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Peter Bardwell | all galleries >> Rome, and Lazio >> Ventotene & Ponza > Ventotene
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Ventotene is tiny, with an area of just 1.2 sq km and in so exposed a position - to
the west of Gaeta - that the difficult living conditions have frequently seen it left
uninhabited for long periods.

The Romans built a harbour and villas there, and would use the island as a place to
house Imperial exiles.

More recently it would again provide an ideal lock-up for convicts and political
dissidents, with the lifers' jail on Santo Stefano having only closed in 1965.

Today the prison is a tourist curiosity, and Santo Stefano is again uninhabited,
however Ventotene has developed into a popular holiday destination - with its winter
population of 600 swelling to several thousand in high season.

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