NAPLES, Italy,(Pakistan Point News - APP -22nd Augst,2016) - The island of Ventotene, an ancient volcano off the coast of Naples where the leaders of Italy, France and Germany meet Monday for talks on the EU's future, is where the dream of a united Europe was born. With its white granite rocks and turquoise waters, the island, the second largest in the Pontine archipelago, has a long history as a place of punishment and torture for the exiled and outcast.
Known in Roman times as Pandataria, it was first famed for housing emperor Augustus's daughter Julia the Elder after she was charged with adultery, before emperor Nero exiled his wife Octavia here. On a nearby, rocky outcrop called Santo Stefano, the Bourbons built a horse-shoe shaped prison in 1797, made up of 99 cells set around a circular watchtower, with room for over 600 prisoners. It was used by the fascist regime during the Second World War as a place to which to banish political dissidents, with some 2,000 inmates languishing on Ventotene, by then dubbed the "island of confinement". Among them was Altiero Spinelli, a journalist and communist activist, who was sentenced in 1927 to 16 years in prison for his writings criticising the rise to power of Benito Mussolini.