Ponza is one of the most beautiful islands in the Tyrrhenian part of the Pontine Islands group.
It has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The Ausonians and the Volsci have both passed through this island, that was a landing point for the Greeks, and from 313 BC was a colony of Rome. During the empire it flourished and became a holiday resort for patricians and exile for opponents of the emperors. Here Pope Silverio died in exile in 537.
It belonged to Ipati (governors) of Gaeta and was home to three Benedictine monasteries that were abandoned by the invasion of the Saracens in 813. It became a possession of the Church in the fifteenth century and a fiefdom of Alberico Carafa but the continuous raids of the pirate Barbarossa Kaireddin in 1534 caused its abandonment.
Later it belonged to the Farnese family and, by marriage, has passed under the direct ownership of the Bourbons in the eighteenth century. The Bourbons have turned this island into a socio-economic experimentation centre by taking some innovative policies in the relationship between citizens and rulers.
In the fascist period it was a place of political exile for opponents of the regime.
The territory also includes the volcanic islands of Gavi, Palmarola and Zannone that are covered with yellow spotted broom bushes and fragrant cistus bushes, lavender, myrtle and mastic tree.