Sailing itinerary Pontine Islands
Ponza is a popular island for water lovers and has spectacular ragged coastline, cliffs and caves. Monte La Guardia is Ponza’s highest point and from there you can admire the beauty of this narrow, long and half-moon-shaped island. The busy port of Ponza offers anchorage, fuel, water and amenities however it is expensive and doesn’t provide protection from north-east, east and south-east winds. The port area has nice shops and some excellent restaurants. A good alternative is to anchor in the following areas: Between Punta Santa Maria and Cala Inferno and between Punta Frontone and Cala d’Inferno which has a very beautiful beach and good protection from westerly, north-westerly and south-westerly winds. The bay of Chiaia di Luna has fantastic caves and good protection from south-easterly, easterly and north-easterly winds. This beach is connected to the town by a tunnel that was dug out by the Romans and contains archaeological remains. Between Faraglioni and Capo Bosco there are excellent swimming waters and between Cala di Feola and Cala dell’ Aqua there are excellent swimming areas, caves and grottos with protection from south-easterly, easterly and north-easterly winds. We recommend you don’t miss exploring with dinghy the caves between Cala Chiaia di Luna and I Faraglioni. Also don’t miss the famous Arco Naturale (natural arch) located behind the rocks of Evangelista in the north east of Ponza.
Gavi is a small island on the extreme point north of Ponza. It is not possible to pass between the island of Ponza and the island of Gavi. It is a beautiful area with many small rock formations rising from the sea and for this reason it is necessary to pay special attention when sailing through the area.
Palmarola is the most western and second largest of the Pontine islands. The island offers remarkable geographical sights such as the oxidianic, multi coloured rock composition of the cliffs, caves, crags and bays. One side is protected from north-westerly, westerly and south-westerly winds while the other side is protected from south-easterly, easterly and north-easterly winds. If the weather is not good we suggest that it is better to stay at Ponza. The most famous bay is that of Cala del Porto which has good anchorage and protection from easterly and north-easterly winds. On land here you will find the only two restaurants on the island which specialise in seafood dishes and local specialities. The rest of Palmarola is uninhabited. There are many beautiful areas to swim in crystal clear waters and many interesting caves to explore. Punta Tramontana on the north side is a great place to stop for a few hours. Good places to anchor include the area between Faraglione di Mezzogiorno and east of Scoglie di Suvace and the area between Punta Vardella and Scoglie Forcina which offers protection from north-westerly, westerly and south-westerly winds. Pay attention to the Secca Zirri and do not pass between Punta di Mezzogiorno and Faraglioni Mezzogiorno.
Zannone Island has a surface area of little more than 1 square kilometre. It is part of the Circeo National Park because of its beauty and the integrity of its environment. The island is uninhabited but monitored by Forestry Services. Zannone has a sedimentary origin as opposed to the volcanic origin of the other Pontine islands. There are ruins of a Benedictine convent and a natural museum that are interesting to explore. There are two possible anchorage points: Capo Negro in the north and Punta Varo in the south. The Secca del Varo and Secca del Mariolo between the west and south-west coast is a rocky, shallow area where extreme care must be taken. It is a lovely island for swimming and a day visit however we don’t recommend staying at anchor overnight as there is not good wind protection and it is not safe with south-easterly, easterly and north-easterly winds.
Ventotene is a small island that was formed by volcanic activity and has generally high and ragged coasts and two small, beautiful beaches behind the built up area: Cala Rossano and Cala Nave. In isolated areas away from the port there are other stretches of beach such as Parata della Postina, Moggio di Terra and Parata Grande. The rugged nature of the coastline invites many interesting and pleasant stops such as around the Scoglio La Nave in the east part of the Ventotene sea. There are two in port anchorage possibilities: Porto Romano (The Old Roman Port) which is small and very beautiful and Porto Nuovo (The New Port) is not as picturesque but cheaper. Note that at Porto Nuovo there is usually some sea swell movement. Fuel, water and amenities are available.
Santo Stefano is the smallest of the Pontine islands. It is of volcanic origin and uninhabited. Sailing around the island offers fascinating views enhanced by the intensely blue coloured sea and by the dark and ragged basaltic rocks. The sea beds around the island are full of many different species of fish. A visit to the island offers spectacular views from the top of sheep cliffs and takes in the panorama of the stretched shape of Ventotene and, looking south, the high mountain profile of Ischia. The south part is protected so it is not possible to anchor there. Currently the only anchorage allowed is in the north part of the island near an old Borbon built prison which is interesting to walk around and visit if possible