The castle dates back to the first half of the 13th century when the Holy See entrusted it to the noble
Annibaldi family who built a fortress there of which little remains except the keep with a tower referred to
as the small keep (maschietto in Italian).
At the end of the 1300s, the Annibaldi family handed over its possessions to the Caetani family who
invested what was needed in order to turn the stronghold into a real military fortress, with new buildings
and five circles of walls which, thanks to a drawbridge system, made it possible to isolate the tower in the
event of an assault.
In the 16th century, the castle was handed over to Pope Alexander VI (Borgia) who, with the help of
Antonio da Sangallo the Elder further transformed the castle into a military fortress, erecting the so-called
Casa del Cardinale, where Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia were guests, and next to this an impressive rampart.
In 1504 it was returned to the Caetani family but when the family moved to Rome and Cisterna during the
17th century, the castle slowly started to fall into decline. During the 1700s it was destroyed and raided by
Spanish and French troops. Abandoned to its fate, it was restored at the start of the last century and at the
end of the last world war. At the present time, the castle is in a good state of repair and boasts a keep,
ramparts, soldiers’ quarters and cisterns.
A visit to the castle kicks off from Piazzale degli Olmi. After crossing over the first two drawbridges, you
come to Piazza d’Armi which was once a meeting place for soldiers employed at the castle and which is
now used for important music events. The large square is enclosed by impressive castle walls, the keep
tower and elegant buildings.
From here you can reach the so-called Casa del Cardinale which houses pictures, furnishings and frescoes
from Ninfa. If you cross over the square you come to the Sala dei Baroni where parties and banquets were
held. This room offers access to the bedrooms known as the “painted rooms”. The frescoes adorning these
rooms date back to the second half of the 15th century and are the only frescoes in all the castle to have
remained intact up to the present day. Following on from these rooms there are the servants’ quarters and
from here you can go out into the square again which the kitchen with its ancient fireplace also looks out
After the third drawbridge, you come to the keep and small keep towers and the rampart walk. Not only
were the two towers used for defence purposes, but also as living quarters. Indeed, the first floor of the
keep offers a perfectly kept bedroom featuring mainly sixteenth century furnishings.
Leaving behind the tower rooms, you can cross over the fourth drawbridge and onto the open-air rampart
walk flanked by the impressive merlons dating from the period of Borgia ownership.
The visit comes to an end with a walk through the so-called “long battery”, a sort of tunnel created inside
the castle walls which leads to the second drawbridge located near Piazza d’Armi.
Fashion District Outlet
Fashion District, the largest shopping project in Italy, has created a network comprising 3 factory outlets
located throughout Italy in 3 strategic areas for the number of inhabitants, transit of vehicles and tourist
traffic. Able to integrate their design with the surrounding area on the basis of their geographical location
and local traditions, the Fashion District outlets reproduce small towns at an architectural level.
Along the shoreline’s Via Flacca, the road running between Sperlonga and the Sant’Agostino plain, are two
of the most beautiful beaches on Lazio’s coast; one-of-a-kind landscapes, grottoes, coves, inlets, and
perfectly appointed beach facilities offer tourists the possibility of spending pleasant summers dedicated to
enjoying the sea and such sports as surfing, windsurfing, and free climbing.
Between Gaeta and Sperlonga are 10 kilometres of beaches, separated by rocky points and marked by the
presence of Genoese towers, all the way to the splendid cliffs of Monte Orlando. Gaeta’s seven gorgeous
beaches stand out for their uncommon natural splendour, nude beaches, and well-equipped sections. Here
is where the mythical Greek hero Aeneas landed, and it was here that he buried his wet-nurse Caieta, who,
legend has it, gave her name to the city.
We start from the bay of Sant’Agostino, renowned among those who enjoy free climbing on the rocky walls
of Monte Moneta (359 metres). Stretching for 2 kilometres, it is the longest and most popular beach. The
San Vito beach is well equipped (beach volleyball, recreation and games) and offers an ideal sea bottom for
swimming and scuba diving. It is a favourite for those who love to sail.
