast. Again we had a blast and got very tired. But we were on holiday and we had to enjoy every little moment, also the nightlife!

On Wednesday we started exploring the island by land. There is one bus line connecting the port to the other town at the opposite side, and along that one street there are a few walking paths (with some hundred of steps!!!) to the sea. If it wasn't for the heat....... (about 35 C = 90 F).

For the last day we decided to split, since we had different things we liked to do: personally I love hiking, and went to some little path up the isle, reaching the top mount and going down the other side to the lighthouse. It takes about 1 hour to do this and in August with such temperature it may be crazy, but the view from the top is wonderful, and there's the chance to walk on the original old Roman street! I would recommend it to everyone, maybe just choose a cooler time of the year (May or October) :o)

The island is also known to be destination of several VIPs..... some have their own house, others come with their boat. We have seen a few actors/comedians, a singer, and even the stylist Valentino! Most of the people are from the Rome and Naples areas, with a little percentage of the rest of Italy, while it's a bit hard to find foreigners.... I only met an English couple and 1 American guy! Probably the island is not advertised abroad, and probably most of the foreigners tend to stop just in the main cities and the most famous spots! Personally I think there are othe islands as beautiful as Ponza (especially in Greece), but this little jewel of the Tirrenian sea deserves more interest from the international tourists.

I made quite a few pictures, so I will put some on my website in a few days. If someone is interested in seeing them just drop me a line and I will send them.

Ciao Flavio in Rome