We are so lucky here in Itri, to live so close to so many beautiful golden sandy beaches. Our favourite local sea-side town is Sperlonga, which is just 15 km / 9 or so miles from “Tre Cancelle” Farmhouse. The meandering road between Itri and Sperlonga leads through beautiful undulating countryside until you commence the winding descent down to the coast. Along the route there are a series of small lay-bys where you can pull in and pause to take in the breathtaking sea vistas.
And then you will get your first glimpse of the wonderfully picturesque Sperlonga …
We suggest that you first explore the old section of this historic town, its whitewashed houses are clustered around a precipitous rocky crag.
It is a delight to venture on foot, through the labyrinth of narrow, winding, cobblestone alleys, stone archways and long winding staircases which meander through the old medieval town. Some steps lead steeply downwards to the sea or out onto unexpected courtyards and view points, revealing stunning sea views, indeed, there is something to be discovered around every corner.
Delightful “piazzettas” are surrounded by little shops, trendy boutiques, restaurants and bars, where you can rest, whilst sipping an ice cold beer or enjoying a delicious gelato, whilst soaking up in the Mediterranean atmosphere.
This enchanting medieval town once served as a place of refuge from attacking seafaring raiders including the Saracens and later in 1534 by Khayr-al-Din (also known as “Red Beard” or “Barbarossa”) who sacked the town.
Therefore, a defence system was constructed, consisting of numerous watch towers along the coast. The Torre Truglia, positioned on a rocky spit still dominates the entrance to Sperlonga’s small, but colourful harbour.
Beyond Sperlonga, the expanse of pale, golden beaches and sand dunes reach as far as the eye can see, until it finally joins the next coastal resort of Terracina, and even beyond to the headland of San Felice Circeo. To the north of Sperlonga’s headland lies the lower and more modern section of the town, with several hotels and a well developed beach.
To the South, beyond the harbour extends the Riviera di Levante. Here the Aurunci Mountains come down to the shore, and trees and greenery line the coast. Most of the beach is taken up with Lido beach establishments, where you can pay to use the facilities, such as comfortable sunbeds, parasols, showers and changing facilities, and enjoy refreshments from the bar. However there are also ample stretches of spiaggia libera, “free beach”, where you can sunbathe for free, swim and stroll along splashing in the gentle waves. Sperlonga’s beaches are credited as being the best to be found North of Naples and South of Rome. The sparkling, clear waters have been awarded the prestigious European Blue Flag for several years running. The sea bathing is generally safe, especially for children, because the water remains shallow for tens of metres from the shoreline, with a soft sandy bottom. Our two grandchildren absolutely love it.
This fashionable little town of Sperlonga is extremely popular with Italian visitors from the city of Rome, particularly during the month of August, or on sunny summer weekends, when they flock to the seaside to escape the city heat. However out of season, Sperlonga reverts to a
Sleepy Peaceful Setting for a Relaxing Italian Holiday.
In our opinion, the best times to visit the beaches are between April and June and between September and October, when the weather is generally pleasantly warm and the beaches are almost deserted.
So, if you fancy a little break in South Lazio, Italy …
please do take a look at our
All photos by me © Louise Shapcott