Access is possible only through the hospitality facilities. The Arenauta beach became one of Lazio’s first
nudist beaches in the second half of the 1960s, when it could be reached only by sea or impassable lanes.
Today, with its crystal-clear sea and fine, golden sand, it remains one of the wildest and most natural
stretches of Lazio’s coastline.
The Ariana beach, which took Bandiera Blu honours in recent years, is small and always crowded. It is
marked by fine sand, a transparent sea, dense growth of Mediterranean maquis, and the so-called Scogli
dei tre cani – the “rocks of the three dogs.” The Quaranta Remi beach is located in a small cove that can be
reached only by swimming from Pozzo del Diavolo (“the devil’s well”); also known as Pozzo delle Chiavi
(“the well of keys”), it is ideal for dives that while undemanding, provide an astonishing display of
On the small Fontania beach on Gaeta’s southern coast, we find the remains of an ancient Roman villa from
the first century BC, as well as a multitude of enchanting caves. A short distance away, Nave di Serapo,
which takes its name from its elongated, ship-like shape, is a unique, natural oasis and a rather important
biological site whose shallow sea bottom make it perfect for beginning divers and for those who enjoy
Lastly, the narrow Serapo beach – the main beach for the municipality of Gaeta – is located a short distance
from the town centre, and just a few kilometres from the Monte Orlando natural park. This is the beach of
choice for Gaeta’s citizens. About 1.5 km in length, it has been almost entirely licensed out by the
municipality of Gaeta.
Gaeta, gulf of wonders
Here nature has truly done its finest work: on the slopes of the Aurunci mountains, descending towards the
hills from rugged promontories, we reach Gaeta, with its spectacular coves, inlets, and landscapes. This city
of age-old origins and intense history was first a holiday spot for vacationing Romans, and later a Maritime
Republic and home to the Bourbon monarchy.
Gaeta’s urban grid is typically Medieval. Alleys, a large castle, walkways, Norman bell towers, and ancient
city walls form the Sant’Erasmo quarter, rich in religious buildings: the Cathedral (with its museum), the
churches of the Santissima Annunziata, San Giovanni a mare, Sorresca, San Domenico, Santa Lucia, San
Francesco, Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, as well as the Shrine of the Holy Trinity on Monte Orlando. Atop
Monte Orlando rises the Mausoleum dedicated to the general Lucius Munatius Plancus, founder of Lyon
Gaeta provides excellent opportunities for nautical tourism, which relies on the facility at the Flavio Gioia
Garden of Ninfa, an explosion of nature
Set up in 2000 in Località Doganella, located within the municipalities of Cisterna di Latina and Sermoneta
(in part), the Natural Monument Garden of Ninfa, which stretches out for approximately 106 hectares, 35
of which are classified as a Site of Community Importance (SCI), is owned entirely by Fondazione Roffredo
It was a medieval town, some fascinating remains of which can still be seen such as a part of the castle, the
walls, the totally restored town hall and some churches and civil buildings. But Ninfa is above all a splendid
natural oasis, one of a kind, created where swampland once reigned supreme. This gem of nature and
culture which Gregorovius labelled “the Pompeii of the Middle Ages”, has survived from 700 A.D. through
to today, experiencing various events that saw the city succumb to the rule of powerful noble families.
These included the branch of the Caetani family who came to own it at the end of the 13th century and
who remained its owners up to handing over to the foundation which is currently responsible for its
The atmosphere you can breathe in is that of a magical setting, where plants and floral essences from all
over the world live side by side, as if the soil and climate had adapted to meet their needs and provide
them with all the typical elements of their original habitat that they need in order to flourish.
It all seems to be part of a supernatural design, whose beauty is provided by the River Ninfa, the streams,
the lake and the variegated fauna: kingfishers, grey herons, European penduline tits, European scops owls,
barn owls, common moorhens, Eurasian coots, mallards as well as badgers, porcupines, hazel dormice and
Island of Ponza
Of the Pontine islands, it is the largest in both area and population. The island is collected around the
inhabited area of Ponza Porto and the northern village Le Forna. The architecture is typical of the
Mediterranean islands: small houses with flat or vaulted roofs, and soft colours, so as not to clash with
nature. But the more recent structure also includes signs of much more ancient activity: a necropolis, the
large cisterns the Romans used to collect water, and the tunnels, which were also dug by the Romans.
