239 – November in Sperlonga

When friends come and visit we usually take them for a little run in the car to show them around our local area of South Lazio.

In November our friend Annette and her friend Sarah came to stay with us at Tre Cancelle for a few days.

The girls at the Cafe Centrale in Itri – Hot chocolate so thick you need a spoon.

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The weather was still calm and very mild, so we of course took them for a snack lunch to the Miramare at Sant’Agostino beach.

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Sarah and Annette

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Sarah, Paul and Annette

Then on to Sperlonga which can be very beautiful at this time of year.

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The Torre Truglia.

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The harbour.

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Sarah and Annette

View of Sperlonga’s Ponente Beach.

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View of Levante Beach.

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The Grotto of Emperor Tiberius.

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A square in the old historic centre.

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Wandering through Sperlonga’s maze of little alleyways. There is something to see around every corner.

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A wedding in Sperlonga.

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Sperlonga sunsets.

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Sunset over San Felice Circeo.

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Come Discover Beautiful Sperlonga !!!

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#sperlonga #italy #SouthLazio #beaches #

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Holiday Apartments Near Sperlonga and Itri

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238 – Elsie’s Birthday

The day after we got back from our trip to Tuscany and Umbria was Elsie’s birthday, which she usually likes to celebrate with us in Italy.  It was another beautifully warm and sunny day so we all headed for lunch at the Miramare down by Sant’Agostino beach, between Sperlonga and Gaeta.

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The birthday girl Elsie

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Kay

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Laurie

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Lora and La Dolce Vita !

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Lora

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Lora collecting shells

That evening more friends were flying over to stay with us and help celebrate Elsie’s birthday. So that evening we all went for a meal at the Bellavista in Itri.

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Paul, Amanda, Patrizia, Elsie and Andrea

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Patrizia and Elsie

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Andrea and Kay

On evening before Lora and Laurie were due to depart for Rome Pat and Melinda invited us to join them for a meal at a restaurant near Castelforte called Terra di Briganti. This was our first visit to this eating establishment.

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Lora, Melinda, Andrea and Amanda

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Paul, Laurie, Lora and Melinda

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Amanda, Elsie, Kay and Pat

We were impressed by the food served and the prices were quite reasonable. I do believe we will return again one day soon.

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Pat chose a buffalo steak from the menu. He highly recommends it.

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Sadly soon it was time to say goodbye to our American friends Lora and Laurie as they were going to spend a couple of days in Rome before winging their way back to Wisconsin.

A last picture of all us girls together.

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Laurie, Lora, Kay, Andrea, Elsie, Amanda, Louise

We so enjoyed their company and I enjoyed our trips to Herculaneum, Sorrento, Pisa, Cortona and Assisi.   Thank you so much for coming to help celebrate my milestone birthday. I dream of coming to visit you in Wisconsin one day.  Ciao for now !!!

#birthday #italy #Buffalo Steak #SantAgostinoBeach

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Holiday Apartments

 

195 – Elsie’s Special Birthday

In November, to celebrate Elsie’s milestone birthday, Elsie, Kay and another friend Brenda decided to take a few days holiday in Sicily, a place Elsie had always longed to visit.  They rented a small apartment in the centre of Palermo and experienced first hand Sicilian life in this hectic city. On Elsie’s birthday Kay organised a sight seeing trip in a traditional horse drawn carriage, followed by a special meal.

Horse drawn carriage Palermo Sicily Italy

Birthday in Palermo Sicily Italy

Palermo Sicily Italy

Palermo Sicily Italy

Park in Palermo Sicily Italy

Park in Palermo Sicily Italy

Palermo Sicily Italy

Evening in Palermo Sicily Italy

They also managed to fit in a day trip to the seaside resort of Cefalù.

lthough it was November the weather was beautifully warm and Brenda was able to have a paddle in the sea.

Beach at Cefalù Sicily Italy

Beach at Cefalù Sicily Italy

Harbour at Cefalù Sicily Italy

Fish Market in Sicily Italy

Meanwhile back in Itri I was busy preparing a surprise birthday party for Elsie at the Bellavista restaurant with some live music by our friends Santo and Anna.

Elsie was really shocked as she entered the room as assembled were many of our friends from Itri and some other American friends from Minturno.

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Florisa and I had baked a special cake.

