In this section we would like to suggest a visit to the most beautiful cities of our district, indicating a perfect archaeological and naturalistic route for each city.
Exuberant coastal city with a bit more than 20.000 inhabitants, Gaeta rises on a peninsula outstretched over the homonymous gulf.
Gaeta presents two historic centres: the first one consists of the Saint Erasmo’s medieval district, stronghold of the Kingdom of Naples and refuge of Popes, the second one, Porto Salvo, also known as Il Borgo, originally populated by fishermen, it’s now characterized by several alleys interwoven with the central “Via Indipendenza”.
Beaches are particularly appreciated and very popular. Starting from Serapo Beach, they run from several kilometers towards Sperlonga, offering undeniable beautiful landscapes.
Built for the first time in 1222, the church of S.Francesco was completely restored in Neolithic style in the second half of 1850. The building is located on the slope of Mount Orlando facing the Gulf of Gaeta, in a dominant position over the historic centre of the city.
About 100 km from Rome, San Felice Circeo, a small characteristic historical centre, built around the 13th-century tower “Torre dei Templari” and the “Palazzo Baronale” overlooking Piazzetta Lanzuisi is one of the thriving seaside nightlife centres, particularly in summer with bars and local venues, boutiques and shops.
Legend says that here stayed Ulysses, attracted by the Witch Circe.
San Felice Circeo is situated within the forest area of “Parco Nazionale del Circeo”, inside which stands out the “Promontorio del Circeo”, a 541 meters high limestone relief, icon of the entire area.
Among the natural cavities object of discoveries of Neanderthal era, the one with the most scientific importance is “Grotta Guettari”, brought to light in 1939, after being buried by a landslide which sealed the main entrance 53.000 years ago. Inside the cavity was found the first whole Neanderhal man head.
The City of Fondi has an ancient history, beginning with early settlements about 1000 BC: later the area was settled by the Italic tribes of Aurunci and, then the Volsci. According to the legend, it would have been founded by Hercules in memory of the killing of Cacus.
On arrival in Fondi, you must stop to have a look around the side streets of the Giudea Quarter before visiting the impressive Castle. According to the legend, the beautiful princess Giulia Gonzaga managed to escape through the subway of the castle when the corsar Barbarossa tried to kidnap her in order to give her as a present to Solimano.
The Castle is the most characteristic monument of the city and is thought to have been built by Roffredo Gaetani in the decade 1319-1329. It consists of a building 39 meters long and has the ground floor and the second floor with three towers incorporated in the three corners intended for defense. According to the legend, the dungeon of Castello Caetani offered a precious escape route to the beautiful princess Giulia Gonzaga, when the corsair Barbarossa tried to kidnap her to give her to Suleiman. Credits AA.VV. (2006). Guide to the city of Terracina. Gescom. Terracina. & cittadifondi.it
Founded in 1933, Sabaudia has kept undamaged the key landmarks of the city, and the charm of airy, balanced architectures, recognizable, pleasing to the eye, designed around arcaded squares, heart of civil life: the “Palazzo Comunale”, the 46 meters high “Torre Civica”, the “Casa del Combattente”, the after-work café and theatre, the market hall and the “Palazzo delle Poste”.
Sabaudia represents a special witness of the relationship between urban heart and nature. Just out of the Old Town, a single glance embraces the relaxing waters of Lago di Paola, with its branches rich in vegetation that host herons and egrets.
Then the sea, the green everywhere and the imposing “Promontorio del Circeo”, almost an island with a woman profile, the legendary Circe, the enchantress witch that enchanted Ulysses.
The Pontine Promenade separates Lago di Paola from the sea and it is bordered with a dune covered with Mediterranean scrub, sea lilies and Carpobrotus. In the part closest to “Promontorio del Circeo”,
the dune is occupied by beautiful villas that look like Greek temples or Santorini’s houses; the closer you get to Sabaudia the wilder the dune becomes.
Ponza, the most important island of the Pontine Archipelago, is an island of prehistorical origin.
Romans built beautiful buildings and left the precious archaeological patrmony that we find today, even though the top of its splendour was reached in the Middle Ages when Ponza became a flourishing commercial emporium, thanks to the Benedectine monks.
The island is of volcanic origin, very rocky and rugged and you come upon many caves and inlets: the most famous being Cala Inferno, Cala Feola and Cala Fonte. Enclosed in a characteristic and fascinating basin, you find the beach of Chiaia di Luna, a must for the lovers of water-sports and underwater diving.
These caves of the Roman era were fish farms where they bred mainly moray eels, which is why they are also called Murenai. The various tanks are connected to each other through underground channels, carved to the south-east of the port. Above the fish ponds there was a beautiful Roman villa built by Emperor Augustus. In 1997 was found a marble statue of Roman times along with some oil lamps. The caves of Pilato can be visited only by sea.
The Abbey of Fossanova was the first example of Gothic-Cistercian architecture and it was originally of the Benedictine order and entrusted to the Cistercian monks in 1135. Over the centuries many famous people have stayed here, Pope Innocenzo III and Saint Thomas D’Aquinus to name a few. The visit to the Church is a very exciting one, but we recommend a stroll through the other areas of the complex: the Cloisters, the Refectory, the capitulary Hall, the Dormitory, the WIng of the Lay-brothers, the Kitchen and the Guestrooms, all reflecting the austere lives of the monks that were totally dedicated to sacrifice and prayer.