Present and past, nature and human activity: all contribute to an exceptional environment. The Bourbons’
harbour, the road leading up to it, and the other marina of Cala Feola on the other side of the Island, with
its natural pools, offer shelter; the beaches of Chiaia di Luna and Frontone, or the small spits of sand set
among the rocks and reachable only by boat, make for exciting seaside relaxation; points, coves, rocks,
outcroppings, and recesses offer ever-changing landscapes. And as for sea bottoms, you can take your
choice of locations and depths.
National Park of Circeo
Are you looking for coastal Lazio’s most surprising landscape? Grab your knapsack and boots: it’s a hard
climb up the steep path starting from Torre Paola, near Sabaudia; or better yet, follow the ridge path,
which begins from the enormous walls of San Felice. Upon reaching the summit of Mt. Circeo, or one of the
adjacent, secondary peaks, catch your breath and feast your eyes.
Five hundred metres further down, at the foot of the dark, green blanket of holm oak, the blue of the lakes
and that of the sea, separated by only the narrowest spit of dune, nearly touch one another. Chased by
seagulls, fishing boats fade into the horizon, towards the Pontine Islands. And with a little luck, you may
glimpse the lightning-quick flight of a peregrine falcon tracing lines in the sky as it hunts for prey. These and
other excitements await you in one of Lazio’s parks – and not just any park.
The first to be founded in regional territory in long-ago 1934, the Circeo park, covering an area of eight
thousand hectares, protects the region’s most intact stretch of coastline, including four coastal lakes, an
enormous forest in the plain, the wildest of the Pontine Islands (Zannone), and of course the mountain of
the legendary sorceress Circe, who, according to Homer, enchanted Odysseus and his comrades during
their voyage back to Ithaca. Strolling along the paths, practising bird watching on the lakes’ banks and
paddling in their peaceful waters, and cycling in the shade of the large, state-owned forest: this and more is
what a national park has to offer – a plunge into nature, and into the legend of Lazio.
It’s an oasis! One word is all you need to describe a city where nature took pleasure in leaving her most
beautiful handiwork: the great Selva del Circeo forest, a long and imposing coastal dune rich in
Mediterranean plant life, the Monaci, Caprolace and Paola lakes, archaeological remains, the sea, the sun –
all present and accounted for. Founded on 05 August 1933, it has maintained its original urban planning
and architectural arrangement intact, earning it the title of “City of Rationalism”: the Piazza del Comune
with its civic tower 42 metres tall and the city hall – the former casa del Fascio; the school; the Annunziata
church; the hotel; the cinema; and all the other buildings dating back to foundation. Its current state is that
of a tourism town that for years has attained levels of quality that have made it a destination sought after
and beloved by Italians and foreigners alike. Just out of the original nucleus we already come upon Lake
Paola (or Lake Sabaudia), its numerous branches home to dense vegetation where one may frequently see
herons, egrets, and a quantity of smaller birds take flight. The lake is also the site of rowing practise and
competitions. The landscape one enjoys from the side of the coastal road is an evocative one: in just one
glance, the eye takes in the lake’s relaxing waters, the dune, kilometres of the often solitary beach along
which Alberto Moravia often strolled, the sea, greenery, and the imposing Circeo promontory dominating
from the southeast. Sabaudia is home to the headquarters of the Circeo National Park, with visitors’ centre,
nature museum, and Centro di Documentazione sull’Istruzione Scolastica e sull’opera Sanitaria nelle Paludi
Pontine “Claudia Ortese.” Despite its young age, Sabaudia conserves important vestiges of a presence
centuries before its foundation: the 13th-century Sorresca Sanctuary, the Palace of Domitian (one of lower
Lazio’s most important archaeological complexes), the so-called Springs of Lucullus, and the F. Murena pool
(fed by the sea). A tour of the city may conclude with a visit to Museo del Mare e della Costa.