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

The next day was to be my friend Florisa’s birthday, so after midnight we celebrated hers too.

Birthday at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Thanks to everyone for making it such a memorable joyous occasion.

Photos by Kay McRobbie

#birthdayparty #bellavista #itri #pizzeria #restaurant

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

183 – Aussie Cousins Come To Visit

It was an absolute delight to have my cousins Cathy and Jeff come and stay with us during the month of June. They had left Australia to visit family in the UK and spend to some time in Wales, a place Cathy loves dearly, where her parents were both born.  Then prior to coming to us they had spent a couple of weeks on a farm in Umbria visiting old friends and helping to look after their flock of sheep.  When they arrived here at Tre Cancelle they came with a wonderful Peccorino cheese which was utterly delicious.

It had been 16  long years since we had seen Cathy.  These photos were taken on her last visit with her mother. Sadly Aunty Betty is now is in her 90’s and in a nursing home.

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Aunty Betty and Cathy on their last visit

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Cathy doing her Boadicea impression !!!

However it seemed like no time had passed at all as we all got on so well.  Their visit coincided with that of our most frequent visitors, namely Kay and Elsie who are  always good fun to be around.

My Aunty Betty and Uncle John had decided to emigrate to Australia in the 1960’s at the time when there was a scheme which encouraged the British to relocate to Australia.  They were enticed by promises of employment and housing, a more relaxed lifestyle and a better climate.  For the assisted passage adults had to pay just £10 each and children traveled for free.  Such families became known as the “ten pound poms”.   

I can remember that they came to stay with us at Woodside before the set off on their new adventure.

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Andrew, me Louise and Cathy

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Cathy, Andrew and me Louise

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Me Louise, Cathy, Andrew

What an incredible experience it must have been for my cousins travelling around the world by ship. 

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ten pound poms emigration to australia

The family eventually settled in Melbourne and there they made a good life for themselves.

So, back to the present …………..

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Cathy

Cathy is a superb cook and was keen to get into the kitchen. 

Italian Chargrilled vegetables

She produced the most wonderful vegetable lasagne that I have ever tasted.  “Delizioso !!!” “Squisito !!!”  “Brava!!!”

Vegetable Lasagna

Indeed we enjoyed some wonderful meals together out on the terrace “al fresco”.

Tre Cancelle meals

Tre Cancelle meals

Jeff is a very talented artist and he took me and Elsie up to the Bellavista, where there is a marvellous view of Itri and its ancient castle, to do some sketching – it was really enjoyable.

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This is Jeff’s finished sketch.  Just Beautiful !!!

Sketch of Itri Castle Latina South Lazio Italy

Artist at Tre Cancelle

 This is another that he did of the view from our terrace.

Sketch of Olive Groves Tre Cancelle Italy

Cathy and Jeff, Kay and Elsie kindly helped us around the place, weeding and watering the veggie patch, even helping to bath some of the dogs.

Bathing dogs at Tre Cancelle Italy

One day we drove down to the nearby coastline and we showed them some of the wonderous delights that  Sperlonga offers.  This is one of my favourite places and I always make sure I have my camera at the ready.

Looking down to the Grotto of Tiberius

and the Roman excavations and Museum.

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Sperlonga Blue sea

Sperlonga’s beautiful sandy Levante Beach

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Sperlonga Levante Beach Latina South Lazio Italy

Sperlonga Levante Beach Latina South Lazio Italy

We came across a newly wedded couple who were having their photos taken in the romantic setting of the old town.

“Che principessa !!!”

Sperlonga Wedding Italy

Sperlonga Wedding Italy

Old Sperlonga in Latina South Lazio Italy

Sperlonga Latina South Lazio Italy

Window in Sperlonga Latina South Lazio Italy

Bicycle in Sperlonga Latina South Lazio Italy

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One evening we all went out to our preferred little restaurant that is tucked away in Campodimele – The “Casareccia”. 

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Elsie and cousin “Caterina”

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Me, Paul and Kay

Maria’s dishes never fail to satisfy us.

La Casareccia Campodimele Latina South Lazio Italy

La Casareccia Campodimele Latina South Lazio Italy

La Casareccia Campodimele Chocolate Dessert

La Casareccia Campodimele Fresh Fruit Salad

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Jeff

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Bella “Caterina”

So Cathy and Jeff, please don’t leave it another 16 years before we get to see you again. 

