The Pontines, Rome ..... and Ischia
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.
High season hydrofoils
As well as year-round connections with Lazio's ports, in high summer there are also crossings
that run to and from Naples, operated by the SNAV line - but weekends only!
The Alilauro line's service appears to have ended.
En route the SNAV craft stop in at Ischia (at the port of Casamicciola Terme), from where
Ventotene is then some 50 minutes away before continuing on to Ponza - but do be sure to check
exactly from where, and when, they run BEFORE you set out....
Ferry boats from ports in Lazio
Especially in summer, Ventotene is also linked to several ports of the Lazio
coast - Gaeta, Formia, Terracina, Anzio etc.
Caremar used to be the main ferry operator, now "Laziomar" although on this
small craft it says Line Mazzella - a company who run to and from Terracina.
(Also, the Vetor line runs passenger hydrofoils from Formia)
Santo Stefano and Ischia from Ventotene
Santo Stefano - prison island
The island was considered as a possible place where the Allies might be hiding Benito Mussolini - and this picture was used by Greg Annussek in his book
"Hitler's Raid to Save Mussolini: The Most Infamous Commando Operation of World War II" - published by Da Capo Press. http://hitlersraid.com/
Series of stairways up from the harbour