By Gill Whelan.
So you’ve spent some time in Rome in the heat of summer. You’ve battled crowds seeing the sites and you’ve walked miles on cobblestone streets. Let me tell you a little secret…a magical place exists just a short journey from Rome where you can experience the Italian summer at a slower pace.
Jump on a train from Rome’s Termini station and head to Formia. From there, catch a ferry to the island of Ponza. Cheaper, less crowded and more authentic than Capri and surrounding islands, it’s where Roman families go for their summer holidays. Located roughly halfway between Rome and Naples it’s merely a speck on the map but packs a punch with its retro vibe and reliably sublime summer weather.
Today I'll be wearing one of my favourite light summer perfume's. I love it just as much as he does. Esvedra, aromatic and slightly citrus in it's mid notes. An aromatic scent perfectly balanced to finish with the base notes that are green and woody. Summer perfection.
Ponza is a small island but geographically breathtaking. Upon arrival at the colourful port you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a true hidden gem. The town clings to the water whilst perilously high cliffs rise behind. No swarming crowds, no cars to speak of, just mostly Italians enjoying time off with their families. The best way to get around is simply to walk but you can also take the local bus or rent a scooter.
If you’re looking for a 5 star luxury hotel on Ponza you will be disappointed, but in reality it’s just not that kind of place. There is a selection of beautiful and unique 4 star lodgings but the majority of accommodation on the island is simple apartments and villas rented out by local families.
Shopping is limited to the port area and the main street with quirky tourist fare on offer as well as more high-end selections. Wandering the uncrowded streets is a delightful treat with photo worthy vistas around every corner.
But the sea is the real attraction here. Exquisite turquoise waters beg to be explored and there are many options for renting a boat to do just that. Ponza is part of the Pontine archipelago and there are numerous idyllic coves off nearby islands to explore. Spend your day fishing, swimming, diving and seeking out the nearby grottos.
At dusk, as the magical light of the sunset reflects off the waterfront buildings, families who have spent a day on the water slowly start to head back to the town. The sun-kissed faces of happy teens were what stood out to me as they made their way to the gelato store, draped over each other, towels around their necks.
Children played soccer on the beach as their parents sipped aperitifs at nearby restaurants. No designer clad tourists swanning around here, just relaxed holiday makers sampling super fresh and delicious local cuisine at restaurants dotted along the waterfront.
Ponza was a delightful surprise and a welcome treat after the summer bustle of the Italian cities. A 3 day sojourn is the perfect amount of time to relax, unwind, and soak in its magic.