Ventotene gets its name from the prevailing winds that blow over the island (wind in Italian is vento). It now has over 700 permanent inhabitants but for many centuries it was unoccupied as it proved defenseless against pirates. Under the name of Pandateria it was used as a prison island by the ancient Romans. People banished there were often eventually murdered or starved to death. During the Second World War Mussolini used the nearby small island of Santo Stefano as a prison camp.
Ventotene gets very crowded in the school holiday period of mid-June to early-September and in late September for the festival of Saint Candida, the patron saint of the island.
From Rome Ventotene can be reached by train or car to Formia followed by a two-hour ferry . There are frequent trains from Rome's Termini station. There are also ferries from Anzio. From Naples there are also ferries, but only in the summer .
On foot! Ventotene does have roads but vehicles are only allowed to circulate one hour before and one hour after the arrival of ferries.
- Santo Stefano. This uninhabited island is just a short distance from Ventotene. It was occupied by a prison until 1965 and can be visited by boat from Ventotene.
- Roman ruins. Remains of villas and cisterns.
There is an overwhelming amount of things to do on the island of Ventotene! It is a place for relaxing, swimming and just generally chilling out.
- Festival of Saint Candida. Santa Candida, patron saint of the island of Ventotene, is celebrated on September 20 with a week of events between the sacred and the profane. Events include the traditional shows in the square, games and hot air balloon competitions, where teams are judged on size, shape, decoration and technique of the launch of the balloons, with fireworks and the procession of the Holy Boat of Candida which holds the body that was found on the banks of the Santa Pozzillo.
- Ponza is another inhabited island in the Pontine Group. In summer there are also trips to the other uninhabited islands of the Group.
- Ischia is the largest island in the Bay of Naples.