San Felice Circeo
San Felice Circeo has ancient origins. In fact, precious paleontological finds – and in particular a
Neanderthal skull – have been made in many of Mount Circeo’s caves. But archaeological material from the
Middle Palaeolithic, Upper Palaeolithic, and Mesolithic periods has also been found.
A Volscian city, San Felice was conquered by the Romans in 393 BC, laid waste to by the Goths in 410 AD
and the Saracens in 846, and rebuilt and fortified by the popes, who entrusted it to Terracina. The country
then became the fief of the Frangipane family in 1185 and, after a period of tumult, passed over to the
Annibaldi in 1203. In 1250, it became the property of the Knights Templar, who exchanged possession of
the town for other goods a few years later. In 1301, it was purchased by the Caetani family which, aside
from some brief intervals, were to maintain possession of it until 1713, when it was sold to the Ruspoli
family; it was later to return to the Apostolic Camera.
Then small town in the Pontine plain rises on a highland on the eastern slopes of the Circeo promontory
which projects into the Tyrrhenian, enclosing the Gulf of Gaeta. The name is derived from the ancient
Circeii, perhaps a reference to the sorceress Circe, or to the rounded form of the highland on which the
Absolutely worth a visit is the permanent Homo sapiens and Habitat exhibition – a collection of fossil finds
of the animal life and Neanderthals that once dwelled in Circeo’s caves. For scuba divers, an underwater
itinerary leads to the statue of Christ the King.
Sermoneta stands majestically on top of a hill, at 257 metres above sea level, dominating the Pontine plains
below. The town offers proof of the great tourism heritage of Latina province which succeeds in welcoming
large numbers of tourists not only thanks to its crystal-clear sea and islands of unmatched beauty, but also
to its inland towns.
Sermoneta’s fortune dates back to the end of the 13th century when the Caetani family took up residence
there, with said family’s leading members including a pope, Pope Boniface VIII. A large and impressive
castle was built immediately which also served to protect its inhabitants and was the main centre of a
Castello Caetani is undoubtedly the symbol of Sermoneta and its main tourist attraction. It experienced its
period of greatest fame and glory during the 1400s with the addition of noteworthy architectural and
artistic features including frescoes which went to adorn the various rooms inside the castle.
In 1499 Pope Alexander VI (Borgia) excommunicated the Caetani family, confiscating all their feuds which
the family only regained possession of with great difficulty some years later. After a long period of
abandonment, the castle was taken over once more by the Caetani family in the past century, restored and
brought back to its past splendour thanks above all to works to consolidate the fifteenth-century frescoes
by the school of Pinturicchio.
The characteristic and unmistakeable appearance of a medieval town, with its side streets, alleyways and
squares all inside the town walls, lend Sermoneta an ancient flavour and appeal which invite tourists to
discover it in all its unique and unrepeatable charm.
In addition to the castle, we recommend you visit the town’s beautiful churches and especially the
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta which is home to valuable frescoes, including some by Benozzo Bozzoli.
The town of Sperlonga, perched on the strip of land of Monte S. Magno, along the Flacca national road,
takes its name from the natural grottoes - speluncae – found along the coast.
The town maintains its original centre of a typically Mediterranean flavour, with its white buildings, flights
of small arches between the narrow alleys and here and there a strip of sea and sky. Alleys and stairways
run off the town’s main square and lead to Lazio’s most unpolluted stretch of sea that is also able to boast
the FEE’s Blue Flag, a symbol which acknowledges the high quality of the sea and tourist facilities.
The coast is truly charming; long sandy stretches frame a blue, crystal-clear sea. Do not miss the sandy
beaches with quite unusual names: Fontana, Canzatora, Salette and Bonifica.
Angolo beach stretches out beyond the town, with the grotto of Tiberius and once round the Ciannito
promontory that stretches out into the sea, you come to the Bazzano coast. The last beach is called
Bambole and features a cave of the same name.
Sperlonga is a pleasant beach town that has not forgotten its farming origins, preserving absolutely unique
characteristics: the town centre, with its narrow alleyways climbing up the hill, the little archways opening
unexpectedly onto courtyards or other lanes, or sudden glimpses of sky and sea, becoming one with
dwellings whitewashed in clean Mediterranean colours.
