In July two very good friends from Cardiff, Kay and Elsie, came to visit us. During their stay we decided to take them to the seaside town of Terracina which is 35 km from “Tre Cancelle”. As it was a Thursday we headed first to the enormous general market, on Viale Europa, which runs parallel with the seafront – there were so many stalls selling a whole array of goods, they seemed to go on forever.
Having “shopped ‘til we dropped” and having worked up a good appetite we went in search of a place to have lunch, which had been recommended to us several times by friends.
On the Terracina quayside there are a number of fishing co-operatives which sell fresh fish, straight off the boats.
Some of these establishments also have simple little eating places attached. We went to the Cooperativa La Sirena, which is a delightfully simple self-service restaurant where a wide variety of typical fish and seafood based dishes are daily loving prepared.
The cheery helpful staff instructed us to take a tray and proceeded to help guide us through the wonderful range of fishy delights on offer. Our selections included a salad of calamari, swordfish steak, fried mixed seafood, grilled squid and prawns. We found the prices to be remarkably reasonable.
We munched the tasty fare “al fresco” gazing out over the fishing boats in the harbour.
Feeling suitably replenished we next drove up to Terracina’s old historic centre which is located in the upper section of the town. Here is the ornate 11th century Cathedral of San Pietro e San Cesareo, with its elegant tall bell-tower made of intricate brickwork and decorated with brightly coloured discs of majolica.
Here, by chance, we bumped into an old friend, Luigi.
We strolled together along an original section of the ancient Roman Via Appia (the Appian Way) where there are several interesting Roman ruins including the remains of an ancient Roman Forum.
Luigi knows a great deal about the history of the city, and he explained that the Town Hall currently have something of a dilemma as archaeologists have discovered traces of yet more important Roman remains laying under certain historic medieval structures. Indeed, Terracina could be likened to an onion, where its countless layers of historical past can slowly be peeled back, piece by piece.
It was a pleasure to explore the old town on foot, browsing in the tiny shops, wandering through the narrow streets, discovering items of interest around each and every corner.
Leaving Luigi to get back to work, we then drove further uphill along the road that leads up to Monte San Angelo and the impressive remains of the Temple of Jupiter Anxur. This imposing edifice was constructed by the Romans in the year 1 BC.
It was a very hot afternoon, and in dire need of cooling refreshments we stopped at the “Piano Bar” and sat on the terrace indulging ourselves with some delicious refreshing gelati.
On a clear day, from the Temple, there are panoramic views of the Terracina: of the old town, the newer section of town with its lively fashionable shopping centre, the harbour, the long promenade and sandy beaches that stretch for miles along the Riviera di Ulisses. In the distance can be seen the mountainous headland of San Felice Circeo and out to sea – the Pontine Islands.
Terracina has so much to offer – We would highly recommend a visit.
For more information about Terracina please see our Terracina webpages:
All other photos by me © Louise Shapcott