11/2012 - Italy, Ponza island

7-day trip to Italy – Ponza island – visiting Monte Guardia (Watchout Hill), the Monumental Cemetary, Le Forna, Cala Feola, Cala Acqua, Cala Cecata, Cala Fonte, Cala Felice, Punta Incenso, Cala Gaetano, Schiavone Beach, Spaccapolpo ( o Spaccapurpo), Cala Inferno, Faraglione del Parroco, Spiaggia del Core, La Piana Bianca, Spiaggia del Frontone, Peschiera Romana, Santa Maria beach, Giancos beach , Sant’Antonio beach, Faraglione La Ravia, Casocavallo Rock, Pilate’s caves, Faraglioni La Madonna, La Parata beach, Le Formiche, Faraglioni del Calzone Muto, la Scaruppata, Faraglione della Guardia, Chiaia di Luna beach, Capo Bianco (White cape), Faraglioni di Lucia Rosa, Zannone Island, Palmarola Island

I have been many times in Ponza: the first time in June 1980, and the last one in June 2008.
It has been a first sight love and I’m still in love…
I would like to let my readers know the past and present beauties of the island.
The past ones because, in almost thirty years , the weather has eroded several typical places while tourism has invaded the harbour and bays with the presence of piers and boats, making us regret the peace and quiet of the past.
The best way to make you know the town of Ponza is to represent it with a series of photo galleries; the last one is dedicated to Ponza inhabitants.

The Harbour of Ponza is considered the most beautiful landfall in the Mediterranean coast, with the Di Fazio pier and the elevated promenade of Pisacane Street.

You have to go through very steep streets , cross houses , climb long flights of steps and see breathtaking sights if you want to know Ponza Alta (High Ponza).

Going beyond Ponza Alta you reach the slopes of Monte Guardia (Watch-out Hill). You walk on narrow paths passing by a characteristic Via Dolorosa to get to the top of the hill from where you get a lovely view not only of Ponza in all its length, but also of the islands of Palmarola and Zannone .

In a panoramic position, the Monumental Cemetery has graves with a significant local historical importance because a tomb had multiple owners . It is important the monument erected in memory of Libyan prisoners killed in World War II .

I wanted to represent some of the Ponza inhabitants that I define “historical” because known since 1980 and still … working. As for example the boat charterer “Ciccio Nero” or the “Totonno” shop where they re-load the diving tank with the motto ” clean air ” .

We attended the celebrations for the feast of the patron saint of Ponza: San Silverio . It starts with a procession which takes place in two different moment, the first one by land and the second one by water.

Diurnal fireworks conclude the procession when the saint’s statue returns to the churchyard . The statue is placed on a small boat covered with red carnations; the carnations are then thrown to the faithful being auspicious to be able to seize them .

Almost all Ponza inhabitants take part in the procession so I thought it would please them to be represented in this gallery.

In representing the festivities of 1980, I wanted to document how simply people behaved in the past, whereas nowadays there are both more important fireworks and more numerous and spectacular public illuminations.
Must be mentioned the shipowner Vincenzo Onorato, a “ponzese” who supports the traditional festival by providing a ferry ( Moby ) at bargain prices to those “ponzesi” who live far from their island,.

Now go back to the past and visit the Island of Ponza with “historical” photos, shot with analogic system in 1980. All of them, some more than others, suffered from the passing of the time. These photos are compared with pictures of the same places, but shot digitally in June 2008.

With a photo gallery I’m pleased to remember the islanders and “historical” tourists. I wish to mention some of them: Totonno “clean air”, the ” Suricilli “of Le Forna , Attilio and Rita boat hirers of Cala Feola , Enros srl’ s Enzo in Giancos , ” Ciccio Nero”, Septimius of the restaurant “La Kambusa”.

I conclude this series of memories with a number of old analogic photos which represent wrecked objects that I have saw in the waters of Ponza in those years .
Another curiosity of 1980 is the fire that threatened Chiaia di Luna Hotel.
I show the incorrect launch of liquid against the fire (red liquid ) that covered cars and citizens.

I now wish to accompany the readers in the tour of Ponza, starting from Cala Feola .
I have divided the journey in three stages. Immediately after Cala Feola you meet Cala Acqua on whose seabed there are two wrecks ; then, passed Cala Cecata you get to Cala Fonte .
Further on, you reach Cala Felice; then you round the island at Punta Incenso .
Then you meet Cala Gaetano until you get to Schiavone beach spectacularly enriched by the rock called Spaccapolpo (or Spaccapurpo ) .
You finally reach Cala Inferno where the steps of the Roman period , which connected it to Le Forna , were destroyed by a strong sea-storm.