About 10 kilometres in length, the sandy beaches are quaintly named: to the east are the Bambole,
Capovento, Bazzano, and Angolo beaches; to the west, Canzatòra and Amyclae. The setting is complete
with rocks contoured by the wind and pierced by marine grottoes; coastal defence towers; the hill teeming
with Mediterranean plant life, including olive groves and gardens; and the little marina for fishermen and
small recreational vessels.
An important archaeological monument is the Villa della Grotta di Tiberio, which was brought to light in the
late 1950s: it includes a grotto/nymphaeum, a large fish farm, and a spa facility. The site is home to Museo
Archeologico Nazionale e Villa di Tiberio, which houses reconstructions of major statuary groups discovered
in the area, evoking the myth of Ulysses. The collection includes priceless finds, most of which sculpture,
which were part of the villa’s ornament: beside works celebrating the gens Julia (relief of Venus Genitrix,
the so-called herm of Aeneas) are images of divinities (Dionysius, Athena, Salus), samples of portraiture
(head of Trajan and of an emperor from the age of tetrarchs, etc.), and strictly decorative elements (statue
of a draped maiden, perhaps identifiable with Circe, putti, satyrs, theatrical masks), dating mostly to the
first century AD.
Terracina, one of the largest cities on the Pontine coastline, is located about 100 km from Rome and 120
km from Naples. Dominated by the evocative Temple of Jupitur Anxur, which has towered over the city
beneath since the second century BC, Terracina boasts about 6 km of shoreline, with a wealth of beach
facilities equipped with the finest services.
The southern gateway to the Agro Pontino, it is one of Lazio’s most important tourism centres, both for its
position on the sea and for its cultural heritage. The ancient city was perched on a small hill overlooking the
sea, protected by a stout wall from various eras (the latest was Byzantine). Within the walls are Roman
remains such as the Aemilian Forum, and Medieval ones such as the Cathedral of San Cesareo, Palazzo
Venditti, the Frangipane castle, and a series of narrow streets in an urban fabric in which small shops,
restaurants, and wine establishments are accommodated by the original Medieval/Roman plan.
The part in the plain includes a nucleus created in the late 18th century following the reclamation by Pius
VI, which includes the church of the Saviour, a grand, neo-classical building designed in 1845 by the
architect Andrea Sarti following Valadier’s earlier concept; Piazza del Semicircolo; some buildings from the
first half of the 20th century, and other urban environments. Piazza del Municipio is also quite lovely, with
the cathedral, an ancient construction obtained from the cell of a temple probably dedicated to Rome or
The City Hall and the late-Medieval Torre Frumentaria are now home to the archaeological museum, which
houses objects from local excavations. Also worth a visit is the Capitoline Temple, dating to the 1st century
BC, which came to light after digging out the rubble from the Second World War, and the city wall, called
the Cinta Sillana because it was built by the Consul Sulla. Following the shoreline is Lungomare Circe, the
coastal road that is home to numerous beach establishments and accommodation facilities.
The tourism offerings are highlighted by excellent hotel facilities, a host of restaurants, camp grounds,
shops and the port. The town is also a fishing base, and a point of departure for the Island of Ponza.
Terracina lies on the ridges of Mount Sant’Angelo; perched on the mountain’s peak is the famous Temple of
Jupiter Anxur, offering a broad vista ranging from the Gulf of Gaeta to the epic promontory of Circeo, with
the islands of Ponza and Ventotene in the distance, and the Palmarola nature reserve directly ahead.
On the eastern side of the mountain, along the Via Appia near the so-called Porta Napoli gate, we may see
the rock that Trajan had cut to open the road’s passage to the sea. Mount Sant’Angelo has been recognized
by the region as a natural monument. Terracina is also rich in popular traditions, such as the feast of the
patron Saint Caesarius, that of St. Silvanus, and of the Assumption, or in July the spectacular Madonna del
Carmine celebration, with its evocative procession to the sea.
