This itinerary includes swimming stops and on board lunch (pasta course with drinks – water, wine and coffee served with lunch). Optional stop at Frontone beach at the end of the tour.
Ponza, just like the neighbouring island of Palmarola, is made of acidic volcanic rocks, which stand out for its striking variety of shades of colours.
The boat itinerary offers to the passengers the chance to admire a wide range of bays, inlets, coves, rocks, cliffs and caves characteristic of the islands coast.
Starting from Musco pier, the circumnavigation of the island is done clockwise and on the way the boat stops several times to allow passengers to go swimming.
The first stop is at an ancient roman remains: Ponzio Pilato’s caves, also known as “ Murenaio Romano”. This is an authentic historical site, well preserved in time. The remains of roman walls, which can be seen from the bottom of the hill of the Madonna, are a testimony to a sumptuous imperial residence that once stood there. A wide staircase used to connect the villa to the underlying pools.
The Patricians considered bathing in the open sea and sunbathing a plebeian custom. Pale complexion was a sign of distinction. The marine plant includes four indoor pools, linked together by underwater tunnels, and one outdoor disconnected from the others. Statues of pagan gods were located in niches inside the rock. Ruins of Roman columns lie at the bottom of the sea, whilst private owners keep other artefacts and many others have unfortunately been lost.
The building, dating back to the 1st century AD, belonged to the emperor Augustus Octavius. Later, famous noble people were forced to stay there in “golden” exile, because of dishonourable behaviour.
Some experts believe that the pools were used to breed moray eels (hence the name “Murenaio”), a fish considered sacred by the Romans because of his alleged propitiatory power.
The caves are named after Pilate, the dissolute heir of the noble roman Pilate family, sent to Ponza by Roman governors to quell a rebellion. He somehow managed to tame the rebels and to cover himself with so much glory to deserve the name of Pontius. Because of his unexpected military success, the Roman Senate sent him, with the rank of Governor, to Palestine when the Jews rebelled against Rome.
A little further on there is the Arch of Topaz, the Promontory and the Faraglioni della Madonna, which are named after an ancient effigy representing the nativity of the Virgin, kept in a little church which is now the cemetery’s chapel. Further on we find “La Grotta di Ulisse” (Ulysse’s cave) which, despite being quite small, is very impressive thanks to the spectacular light reflections, followed by La Parata Vecchia or degli Scotti (The Old Cliff or Scotti’s Cliff) and i Faraglioni del Calzone Muto. According to an old legend, a deaf and mute young sailor, sailing in this part of the sea, wanted to leave a mark of his passing. Unable to express with his voice the appreciation for the charm of the island, he forcefully threw his own shorts on the cliff. Imprinted on the white cliff of the Old Bath one can see the outline of a pair of shorts. Il Bagno Vecchio - The Old Bath is also known as Penal Bath because the Bourbons settled there the dormitory of the convicts, deported here for the execution of the plan of colonization in the eighteen century. Inland, among the green of the Mediterranean shrub land, there were found four Greek-roman tombs carved into the tufa rock.
. Il Bagno Vecchio - The Old Bath is also known as the Penal Bath as this is where the Bourbons that settled there had their prison quarters. , deported here for the execution of the plan of colonization in the eighteen century. Inland, among the green of the Mediterranean shrub land, there were found four Greek-roman tombs carved into the tufa rock.
An extraordinary accumulation of rocks collapsed over time creating La Scarrupata. In the most southern part of the island, stands the Stack Guard- Faragione della Guardia, which is named after the above mountain, whose peak is the highest on the island. High up on the Promontory Peak- Punta del Promontorio, is the eponymous lighthouse that casts its light beams for about 30 miles. Past the Point of Hey- Punta del Fieno, you can admire Chiaia di Luna beach, which is the longest of the island and a majestic white and yellow tuff cliff dominates it. Chiaia di Luna is a spectacular natural amphitheatre, most probably part of an ancient volcanic crater. The friability of the rock has made necessary the adoption of some security measures. The bay, already in Roman time, offered an important shelter, when the strong wind Levante raged and made it impossible for boats to enter the main dock.
