The town of Ponza is a fishing and boating port with several large docks that can accommodate large ships. Its biggest industry is tourism followed by boatbuilding, boat repair and fishing.
The four mines that are at the northern end, and most beautiful area of the island were closed down in 1975 by the Italian Environmental Protection Agency, because the mining operation was destroying the wildlife and flora, which are Endangered species. They were mining kaolin and Bentonite. Kaolin is used in making Kaolin-Pectin medicine. Ponza has a two lane road that goes from north to south, but can accommodate small cars only. The planned airstrip at the north of the island was canceled, due to environment concerns. Seaplanes frequent the island because of this.
Celebrities who have vacationed on Ponza include Kirk Douglas, his son Michael Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Burt Lancaster, Gina Lollobrigida, Elsa Martinelli and Sophia Loren, Jacques Cousteau and his son, Philippe Cousteau who filmed several documentaries in the area.
Federico Fellini's Satyricon (1969) was filmed on Ponza. Some scenes in Wes Anderson's film The Life Aquatic were filmed on the island; Ponza was instead called in the movie, "Port-au-Patois".
Most of the people who live there raise rabbits and chickens and other animals in coops for meat to make cacciatore. Other farmed animals include goats, lamb and pigeons.
Many of the original inhabitants of Ponza are now leaving the island. They are steadily being replaced by other Italians from the mainland. Many of the children of the main families there, simply move away after becoming adults and never return. The local economy there is in a downturn partly due to the severe restrictions on commercial fishing