We really hope it will be much sooner than that !!!

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#emigration #australia #TenPoundPoms #casareccia #campodimele

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

158 – Gentle Strolls Along Local Stunning Beaches

One lunchtime Kay and I we drove down towards Gaeta to Sant’Agostino beach, which is situated on the Via Flacca between Gaeta and Sperlonga.  There is a simple restaurant there that overlooks the beach, the Miramare, that we often frequent.  We were greatly disappointed that it was closed on this occasion, so we drove on towards Sperlonga and parked in the parking area near Levante beach. We took a lovely stroll along the golden sands in the direction of the little harbour.

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The beach was practically deserted, despite the beautifully warm and sunny May weather.

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Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live near to the stunningly beautiful coastline of the Riviera Di Ulisse.

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The harbour and Torre Truglia.

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We found a lovely little bar on the harbourside called “Il Porticello” where we had a lovely lunch of Insalata Caprese  a simple but very tasty salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil.

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Another day we returned to the “Miramare” at Sant’Agostino, this time we were more lucky. Our table was outside overlooking the beach, we had a lovely lunch – Kay had another Caprese salad and I had crispy deep-fried  seafood. Scrummy !!!

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We then went for an afternoon stroll to help work off our lunch.  

Sant’Agostino is a 2 km stretch of golden sandy beach and is very popular with Italians from Rome and Naples, especially during the month of August.  Originally here there were just sand dunes but now there are various small restaurants and bars dotted along the way, and although there are some bathing establishments on the whole it is a free beach.

One end is still guarded by an ancient watch tower, one of many such fortifications built along the coastline to guard against marauding Saracen pirates.  

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At the opposite end you can see one of the several road tunnels that run along the coast, and the remains of the ancient Roman Via Flacca.

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It was a perfect day for taking photos  ….

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All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

 

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

149 – Aneurin’s First Visit To “Bella Italia”

In October we were delighted to welcome our youngest grandson Aneurin and his mummy Emma, who came for a 2 week visit.  The weather was still beautifully warm and sunny for much of their stay, which was perfect for several days out at Sant’Agostino beach, situated midway between Sperlonga and Gaeta.  As you can see, we had the beach practically to ourselves.

The Riviera D’Ulisse or Costa Pontina in South Lazio – this beautiful coastline, with its golden sandy beaches, is still largely undiscovered by international tourists.  It is extremely popular with Italian visitors from Rome and Naples, 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 this area reverts to a sleepy, peaceful setting for a relaxing Italian holiday.

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The safe sandy beach was an absolute delight for a fearless energetic 2 year old !!!

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Aneurin really enjoyed the freedom of  the wide open spaces and olive groves around “Tre Cancelle”

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and we dug out the old train set from the loft, which went down very well !!!

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One evening we went to our friends’ restaurant – the Bellavista in Itri, run by Giancarlo and Massimo. Here Massimo gave Aneurin and Emma a lesson in making pizza.

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We all, including Aneurin, very much enjoyed our pizzas !!!

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Giancarlo has a little girl just a few months older than Aneurin.

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It was so lovely to see them interacting. It was clear that Chiara had taken quite a shine to Aneurin.

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Thanks to all at the Bellavista for a lovely rememberable evening !!!

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

134 – A Well Earned Day Off

The following day the “Welsh Girls” deserved a well earned day off. 

We thought that they could benefit from some retail therapy, so with it being a Wednesday, we took them to the colourful Gaeta market.  Here there is an array of stalls selling almost everything under the sun. 

The girls made some new friends.

This included the 7ft tall Moustapha from Senegal who runs an stall selling handbags.

Moustapha and Kay

Moustapha and Elsie

Moustapha and Karen

Mooustapha and Sylvia

Elsie, Kay, Moustapha, Sylvia, Karen

We then proceeded along the coast road to Sant’ Agostino beach, midway between Gaeta and Sperlonga.  and had a snack lunch at one of our favourite little haunts, the Miramare.  Outside tables look directly onto the beach.  It was a beautifully day and we all enjoyed the warm rays of the sun.

Kay, Sylvia, Karen, Elsie, Paul, Louise

Kay and Elsie

Sylvia and Karen

Karen and Kay

We then drove on to Sperlonga, where we showed them delights of this magical little town. 

