PONZA, THE DESTINATION OF EXCURSIONS WITH OCEANIA
The island of Ponza is larger than the Ponziano (or Pontino) archipelago which also includes the islands of Palmarola, Zannone, Gavi, Ventotene and Santo Stefano and is located in the center of the Tyrrhenian Sea, opposite the promontory of San Felice Circeo from which is about 18 miles.
It belongs to the province of Latina, in Lazio. On the island there are two inhabited centers: Ponza and Le Forna where there are the famous natural pools and the small harbor where Oceania often makes base.
Ponza covers an area of 7.5 km² and is almost completely mountainous: dominated in the center by the mountains Core (201 m), Tre Venti (177 m) and Pagliaro (177 m), reaches the maximum altitude with 280 m of the Monte Guardia, located at the southern end of the island.
The island of Ponza is one of the most beautiful holiday spots in Italy for those who love the sea and diving. Its coasts are jagged and mostly rocky, composed of kaolin and tufi, demonstrating (together with the numerous extinct volcanic craters but still recognizable today) of the volcanic origin of the island. The presence of underwater caves and cliffs attract thousands of underwater divers every year for diving on seabed rich in fauna and colorful flora, as well as for bathers, who prefer the famous beach of Chiaia di Luna (south-west) surrounded by a high cliff overlooking the sea or the Lido di Frontone (to the east) reachable only by boat. Also famous are the Cliff and the Faraglioni by Lucia Rosa, which take their name from the protagonist of a tragedy that really happened in the nineteenth century. Lucia Rosa was a young woman of 19 years, in love with a poor farmer and for this reason their marriage was opposed by the family: the girl, desperate, committed suicide by jumping from the high cliff, which was renamed in her name by the locals.
The shape of the island is narrow and elongated, and extends from the Faraglione La Guardia, to the south, to the Punta dell’Incenso, to the north-east, which leads to the nearby island of Gavi; the latter is separated from Ponza by an arm of of sea of just 120 meters.
Diving in Ponza with Oceania is done at the dive sites listed on the dive page.
PONZA, AN ISLAND RICH IN HISTORY
The island of Ponza has been populated since the Neolithic, but its main centers were born under the domination of the Volsci. Occupied at first by the Phoenicians, who used it as a commercial stopover, in the eighth century BC it was colonized by the Greeks, which is attributable to a funerary hypogeum and, according to numerous historians, the aqueduct of Le Forna. Even the name derives from the ancient Greek Pòntos, Πόντος or Pontia, Πόντια, or “sea”.
In 312 B.C. the Romans arrived and they assigned Ponza mostly to a place of confinement, but also to a holiday. In fact there are ruins of Roman villas, the most famous of which is on the Madonna Hill and dates back to the first century AD, as well as an aqueduct, tanks (including the Pilate Caves) and a cistern for water collection rain, the so-called Bath. In the eighties it was also discovered the wreck of an ancient Roman galea, probably shipwrecked in the first century AD, which transported pottery and food supplies. Tradition has it that in Roman times it was given the name, in honor of the governor of Judea Pontius Pilate, but Strabo, who already called it Pontia defining the island of the Volsci, died before Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea.
It was the Romans who left the most significant footprints like the Caves of Pilate, a complex of caves dug at sea level in the rocky wall south-east of the port and presumably at the service of the Villa Imperiale of Ottaviano Augusto whose remains are still visible at the base of the Madonna hill. In 1997 in the Pilate Caves were found a marble statue probably representing an Apollo or a Dionysius and some oil lamps. The Caves of Pilate were used as fish breeding and in particular of moray eels, fish considered sacred by the Romans for the propitiatory functions attributed to it, for this reason the Pilate Caves are also called Murenaio Sacro.
However, the discovery of votive finds suggests that the Pilate Caves were also used for religious services.