Province of Latina, Latium, Italy


About Ventotene

Ventotene (Italian: ; locally Vientutene; Latin: Pandataria or Pandateria, from ancient Greek: Πανδατερία, Romanized: Pandatería or Πανδατωρία Pandatōría ) is one of the Pontine Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, 46 kilometers (25 miles)) off the coast of Gaeta just on the border between Lazio and Campania, Italy. Since 2008 the municipality of Ventotene, in the province of Latina (Lazio), had 708 permanent residents .


The island, the remains of an ancient volcano, is elongated, with a length of 3 kilometers (2 miles) and a maximum width of approximately 800 meters (2,625 feet).

The municipality includes the small accessory island of Santo Stefano, located 2 km (1 mi) to the east, which is the site of a massive prison, now closed. The Furthers islands are Ponza, Palmarola and Zannone, located 40 km (25 miles) to the west.


Roman Empire

Pandateria (ancient Greek: Πανδατερία) is better known as the island where the emperor Augustus banished his daughter Julia the Elder in 2 BC, as a reaction to his excessive adultery. Later, in 29 AD, Emperor Tiberius banished the granddaughter of Augusto Agrippina the Elder, who died, probably of malnutrition, on 18 October 33 AD. After the son of Agrippina the Elder, Gaius, (better known as Caligola), became emperor in 37 AD, he went to Pandataria to collect his remains and bring them reverently to Rome. Agrippina the Elder's youngest daughter, Julia Livilla, was twice exiled to Pandateria: the first time by her brother Caligula for planning to lay him down, and the second time by her uncle, Emperor Claudius, at the instigation of his wife, Messalina, in 41 AD

Some time later, Julia Livilla was fairly hungry for death and probably her remains were brought back to Rome when her older sister Agrippina the Younger became influential as Claudio's wife. Another illustrious lady of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudia Octavia, who was the first wife of Emperor Nero, was exiled to Pandateria in 62 AD. and then executed by order of her husband.

This is also the island where Santa Flavia Domitilla, nephew of Emperor Vespasian was banned.

20th century

A prison camp was created under the Bourbons and renovated under Benito Mussolini on the nearby island of Santo Stefano. There, up to 700 opponents, including 400 communists, were incarcerated between 1939 and 1943. One of these was Altiero Spinelli who wrote a text now known as the "Ventotene Manifesto", promoting the idea of a federal Europe after war.

During the Second World War, the island was home to a 114-man German garrison, which defended a key radar station. On the night of December 8, 1943, an American PT ship slipped into the port of Ventotene without being identified and unloaded 46 American paratroopers from the 509th parachute infantry battalion, led by the American naval lieutenant (and actor) Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who was tactical Beach Jumpers commander: a group that used all available forms of deception to deceive the enemy and trained for command. The paratroopers met a local exile from the Italian mainland which then lied to the German commander that there was a regiment of paratroopers on the island, deposited by a fleet of allied ships. Terrified, the German commander demolished his positions, his weapons and quickly surrendered to the weaker American force before realizing his mistake. Ventotene was released at 3 am without firing a shot. The story is reported by John Steinbeck in Once There Was A War.

In August 2016, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande on Ventotene to lay a crown on Altiero Spinelli's grave and review EU policy in light of the imminent withdrawal British from the EU.


The island is connected by ferry and hydrofoil with Formia and Terracina; this is complemented by summer services to and from Ponza, Ischia and Naples.

Main attractions

The port has preserved some tuff structures of the ancient Roman structure; on the island there are also remains of villas and the large rainwater collection system of canals and cisterns dug out of the fresh rock, since the island has no natural sources of fresh water, which today are shipped by tanker.

In July 2009, archaeologists announced the discovery of a "cemetery" of five ancient Roman ships in the deep waters off Ventotene, with their pristine loads of olive oil, garum and metal ingots. A ship carried a full load of a species of dish called mortarium, in which the foods were ground or crushed. . Some of the recovered objects were immediately put on display in Ventotene.


Piazza Castello

Ventotene and the Pontine Islands

Source: Wikipedia
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