PHOTO: Zannone is Italy's 'orgy island.' (photo via Flickr/Hengist Decius)
Before you tell your most special loved one that you want to frolic and play on ‘Orgy Island,’ perhaps you better preface it with a bit of the backstory to this unique place.
CNN’s Silvia Marchetti takes a deep dive into the captivating and often times sordid history of Italy’s Zannone.
This peculiar island goes dark now every single night as guests, aside from the occasional scientist doing research, are forbidden from spending the night. This is contrary to what this hotbed of scintillating sex parties once featured just 50 years before.
Zannone might be a mere state-owned example of Italian beauty if it weren’t for the Marquis Casati Stampa and his wife Anna Fallarino, both of whom seemed to have had the libido of SNL’s Festrunk brothers and had wild parties that would put any Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman movie to shame – and we aren’t talking about “Far and Away.”
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For the adults in the room, we are referring to good, old-fashioned orgies.
Marchetti spoke with former fisherman Giorgio Aniello who now whisks visitors from Ponza to this strange isle.
Aniello starts off by directing attention to the place where it all went down: “See that white colonial villa up high there? That's where the Marquis Casati Stampa held lavish sex parties.”
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Decades later, this place is now a tourist attraction. Those interested can pay €27 per person to go from Ponza to Zannone. Leave your thoughts of untoward hookups back at home, however, because there isn’t much partying, sex or sex partying taking place on the Marquis’ former home.
That’s because this place is closed off except for during the day when visitors can bask in the sun and cool water.
This desolate island once had quite a renowned population for a time. Aniello breaks down a bizarre melodrama in a remarkably concise manner: “He (Casati) was a lewd man, a voyeur who liked to watch and photograph his starlet wife get kinky having sex with other younger guys. Then one day he got fed up of the threesome, shot the two lovers and killed himself.”
Aniello goes on to explain that the 1960s was something of Zannone’s heyday with the Marquis and Fallarino throwing Gatsby-esque parties that welcomed all who might want to dive into the island romp.
Salvatore Pagano is described as a former caretaker of the island and explains, “The villa was a hot jet-society get-together.”
With the Marquis off hunting, his wife would entertain on the beach. And the nights, we imagine, were insane. Pagano continues, “It was crazy here.”
Another island expert, tourist guide Riccardo Peci, tells CNN: “We all knew what was happening there. It was dubbed the 'sex parties isle' but nobody ever uttered a word about it back then.”
I like to think any orgy culminates in one of the most intense hangovers ever, mixed with regret and not a little bit of worry.
In this case, orgy island’s sordid era of debauchery ended in an awful manner. The Marquis reportedly discovered that his wife had fallen for one of her lovers. This was enough to set him off and he killed the pair and shot himself while the three were back in Rome.
Decades later, their eccentric lifestyle continues to draw tourists to the area. As noted, you will have to secure passage from Ponza for a tour of the island.
However, things wrap up before nightfall, which is when you will have to return to your mundane, non-spouse swapping existence.