The island of Ponza

ponza_eThe island of Ponza has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age, although its villages were only established under the domination of the Volsci.
Used as a trading port by the Phoenicians and a holiday resort by the Romans - of whose villas many traces still remain, the most famous being the 1st century villa located on the hill of the Madonna in the middle ages, Ponza was a flourishing religious and commercial centre.
Subject to numerous incursions by Saracen pirates, the waters of Ponza have been the arena of many battles including the battle in which Ruggero Lauria, Duke of Calabria, defeated Admiral Corrado Doria.
In the 14th century the Aragons drove out the Cistercian monks who inhabited the island with the result that they founded the church of Saint Mary of Ponza in Formia.
In 1542 King Carlos V of Spain ceded the island of Ponza to Pier Luigi Farnese on the premise that he would defend it from pirate incursions.
After a short period of Austrian domination, in 1734 Elisabetta Farnese, the mother of King Charles Bourbon II of Naples, conveyed the whole archipelago to her son who insisted that the islands should become private assets of the crown.
In 1813 Ponza was occupied by the British army and only given back to the Bourbon dynasty two years after the signing of the Treaty of Vienna.
Following the success of Giuseppe Garibaldi, in 1861 Ponza was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.
In 1928 the island was used by the Fascist regime as a prison for its political opponents, while Mussolini was imprisoned on the island in 1943.
Today...
Ponza offers both unspoiled nature and fashionable resorts.
One of its most famous attractions is the Chiaia di Luna beach which takes its name from the lunar colour of the 200 metre high cliffs which make it one of the most enchanting spots on the island.

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