Although the city’s economy focuses mainly on tourism, Terracina is also particularly active in fishing,
farming, and buffalo raising. And it is Terracina’s buffalo mozzarella that can boast denominazione di
origine protetta (DOP) status. Don’t forget to savour such special local products as Terracina strawberry
and muscat, an Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGP) wine, Casanese, and Aleatico.
The Abbey of Fossanova
The Abbey of Fossanova, recently restored, is located in the village of Fossanova in the municipality of
Priverno. Built at the end of the century XII, it is one of the most famous Cistercian Gothic monastery
complexes in Italy. The name Fossanova, as we can see, derives from the new ditch (“fosso nuovo”) dug by
the Cistercian monks to drain the waters and to start up and support the “grange” to provide them with a
living. The church has a solemn simplicity and elegant forms, highlighted in the façade made of local stone
by the opening with the large pointed splay arch and the elegant rose-window, which at certain times of
the day creates suggestive lighting effects.
The interior has a large central nave, supported by powerful pilasters and ribbing, and two small lateral
naves. The walls have remains of plasterwork and frescoes. The Abbey includes: the cloister, surrounded by
a series of small white double columns, all different; the splendid Chapter Room, decorated with columns
and ribbing (inside the room, we can see when entering on the right the base of one of the pilasters
engraved with the knot of Solomon, or Templar knot); the refectory, recently excavated to reveal the old
foundations, and restored; and the monastery itself, also restored in the 1990s.
St. Thomas Aquinas died in the Abbey on 7 March 1274, when he was struck by an illness when on his way
to Lyon. The cloister has a stone with two hoof prints said to have been left by the saint’s donkey when his
master died. A chapel of the abbey church preserves three detached 14th century frescoes, and a Madonna
with Child of the same period coming from an oratory attached to the Abbey. There is the interesting room
where St. Thomas Aquinas died in the guest wing of the Abbey. It was converted into a chapel by the Titular
Abbot Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who installed a marble bas-relief there, the work of the Bernini school.
The Abbey is located in the charming medieval village of Fossanova, where we can also visit the old stables,
which house the Medieval Museum.
The Abbey of Valvisciolo
The Abbey of Valvisciolo is situated in the territory of Sermoneta (Latina), at the foot of Mount Corvino, less
than 100 metres above sea level. The history of this monastery is complex and the name also conceals part
of a mystery. Valvisciolo might mean Valley of the Nightingale (vallis lusciniae) or Valley of the Wild
Cherries. It is confirmed that the name originally referred to another Cistercian monastery near Carpineto
Romano, of which only a few ruins remain. In the early XIV century the Carpineto monks left their
mountains and moved to the new monastery which they called Valvisciolo. The church is quite simple,
having three naves with five spans each, and no transept. The apse is rectangular, with thick, rather low
pilasters supporting open arches. The presbytery has four steps above floor level.
The cloister, which we enter from the right nave, is a regular square and was originally covered by a light
roof, later replaced by smooth cross-vaults. Its round arches are supported by small columns with capitals
that frame the internal garden laid out around the central cistern. Like all Cistercian abbeys, the various
sections of the monastery were laid out around the cloister: the church, the refectory, the dormitory, the
scriptorium and the kitchens. The refectory, parallel to the cloister, has just one nave.
The side entrance to the cloister leads to the restored Dispensarium of the Abbey, housing the Gallery
opened in 2003 and dedicated to Abbot Stanislaus White (1838-1911), the generous Irish monk who did so
much for the Abbey of Valvisciolo, which he directed from the end of the 19th to the early 20th century.
The Gallery originated from the donation by Domenico Guidi of 41 works, almost all original engravings and
drawings dating from the early 16th to the 19th century. Some works from the historical collection of the
Abbey are also housed in the room.
