Ventotene (Italian: [ventoˈtɛːne]; locally Vientutene; Latin: Pandataria or Pandateria, from Ancient Greek: Πανδατερία, romanized: Pandatería, or Πανδατωρία Pandatōría[3]) is one of the Pontine Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, 46 kilometres (25 nmi) off the coast of Gaeta right at the border between Lazio and Campania, Italy. The municipality of Ventotene, of the province of Latina (Lazio) had 708 permanent residents as of 2008.


Vientutene  (Neapolitan)
Comune di Ventotene
Ventotene within the Province of Latina
Location of Ventotene
Location of Ventotene in Italy
Ventotene (Lazio)
Coordinates: 40°47′51″N 13°25′48″E
ProvinceLatina (LT)
  MayorGerardo Santomauro
  Total1.54 km2 (0.59 sq mi)
18 m (59 ft)
 (30 November 2018)[2]
  Density500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0771
Patron saintSt. Candida
Saint daySeptember 20
WebsiteOfficial website


The island, the remains of an ancient volcano,[4] is elongated, with a length of 3 kilometres (2 miles) and a maximum width of about 800 metres (2,625 feet).

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


Roman Empire

Pandateria (Ancient Greek: Πανδατερία)[5] is best known as the island to which the emperor Augustus banished his daughter Julia the Elder in 2 BC, as a reaction to her excessive adultery. Later, in 29 AD, emperor Tiberius banished Augustus' granddaughter Agrippina the Elder,[6] who perished, probably of malnutrition, on October 18, 33 AD. After Agrippina the Elder's son Gaius, (better known as Caligula), became emperor in 37 AD, he went to Pandataria to collect her remains and reverently brought them back to Rome. Agrippina the Elder's youngest daughter, Julia Livilla, was exiled to Pandateria twice: the first time by her brother Caligula for plotting to depose him, and the second time by her uncle, the emperor Claudius, at the instigation of his wife, Messalina, in 41 AD.

Sometime later, Julia Livilla was discreetly starved to death and her remains probably brought back to Rome when her older sister Agrippina the Younger became influential as Claudius' wife. Another distinguished lady of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Claudia Octavia, who was the first wife of the emperor Nero, was banished to Pandateria in 62 AD and then executed on the orders of her husband.[7]

This is also the island to which St. Flavia Domitilla, the granddaughter of emperor Vespasian, was banished.

Twentieth Century

A prison camp was created under the Bourbons and restructured 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 them was Altiero Spinelli who wrote there a text now known as the "Ventotene Manifesto", promoting the idea of a federal Europe after the war.

During World War II, the island served as home to a 114-man German garrison, which defended a key radar station. On the night of December[8] 8, 1943, an American PT boat slipped into Ventotene's harbor undetected and offloaded 46 American paratroopers from the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, led by U.S. Naval Lieutenant (and actor) Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who was tactical commander of the Beach Jumpers—a group that used all forms available of deception to deceive the enemy, and commando-trained. The paratroopers met with a local exile from the Italian mainland who 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, weapons, and quickly surrendered to the weaker American force before realizing his mistake. Ventotene was liberated at 3 AM without a shot being fired. The story is reported by John Steinbeck in Once There Was A War.[8]

In August 2016, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi met with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande on Ventotene, to lay a wreath at the tomb of Altiero Spinelli and review European Union policy in the light of the impending British withdrawal from the EU.[9]


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

Main sights

The port has kept some tuff structures of the ancient Roman structure; on the island are also remains of villas and the extensive rainwater catchment system of channels and cisterns hewn from the bedrock, for the island has no natural springs of fresh water, which today is shipped in by tanker.

In July 2009, archaeologists announced the discovery of a "graveyard" of five ancient Roman ships in the deep waters off Ventotene, with their pristine cargoes of olive oil, garum and metal ingots.[10][11] One ship carried a full load of a kind of dish called a mortarium, in which foods were ground or mashed.[11]. Some of the recovered objects were immediately placed on view at Ventotene.

See also


  1. "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. W. Pape; Gustav Eduard Benseler (1884). Wörterbuch der griechischen Eigennamen (in German). F. Vieweg. p. 1121.
  4. Annamaria Perrotta; Claudio Scarpati; Lisetta Giacomelli; Anna Rita Capozzi (1996). "Proximal facies of a caldera forming eruption: the Parata Grande Tuff at Ventotene Island (Italy)". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  5. Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica, §P500.16
  6. Tacitus. The Annals. 1.53 .
  7. Tacitus. The Annals. 14.63-64 .
  8. John Steinbeck (1958). Once There Was a War.
  9. Nick Squires; Peter Foster (22 August 2016). "Renzi, Hollande and Merkel head to birthplace of European project to map out post-Brexit future". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  10. "Ancient Roman shipwrecks found". BBC News. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  11. "Lost Ships of Rome". Secrets of the Dead. PBS. November 15, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-11-14. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
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