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Ponza Island History

Ponza Island is not only made of magnificent views from the sea but also towards the sea. Ponza has in fact a very rich history that starts from the ancient Greeks up to the Second World War and there is the opportunity to visit numerous archaeological sites.
Hotel Torre dei Borboni sits directly next to the Bagni di Pilato, the ancient basins built in the 1st century BC by the Romans for breeding moray eels.
The boat visit of these complex systems of swimming pools and underwater canals is absolutely not to be missed and it is possible to organize excursions directly at our hotel.
Among the main archaeological sites in Ponza we suggest not to miss:

The Pilate Caves

The Pilate Grottos belonged to the rich Roman villa of Emperor Augustus’ daughter and many of the remains are still visible on the promontory. The Pilate Grottos presumably date back to the 1st century BC. The name comes from the famous Pilate of Judea. The complex is still here today to be admired for the perfection of excavation techniques where even carvings below sea level are still preserved and visible.

The Roman Cistern in Ponza

The Roman cistern on via Dragonara is the largest of the three cisterns built in Ponza by the Romans. Completely dug into the soft tufa stone of the island, it has more vaulted corridors placed on parallel rows that intersect with six perpendicular aisles.

Punta and Forte Papa

The Forte Papa is a Farnese fortress named as a tribute to Paolo III Farnese, partially destroyed by mining. Near Punta del Papa, at a depth of about 21 meters there is the wreck of an American transport ship that literally split in half on the rocks on February 23rd, 1944.

The History of Ponza Island

Ponza Island of has been populated since the Neolithic age, but its main centers were born under the domination of the Volsci. Occupied first by the Phoenicians who used it as a commercial stopover, it was later colonized by the Greeks in the eighth century BC.
In 312 B.C. the Romans arrived and they turned Ponza mainly into a place of confinement, and also a place to holiday. In fact there are ruins of Roman villas, the most famous of which is on the Madonna Hill that dates back to the first century AD, and there are also aqueducts, water tanks (including the Pilate Grottos) and a cistern for rainwater collection, and the self-styled Baths.
In the Middle Ages Ponza Island remained a flourishing religious and commercial center, thanks to the work of the Benedictine monks who erected the Santa Maria Abbey. But the work of the friars was almost thwarted when, starting from the ninth century, Ponza Island suffered from ferocious raids by Saracen pirates.
In 1454 Ponza was occupied by the Aragonese, who drove the Cistercian monks out of the Island. The Cistercian monks took refuge in Formia and founded the church of Santa Maria di Ponza.

In 1655 there was another fierce raid by the Turks, who blew up the port tower. After a brief period of an Austrian garrison, in 1734 Elisabetta Farnese, mother of Charles III of Spain, King of Naples, ceded the entire Ponziane archipelago to her son, who made the islands the private property of the crown and started to intensely colonize the area, bringing settlers in mainly from Ischia.
In 1768, King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon started a phase of improvement of the economic conditions of the islanders.
Ponza Island was colonized by 52 Ischian families for a total of 130 people in the seventeenth century after having been virtually uninhabited for about two centuries due to pirate raids. The current inhabitants of Ponza are descendents from those families from Ischia. In this second phase, the public works that were started and completed still characterize the archipelago: under the guidance of Antonio Winspeare, Officer of the Genie, and the engineer Francesco Carpi, the Port of Ponza, the cemetery, the fortress, the office building, the church, and the Forte Papa in the Forna were built.

Where we are

Hotel Torre dei Borboni is located in an exclusive position, on a promontory overlooking the sea, just a three minute walk from the port and very close to the most important tourist attractions of the island.