The dunes of Sabaudia
Embraced by its large gulf, Sabaudia, just 90 km from Rome, offers picture-perfect landscapes: the
promontory of Circeo, high on its spur, dominates over an open, blue sea, providing contrast with
kilometres of white-sand beach surrounded by dunes and Mediterranean maquis. Stretching in parallel
with the bay are four large coastal lakes (lakes Paola or Sabaudia, Caprolace, Monaci, and Fogliano),
characterizing the wild nature and atmosphere of Circeo National Park, of which Sabaudia is an integral
Immediately visible from the edge of the coastal road, this bay’s characteristic dunes and extra-fine white
sand give beachgoers an immediate sense of freedom. In peak periods, activity is all concentrated around
the beach, lined with exclusive tourism facilities, open-air restaurants, and splendid private villas with
access right onto the sea. Despite the numerous tourism establishments, the beach has maintained a rather
natural appearance; the sandy shore is large, and the orderly, non-intrusive establishments are
interspersed with several stretches of open beach. The large foreshore may be accessed by means of
wooden walkways that allow the Mediterranean maquis to be traversed while at the same time preserving
it from the impact of tourism.
Since it has no rocks, the sea is perfect for bathing and swimming; the wind and currents often favour the
formation of shoals near the shore, creating fun, natural pools for the youngest beachgoers. The beauty of
this place makes it one of Lazio’s most glamorous summer destinations, and during this season it fills with
noted show business figures, politicians, footballers, and directors, mingling with families and young people
out to get a tan. Alberto Moravia would stroll along these often solitary beaches, amid the greenery and
the blue sea, while Pasolini traversed them nervously, as he reflected upon this enchanting nature, which
stands in contrast with the rationalism of the surrounding urban environment towering over it and creating
a delightful combination.
The sea at San Felice Circeo
One the most beautiful beaches on the Pontine coastline may be found at San Felice Circeo. The ancient
Circei, the town of about 9,000 inhabitants in the province of Latina is part of the Circeo National Park,
established in 1934. Famous among tourists, the beach facility extends mostly in the lower portion (called
“Cona”) and along the coastal plane.
Several kilometres in length, the shoreline is marked by low, sandy stretches alternating with higher and
rockier sections. It is surrounded by thriving Mediterranean maquis – an element characteristic of many
beaches on the Italian peninsula – fan palm, and tourism facilities.
With its soft, fine, and golden sand, the beach is in various places equipped with beach chairs and
umbrellas, offering a wealth of services and comforts; it is easy to reach, and winds provide opportunities
for numerous sports, including windsurfing, surfing, and kitesurfing, as well as sailing and scuba diving.
Scuba divers can discover Circeo’s evocative submerged Christ. The crystal-clear, blue sea, its sandy and
downward-sloping bottoms perfect for safe swimming, received 2010 FEE Blue Flag honours. The town has
a variety of top-level hotels and accommodation facilities. And tourists visiting San Felice Circeo can enjoy
the enormous array of opportunities offered by the sea, night clubs, restaurants, and the Circeo Park.
The town’s historic centre is home to many elegant shopping establishments. In the midst of it all is the
thirteenth-century Torre dei Templari and the Baronial Palace, or Palazzo Caetani, once home to Lucrezia
Borgia and Prince Poniatowski, and now city hall.
A convenient road leads to the summit of Monte Circeo, for a beautiful view towards the Pontine Islands
and Terracina. This area boasts a variety of scenic paths and itineraries popular with those who prefer
walking and hiking.
The sea of Terracina
Terracina is one of the largest cities on the Pontine coastline. Dominated by the evocative Temple of Jupiter
Anxur, which has towered over the city beneath since the second century AD, Terracina boasts about 6 km
of shoreline, with a wealth of beach facilities equipped with the finest services.
Every year, the long, marvellous beach attracts visitors from every part of Italy and around the world,
winding several kilometres to the north up to the promontory of San Felice Circeo, home to thepark by that
name, and south to Gaeta, passing through Lake Fondi, Sperlonga, and on toFormia. Terracina’s shoreline is
flanked by towering palm trees, giving the landscape that exotic touch.
In recent years, hospitality services have seen great development: hotels, restaurants, discos, and
entertainment establishments. The seaport across from the historic town centre, built by Roman Emperor
Trajan, is linked to Ponza and Ventotene by motor vessels plying the route year round. The same port is
home to a considerable number of fishing boats supplying the town markets with fresh fish every day.