Italy boasts more than 450 islands and approximately 350 of these are sea islands. The Pontine Islands are located just off the coast of Campania in the Tyrrhenian Sea. However, the islands are actually part of Lazio. There are six islands in the Pontine archipelago; Ponza, Palmarola, Santo Stefano, Zanone, Gavi, and Ventotene. These islands cover 22 nautical miles and only two f the six are inhabited.
This is one of the two inhabited islands and it is also the largest island in the archipelago. It has a total land area of 7.3 square kilometers. It has been colonized since prehistoric times although pirate attacks in the middle ages led to the island’s abandonment. Now, it has an established community and a thriving tourist industry. Tourist flock from the mainland on boat trips to visit the island.
This is the second largest of the islands. Although it isn’t inhabited, it is a popular spot for people with boats and yachts because the natural bays of the island are perfect for people to anchor their vessels safely. The island also has landing stages. IN the summer months, there is a restaurant open for visitors.
Ventetone is the second inhabited island and the third largest in the archipelago. In Roman times, this island was called Pandataria. The island is three kilometers long, but only 800 meters across. This island is famous as the place where the Romans sent people who were banished from Rome.
Gavi, Santo Stefano, and Zanone
These three islands are all uninhabited. Santo Stefano is a tiny island that was once used by the Bourbons as a prison. During the Second World War, Mussolini used the island to incarcerate his political opponents. As many as 700 incarcerations are thought to have taken place on Santo Stefano. Gavi is populated mainly by rabbits and is privately owned. Zanone is a nature reserve that people can visit by boat.