Going on you meet the Faraglione del Parroco ( its narrow tunnels offer an excellent place to bathe) and continue to the beach Core which takes its name from a heart -shaped patch on the rock wall . You pass La Piana Bianca to get to the Frontone beach where you can admire the Peschiera Romana.
The entrance to the spectacular Harbour of Ponza, with the beaches of Santa Maria, Giancos and Sant’ Antonio , is naturally defended by the Faraglione La Ravia (once fortified ) and from the rock Casocavallo, phallic-shaped . From this point starts the night pilgrimage of infertile women . At the base of the hill , dominated by the Monumental Cemetery and the Lighthouse , the Pilate’s caves, ancient Roman pools . Then the spectacular Faraglioni La Madonna (Our Lady Stacks) in an area with many ancient Roman ruins .

Out at sea in front of La Parata Beach a series of small rocks make up the group called Le Formiche (The Ants) . Beyond the Faraglioni del Calzone Muto you meet the area called La Scaruppata , a local neologism to indicate a sea area devastated by the force of the sea . This area is interrupted by the Faraglione della Guardia (Watch-out Stack)
You meet a large semi-circular sheet of water where it stands the high cliff of Chiaia di Luna , the most beautiful and scenic beach of Ponza . The beach is actually closed for the collapse of a section of the cliff .
On the left side there is the charming white promontory of Capo Bianco (White Cape). To be noted that the area is full of several spectacular caves such as Grotta del Segreto (Secret cave), Grotta Marina (Marine cave), Grotta del Desiderio (Wish cave), Grotta della Donna (Woman Cave), Grotta di Capo Bianco (White Cape cave), Grotta delle Streghe(Witches cave); some of them can only be accessed by swimming , others even on small boats.
Another scenic area is that of Lucia Rosa (with beach, cliff , natural arch , mountain) which offers very attractive bathes with numerous tunnels and caves.
Before finishing the circumnavigation you meet an area where the Ponza inhabitants’ imagination got loose because they see represented on the rocks: Dante, the Holy Family, the Lion, the Eagle.

You cannot leave the Island of Ponza without visiting the nearby island of Palmarola. Many people consider it one of the most beautiful islands in the world; Folco Quilici called it a “miracle”. It is a Protected Natural Reserve, inhabited only during the summer.
I lead my reader to the circumnavigation of the island of Palamarola by dividing the journey into three stages.
We begin the journey from Punta Tramontana and then visit Punta delle Brecce.
Then we meet La Forcina, that seems to divide the island into two parts, and later on we reach Punta Verdella from where a difficult path and climbs up to Monte Guarniero. It is the highest mountain in the island and it is completely surrounded by the Mediterranean bush; in the past it was a vineyard.

After the Suvace Rock there is the majestic Cala Brigantina, a summer shelter for the many pleasure boats . It is followed by the Arco Mezzogiorno (Midday natural arch) , which is without the top part because of a violent sea-storm , and the Faraglione di Mezzogiorno (Midday Stack).

The Grottone di Mezzogiorno is characterized by an astonishing variety of colours of the rocks that are reflected in the sea so that even water assumes an infinite variety of colours.
Passing La Radica and Marina del Bastimento we reached the Faraglione of San Silverio (San Silverio Stack). On the cliff, Pontine people have built a chapel dedicated to their patron saint. In front there is the harbour with several seasonal restaurants and characteristic “cave houses”.
Besides the port , on the beach of Cala Appannesse , you can find obsidian flakes .
We end our tour at La Cattedrale (the Cathedral) , the greater attraction of the island of Palmarola . The high cliff has odd shapes that make it like a cathedral , with tall columns, numerous pinnacles, small beaches and obscure passages ; on the top among the vegetation I highlight the dwarf palm .

We returned to Ponza to go to the restaurant, it is “Ristorante da Anna” at Punta Incenso. It is the restaurant where I have exclusively gone to eat for years. Anna is the excellent cook, Damiano, Girolamo, Guglielmo and Luigi are her sons.
Before closing this large roundup of Ponza and Palmarola I cannot forget Anna , the owner of Casa Morlè and our historical house tenant , whom I cordially nicknamed the ” Scicolone ” of Le Forna .
Our visit to the Island of Ponza and the Isle of Palmarola has come to an end.
I hope I made my reader fall in love with the Pontine Islands


The photos of this trip can be seen in the musical slideshow through the following link: www.viaggiaresempre.it – Isola di Ponza