After the boat will enter the cave of the mythological sorceress Circe – Grotta della Maga Circe, who, according to the legend, charmed the heroic Odysseus.
Continuing northward, one can find the white rocks of Capo Bianco with all their charm, and the fascinating eponymous Grottone (big cave).
Past this you can find the Grotta delle Streghe - Cave of the witches.
Baia di Lucia Rosa is an enchanting stretch, with its pebble beach and seastacks. Its name is linked to a young girl named Lucia Rosa, who lost her life by jumping from the top of the cliffs because of an impossible love.
Following in the same direction you can find I Faraglioni di Capo Bosco, the popular Piscine Naturali – Natural swimming pools and Cala Feola, which is the only sand beach on the island.
Quite unique is the rock called della Tartaruga - the Turtle, because of its similarity in shape to this reptile. Here is Cala dell’Acqua – Water Bay! In this area there is a bed of Kaolin and bentonite. Until 1970, for almost 50 years, minerals were extracted and processed, defacing dramatically one of the most beautiful landscapes of the island. Moving on, there is Fort Pope- Forte Papa, located in a strategic position on the top of the homonymous Punta. The building dates back to the sixteenth century and was commissioned by Pope Paul III, heir of the Farnese family, owner of the island, in order to fulfil defence functions. Lying on the bottom of the sea, in the immediate vicinity of the Cape, is the wreck of the American military ship “Liberty”, which, because of a sudden engine failure and due to a strong storm, crashed on the rocks in 1944.
Further on there are Cala Cecata – Blind Cove, La Grotta del Corallo – Corral’s, Cala Fonte, Punta Incenso e Cala Felci. The latter takes its name from the medicinal herbs that grow in the area and were once used by hermits who settled there. The rock wall is composed of sulphur and it’s rather crumbly.
Beyond Cala Felci, from where you can see the nearby island of Gavi, the circumnavigation continues on the eastern side of the island. Here you find the Grotta del Bue Marino, Cala Gaetano, Cala Aprea, the shingle beach of Arco Naturale or Spaccapolpi, because of the presence of an impressive arch-shaped seastuck (what is this?). Not to far from here you can see the Scoglio Aniell’Antonio and Cala Inferno. In these waters emerge the wreck of the merchant ship Maria Costanza, which went up in flames about twenty years ago in the vicinity of the rocks Le Formiche and was over time pushed in the area by storms. Out of the tuff rock overlooking the beach, the Romans carved a staircase (no longer usable because it collapsed) to allow access to the beach by land.
From the sea, it is possible to see part of a Roman aqueduct, whose waters flowed into large tanks in the Port area.
Cala del Core- Hearth Cove and the homonymous cave, is so called because of a black-reddish rhyolith area standing out on the light tufa cliff and forming the rough shape of a bleeding hearth. The cove is closed by a rock that looks like a sculpture: La Foca – The Seal, because of the similarity with this mammal.
Very popular with tourist is La spiaggia di Frontone- Frontone beach. Here you can stop for a few hours and return later with one of our specific beach lines at no extra cost.
High up on the cape, the ruins of an old fort dominate the area: it was built to defend the port.
And yet, the rock La Ravia, onto which, in the Bourbon era, the military had placed a costal artillery for the defence of the Port from attack by enemy ships. At present one can find an isolated villa that is privately owned.
Carrying on, towards the beach of Santa Maria, you can see the Grotte Azzurre- Blue Caves.
Finally, the boat returns to the Porto Borbonico – Bourbon Port.
The semicircular shape of the port, built on the original Roman setting, follows the natural curve of the coast. It was built in the late eighteenth century by Charles III of Bourbon, king of Naples, to which the Pontine islands belonged.
The design was entrusted to Major Civil Engineer Antonio Winspeare, and architect Francesco Capri, a student of Luigi Vanvitelli, known for having created the Reggia of Caserta.