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

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

154 – Gaeta Yacht Med Festival 2013

In April Paul needed to go back to the UK to renew his passport, and to spend a week of quality time with his Dad.  So we asked our good friend Kay if she would like to come over to Italy to help and keep me company during Paul’s absence.  In fact we talked Kay into coming for 2 whole months !!!

On the first Sunday of Kay’s stay we all drove down to the seaside at Gaeta, to have a look around at the Yacht Med Festival that was being held there.

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Along the sea front there were many stalls promoting all things maritime and nautical. Of course there was an array of classy boats on show, with prices to match !!!

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There was also a very large model of  John Cabot’s sailing ship, it is believed that he was born in Gaeta, and the long road along the sea front bears his name – Lungomare di Giovanni Caboto.

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From here we watched two impressive teams of fit youngsters, ten per boat, taking part in a rowing competition, all skilfully sculling in unison to power the boats along at a fair rate of knots.

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There were other exhibition stalls,  some dedicated to tourism, nature and the local regional parks such as the Riviera di Ulisse and the parks of the  Aurunci and Ausoni Mountains.

You can see here how the beautiful Aurunci Mountains tumble down to meet the sea in the gulf of Gaeta.

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Some more of the stalls …… Wildlife

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Colourful ceramics

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Local crafts

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Stramme work

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Finally some music started up and several troops of young colourful majorettes performed their energetic twirling routines to the delight of the crowds.

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The tiny tots were really cute !!!

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All photos by me !!! © Louise Shapcott

You can read more about Gaeta at my South Lazio Website

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

98 – Formia Festa Di San Giovanni Battista

On the 24th June we were very kindly invited to lunch by Filippo’s family in Formia and to watch the procession and celebrations of the feast day of Saint John The Baptist.  San Giovanni Battista is Formia’s co-patron saint, along with Sant’ Erasmo who’s feast is celebrated on the 2nd June. The annual celebrations are normally spread over a three day period between the  23rd and 25th of June and consist of various  religious processions throughout the streets of the city. One, held on the evening of the 23rd makes its way  down to the waterfront area known as La Mola, where there is a 13thcentury cylindrical tower . This was constructed to guard various water mills in that vicinity that were used to grind grain, and from which it derives its name.  Here the priest carries out a special blessing of the local fishermen and their vessels.

On the day of our visit we met up with our friends Pauline and Filippo in the centre of Formia.

The main street of Via Vitruvio was lined with copious stalls selling sweets and confectionery, toys and balloons and there was a lively atmosphere in eager anticipation of the main procession. We began to make our way down towards the harbour to find a good position to watch the spectacle.  Proceeded by a band, the long solemn reverent procession gradually wound its way through the streets, the two statues of Sant’ Erasmo and San Giovanni, were carried aloft by some of the local men of Formia, on ornately carved and guilded platforms. Near the harbour, at the Molo Azzurra, prayers were recited and hymns of thanksgiving were offered in praise of the saints.

The procession then continued along the quayside before the statues were carefully transported onto a waiting barge.

Accompanied by a cocophany of ships hooters, horns and claxons the vessel set off on a tour around the harbour, followed by a flotilla of other colourful smaller craft. A red fire-fighting boat of the Vigili del Fuoco sprayed plumes of sea water into the air.  A large wreath of laurel leaves was then cast into the harbour in memory of those lost at sea.

The event culminated in a ear splitting display  of daytime fireworks from the far harbour wall. Huge rockets were fired into the sky, each emitting a low thud, a trail of silvery stars,  a small puff of white smoke, swiftly followed by a massive deafening detonation, like a sonic boom, accompanied by its reverberating pressure wave.  The astounding  extravaganza was seemingly never ending.  Here is a You Tube Video of the proceedings by “ReporterMarco”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xp214FVLeA&feature=channel

We then realised we were going to be late for lunch so hurried our way back into the centre of town to our friends’ family apartment. Filippo’s  elderly mother, and his three sisters, namely Rosa, Patrizia and Pompea,  had prepared an exquisite  homemade seafood risotto, some delicious fresh prawns with a salad, followed by a selection of fresh fruit.

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The family were also celebrating the birthday of Giancarlo with a bubbly toast of Prosecco and some delicious Italian pastries.

Suddenly the focus changed from wonderful fare on the table to the TV in the corner, as the Italian National Squad were playing a match in the World Cup.  As usual there was a vociferous mixture of opinions as to how good the current national side was and how they might progress in this latest match. Having performed poorly in previous matches a feeling of impending doom was prevalent.

Before long Italy went a goal behind to a chorus of moans a groans, muted swear words and of course much gesticulation towards the television.  The gestures got increasingly animated as technical transmission problems became apparent  as the picture kept breaking up on the screen,  probably due to the sheer volume of people who were trying to watch the match !!!

With the score standing at 2-1 to Slovakia the screen froze again just as it  appeared that Italy had managed to equalise, which was confirmed by the cheering and hooting from the street and surrounding apartment windows.  However the joy was short-lived because not only had the Italian goal been disallowed, but by the time the picture finally returned Slovakia had scored and the score now rested at 3-1.  Before very long  the TV transmission packed up  all together, and our friends then gathered around the radio in the kitchen to try and follow the commentary of the game.   Nine minutes from time Italy managed to score a goal,  but it was too late to save the reigning champions from being knocked out with the final score at 3-2.

“Oddio, che scema proprio !!!”

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In the evening there were further celebrations in Formia with musical concerts, a funfair and yet another spectacular firework display at midnight from the harbour. Here’s another You Tube Video by “ReporterMarco”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO_SqQyYmTw

You can read more about the interesting seaside town of Formia

at our  South Lazio Website:

http://formia.shapcott-family.com

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

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