Ponza: A Slice of Paradise
Located 119 km south of Rome in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Ponza is a quaint island town known for its whites cliffs and crystal clear waters. With big tourist locations, like Cinque Terre and the Almalfi coast, situated north and south of it, respectively, this island is primarily hidden from the touristy limelight of the Italian coastline. This isn’t to say it isn’t popular by any means, but most visitors are Italians looking for a summer getaway.
Ponza has two other smaller and less populated islands on either side of it called Zanonne and Isola Palmarola. Ponza is a great place for a day trip from Rome or a week long vacation, taking in the slow island living and soaking up the Lazio rays.
For our trip, we only had 3 days, but we made the most of every minute of it. We went during the height of faragusto (a 3 week span of holidays where most Italians have off of work). I wouldn’t recommend going anytime in August as accommodation, overall expenses and temperatures are much higher. If you’re interested in relaxing the Italian way, here’s a breakdown of our trip and everything that Ponza has to offer.
Day 1: Rome to Ponza
- Travel: 2.5 -3 hours active travel
- Highlights: View from the ferry, La Marina, natural pools and beach
There are a couple of ways to get from Rome to Ponza. In my opinion, the fastest and easiest way is by catching the 1 hour train from Roma Termini to Monte San Biagio and catching the bus to the nearby town of Terracina. From there, you can catch the 1 hour ferry to Ponza.
We went this way to Ponza, but came back through Anzio and for those who are seasick prone, I would not recommend the ferry that is taken to/from Anzio. Unlike the open air peaceful ferry ride from Terracina, the one to Anzio was completely enclosed and very fast and choppy, which had most of the boat very seasick on the back of the boat. Not the ideal way to end a wonderful trip. But in polarity, when arriving by ferry from Terracina, you’ll see the beautiful islands approaching on the horizon. It’s truly such a unique sight and one of my highlights of the trip.
The ferry will take you to the main port of Ponza (Porto di Ponza), where you can reach the rest of the island by taxi, bus, boat or moped.
We then checked into our airbnb and then caught the bus to the “Le Forna” stop to have lunch at La Marina. This seaside restaurant is usually pretty busy, but if you go before 1pm you will beat the lunch rush. The views are incredible and the food and wine equally so. When the bus drops you off, there is a bit of a walk (and many steps down) to the restaurant and Cala Feola beach. There’s also the “Picini Naturale” (or natural pools) walking distance from there as well.
After eating lunch and laying on the beach for most of the afternoon, we took the bus back into town. We spent the rest of the evening wandering around shops on Corso Pisacane and had dinner at Trattoria La Lanterna da Silverio.
Day 2: Ponza
- Highlights: Swimming off the boat, watching the sunset at Chiaia di Luna
On the second day, we booked the “”Pilato’s Grotto and Faraglioni” Line boat tour, through Barcaioli Ponzezi, which was a 2 hour trip that takes you around the island to all of the main stops. It anchors for lunch and a swim and then ends at Fronteone. From Fronteone, you have the option of staying at the beach and taking a later taxi back for free. At Fronteone there is a restaurant called Da Enzo at the end of the beach, as well as beach stands with drinks and fresh fruit bowls.
While there are longer tours with the company, we chose the shorter one because we wanted to be able to do other things during the day. If you want a customized trip, there is also the option to book a private boat for the day. For our trip and the time we had, the shorter boat trip was just enough for a scenic swim and to see parts of the island we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
That evening we headed to Chiaia di Luna for sunset. There’s a pop up bar at the balcony of the sunset spot or a restaurant at the top. I would recommend forgoing the restaurant and just having a drink at the pop up bar below, as I don’t think it was worth the money or the hype and it’s difficult to get a table with a view.
After having drinks and watching the sunset over the cliffs, we headed back into town and had dinner at Il Porticciolo.
***One thing to note is that Ponza is an island that never sleeps. Most people have dinner around 10pm on the island and the shops stay open until 12am. The nightlife continues until 3am, so if this is too late for you, I’d recommend finding a place a bit further from Corso Pisacane.
Day 3: Ponza to Rome
- Travel: 3 hours of active travel
- Highlights: Morning pastries
The next morning we didn’t have much time before catching the ferry back. We had a pastry from Pasticceria Gildo and sat on the walls overlooking the port before heading to Rome.
Helpful Links and resources:
- How to Get to Ponza Blog 2022 Update– A guide to how to travel to Ponza
- A guide to Ponza Island in Italy – A bit of history of the island
- NGL Ferry Site– Booking site for ferries to/from Terracina
- Lazio Mar Ferry Site – Booking site for ferries to/from Anzio
Ponza isa slice of paradise. I urge anyone who goes to please be respectful of the island, it’s locals and it’s culture. Italian is the primary language spoken, so learning a few key phrases for getting around the island may be helpful. Also, like always, please stay up to date with COVID-19 policies before traveling.
Well that’s it for now! Click HERE to see an Instagram reel from our trip.
I hope this itinerary helps with your planning and Buon viaggio!