Through chance circumstances in the summer of 1985, Ponza entered dr bob's life. Halfway between Rome and Naples off the coast, this island is a tiny microcosm of all that is good and bad about Italy. Relatively unknown to nonItalian tourism, it is a treasure within easy reach of Rome via direct hydrofoil from Fiumicino (the small port near the airport) when running, or via train and hydrofoil from Rome via either Anzio (famous for the WWII battle) or Formia [reachable also from Naples]. Much less expensive than the famous Capri destination, it is a great escape from Rome in the summer. But dr bob goes there, always robbing a day or two from his other obligations, as a friend and part time beach worker to enjoy the company of a few special people.
Ponza made its way into an article in Gourmet Magazine in June 1994, spotted at a supermarket checkout counter by a member of the dr bob cooking team. We adopted the radicchio and mushroom risotto recipe from a hotel restaurant at the port with a few modifications (mushrooms) and attempted a somewhat successful recreation/inspired by recipe for a zucchini-carbonara-like spaghetti dish from the Chiaia di Luna beachfront cave-shack restaurant (da giacomo) which proves that good simple food does not require a traditional restaurant environment.
Ponza does not have a very good presence on the web yet. A relatively simple search turns up a few sites, mostly in Italian but with some great professional photos of more than bob can reach with his point and shoot and feet:
Ponza now has an internet point for unplugged visiters [Hotel Mari, via C Pisacane 19/20 I-04027 Ponza, right on the port top level store front row]. When the Chiaia di Luna beach is closed try a frequent water taxi to the nearby Frontone beach where the water is really amazing. Be sure to protect yourself from the increasingly harmful solar radiation by a ombrella rental like bob did; number 30 sunscreen doesn't hurt either.
And if you want a special treat try the sophistocated cuisine of Or�storante (= Or�ste + Ristorante) right to the left at the port [via dietro la chiesa 4, 04027 Ponza (LT), 0771-80338] run by cousins Or�ste (the star chef) and Valentina (professional sommelier) Romangolo. Not cheap but an unforgettably original seafood-based menu. We got to try every antipasto and a few special pastas by dining with a local friend of the restaurant and bob had to go for the killer dessert (la tartufata = chocolate heaven) at the end. This dining experience alone reversed bob's previous provincial misperception of the island.
And why not patronize Diva Luna Dinghy Rentals (just tell them dr bob sent you) to get the best out of the total island experience, without which Ponza would never have entered the dr bob circle of friendly places.
Those folks at Gourmet Magazine
know a good thing when they find it.
Page 84, May 2004: Good Living Travel: Roman Riviera ( = Ponza)
Gourmet was shockingly terminated in 2010.
And then Cucina
Italiana May 2010, page 66:
The Island of Ponza is Italy's hidden offshore paradise by Beppe Ceccato with photos by Adriano Brusaferri.
Features Or�storante and a paccheri with shrimp and lentils recipe.