St Barths Meets Roman Holiday

St Barths Meets Roman Holiday

It’s like Capri without crowds. St Tropez without Champagne. Ponza Island, which rises from nowhere in the distant Mediterranean, has been a low key luxury escape since Roman times. Ponza is equally starry under the sea. Jacques Cousteau sailed in to make sea life documentaries. Bill Murray breezed in to star in Wes Anderson movie This Life Aquatic. Ponza is a deep sea drama tailor-made for Y.CO yachts. Only a handful of public ferries make it this far out.

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Your Guide to Ponza

Magical. Charming.

The first stop of your Ponza yacht charter is at the island’s ancient harbour. The buildings are so colourful they look like kids’ crayons dropped from the blue sky. Dive shops share their secrets with Y.CO captains. Like the Mariuolo Shoal, which has 25m drop-offs alive with barracuda and scorpionfish. And the sunken tank landing craft USS LST 349, which still bristles with heavy weaponry. Hike on through a scented wilderness to Ponza's Botanical Garden. There's a reason for that aroma of rockrose, viburnum and myrtle. Yacht cruises to Ponza bask in glorious sunshine. From May through August the island receives only 1cm of rain.

Piscine Naturali

Ponza’s coast? It’s only by boat. Kayak inside the Grotte di Pilato. These rock caves were made by Romans to store seafood. Swim in piscine naturali, natural seawater pools hewn from rocks for holidaying senators. Snorkel off Cala Cecata, a tiny shingle shore with only seashells and starfish for company. Ponza is desert island bliss.

Perfectly Untouched

Think Ponza is secluded? Wait until you see Palmarola and Zannone. These two micro-islands are uninhabited, unsullied and hermetically sealed from the 21st century. Palmarola rises like a Thai limestone islet from the ocean abyss. Cousteau christened it: “The most beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea.” Zannone is populated only by butterflies, wild sheep and visiting biologists, who are trying to work out how the island became so bountiful.