Pontine Islands: discover them on a sailing boat
Located in front of the Lazio coast, the Pontine islands have always been considered among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. For those who explore them on board a sailboat, Palmarola, Ponza and Ventotene offer the opportunity to spend days immersed in nature and relaxation discovering beautiful beaches, secluded coves, crystal clear water, submerged caves, villages perched on the sea and countless traces of history.
The proximity of the islands to each other makes this itinerary of about 120 miles a sailing holiday recommended for everyone, experts and beginners!
Before discovering the various destinations of this splendid archipelago, let’s retrace the history of the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The archipelago of the Pontine Islands is made up of six islands, divided into two subgroups. The islands of the north-west group, to which Ponza, Palmarola, Zannone and Gavi belong, and the islands of the south-east group which include Ventotene and Santo Stefano. They are all islands of volcanic origin, thus presenting very high jagged cliffs and clear and deep-sea bottoms.
The route to the Pontine islands is very fascinating for a perfect sailing holiday. A route full of beautiful bays and fascinating anchorages.
Let’s find out together the various destinations of this holiday!
It is the westernmost of the Pontine Islands archipelago. Wild and almost uninhabited island, Palmarola offers unspoiled nature. There are no roads, no water, no electricity and this is also its charm, in addition to the pretty houses carved into the rock, the turquoise water and its magnificent views, especially the sunsets.
The Faraglione di Mezzogiorno, which is accessed through a cave accessible by rubber boat, is a small archipelago made up of 4 islets and is part of Palmarola. Another cave to visit is that of the Cat, which is a source of fresh water, as well as the so-called “Cliff of the Cathedral”, with its rocks reaching towards the sky like Gothic pinnacles. Le Galere also deserves a visit: particular rocks stained with a black glass with ocher streaks that the local primitives used to obtain arrowheads, axes and knives.
Despite the harshness of its reliefs, cliffs and rocks, Palmarola is an outdoor garden full of Mediterranean vegetation. Those who want to visit this corner of paradise must arrive by boat and this island that it is much less crowded than the other two Pontine islands.
The largest island of the archipelago, very jagged and with many shelters among beautiful coves and inlets. Among the most beautiful caves to visit are the Caves of Pilate, where legend has it that the ancient Romans raised moray eels, the Blue Caves and the Emerald Caves. On the north side, the beaches of Cala Gaetano and Cala Felce are worth your time. The latter is located right on the tip of the island and is famous for the fern plants that colour the yellow hues of the sulphurous rock. On the east coast, however, Cala Cantina and Cala d’Inferno stand out with their dark rocks. Very curious is also Bagno Vecchio, a pebble beach where once the prisoners at work from the Bourbon prisons were locked up and where there is also a Roman necropolis overlooking the sea.
Those who want to see Ponza from above can instead climb to the highest peak of the island, Monte Guardia, where after a walk at an altitude of 280 meters an extraordinary panorama opens up!
With its 1.5 square kilometres, Ventotene is the second largest island in the Pontine archipelago and has a more relaxed atmosphere than Ponza, where time seems to have stopped. In reality, the island is rich in history and evidence of its strong link with Ancient Rome, a period in which it reached its maximum splendour. Starting from the remains of an imperial villa called “Villa Giulia”, named after the famous Roman noblewoman, then exiled. There is also the Fort, with its pools dug into the rock in Roman times for fish farming and the museum dedicated to the remains of five galleys found in 2009 on the seabed with intact loads of wine and olive oil. The Greeks called it “Pandoteira”, or “dispenser of everything”.
The island offers excellent depths for scuba diving, ideal for a sailing holiday.
For the evening, on the other hand, you can take a tour of the town which, with its pastel-coloured houses that frame the ancient Roman port, looks like a nativity scene overlooking the sea with a relaxed and magical atmosphere.
A sailing trip to discover the Pontine Islands makes you understand how important contact with nature is and how much it is worth discovering and exploring the pearls of our sea!