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Kay and Elsie

Sylvia and Elsie

Elsie, Kay, Sylvia, Karen in Sperlonga

Elsie, Kay, Sylvia, Karen in Sperlonga

All in all … a very beautiful day !!!

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

129 – One of Those Days

Changeover days are always busy days for us. On one such day, Paul came bounding down the outside staircase in his usual carefree manner, only to lose his footing off the very last step, landing awkwardly on the side of his foot – A truly “Oh Dear, Oh Bother” moment. !!! The discomfort was intense and forced Paul to sit on the ground in an effort to recover his composure.  It was immediately apparent that he had made a “really good job” of this.  Eventually he managed to hop over to the caravan to try and rest for a while, hoping that the pain would subside.

Meanwhile I began to run around like a mad thing in order to get the upstairs apartment ready for our next visitor, Diana, an old pen-friend and fellow Shapcott family researcher from Australia, who we expected to arrive around lunchtime.  She was travelling down from Rome by train, and we were to meet her at the station on her arrival.

Feeling slightly better, Paul tried his best to help me but was finding it very hard to put any weight on his ankle. By lunchtime we finally managed to get everything ship shape for our guest’s arrival, and decided to nip down to Itri to buy some provisions for lunch.

However somehow in the chaos we realised that one of our mobile phones had been left downstairs in the old cisterna, and when we went down to retrieve it we discovered, to our dismay, there was a  messages and a missed calls from Diana, indicating that she was due to arrive at 11.09 at Itri Station. In great haste we sped off to the station, which is situated a couple of kilometres out of Itri itself. A series of further messages arrived, saying that she had arrived at the station, and that she was still waiting at the station.  We immediately tried to phone her only to find that her phone was switched off. Almost immediately one of our phones ran out of battery.  On arriving at the station, it soon became clear that there was no sign of Diana, and we were left deliberating  as to what we should do next.

Then, mercifully, we received a phone call from a friend in Itri, saying that there was an unfortunate foreign lady with a suitcase, waiting in the square in Itri, desperately hoping to find us. It seems that after waiting at the station for a couple of hours, feeling totally abandoned, poor Diana, who doesn’t speak any Italian,  had managed to accost an obliging elderly local to hitch a lift into the centre of Itri. We headed back into Itri and there in the square was a destitute Diana, patiently waiting for us . The look of relief on her face was immediately evident.  I don’t think Diana will forget the experience readily !!!  Sorry Diana !!!

 

After profuse apologies on our part, we bundled into the car and returned to Tre Cancelle, where over a soothing cup of tea Diana recounted her misadventure.  We then drove down to Sant’Agostino beach for a spot of lunch in an establishment overlooking the sea. Although we had only corresponded with Diana via the internet, we soon felt like true old friends, finding that we have so many things in common.

 

Meanwhile, having got Diana comfortably installed at “Tre Cancelle”, we thought it best to seek some medical advice from our local friendly pharmacist, who in turn strongly recommended that we went to the A & E in Formia’s hospital for an X-ray.  Thankfully, despite a 3 hour wait, the X-ray showed that nothing was broken, however the doctor recommended a return visit  the  following morning to an orthopaedic clinic to allow the experts to asses any muscle or tendon damage.  So early next morning Paul drove back to the hospital, and to his surprise soon found the damaged ankle held immovable by a plaster cast from knee to toe.  This of course meant that Paul could not drive.

 

Paul on Mum’s old zimmer frame !!!

Up until this point I had not felt confident enough to drive much in Italy, however with Paul incapacitated,  through necessity this was to be my baptism of fire !!!  That evening we had arranged to meet up with friends in Gaeta for a pizza, so we decided to leave early and take Diana for a quick tour of the old town.  To my dismay we found that the traffic was busier than I had expected, with cars and scooters weaving frantically around each other and double parked at the side of the road. However all went pretty well, I managed to park and we enjoyed supper. There was, however, one hairy moment when we were pulled over by the Carabinieri in Itri to be informed that one of our headlights was not working.  Thankfully they soon waved us on and I managed to get us all back home safely, where I soon treated myself to a stiff drink.

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

 

101 – Stunning Sperlonga

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

New Video about Itri and Sperlonga and our “Tre Cancelle” Farmhouse Holiday Apartments

Here we are on Trip Advisor – Please do read our Reviews

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

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