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you are here: Home Latium Circeo, Pontine Islands and Gulf of Gaeta Sperlonga

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Sperlonga

Description

Sperlonga (from the Latin "spelunca", or "cave") is a beautiful seaside resort in the province of Latina, already known to the ancient Roman patricians who built several residential villas here. Perched on Mount San Magno, one of the foothills of the mountain range of Ausoni, the origins of this picturesque fishing village lost in the myth: according to some legends, in fact, near Sperlonga once stood the city of Amyclae, founded by the Spartans. In Roman times, the beautiful beaches, crystal clear sea and beautiful caves led nobles and magistrates of the City to build their summer residences here, of which the best preserved is the Imperial villa of Tiberius. This area, however, did not guarantee a safe haven to people, especially during the frequent and bloody raids of the Saracens, which explains why they were abandoned around the X century, to seek better shelter in the higher areas. At the time, there are traces of a "castrum Speloncae", a castle surrounded by tall fortified walls. In 1379 the antipope Clement VII sheltered here, after the defeat of his army in the battle of Anagni. Between the XVI and XVII centuries, the town, devoted to fishing, was continually raided by Turkish pirates for food supplies.
Sites of Interest:
- the picturesque Old Town centre, with whitewashed houses of typical Mediterranean appearance;
- Villa di Tiberio, the Imperial residence, which extends over three hundred meters along the beach and incorporates, in addition to the living and service areas, a thermal plant, fresh water supply tanks, a private dock and a salt water fish farm. Excavations have brought to the light, several decorations and marble statues, inspired the story of Ulysses, now on display at the local Archaeological Museum;
- Porta Carrese and Porta Marina, the only gateway entrances into the town in medieval times;
- the coastal watch towers (Torre Truglia, Torre Capovento e Torre Nibbio);
- the Church of Santa Maria di Spelonca, the area's oldest religious building, dating from the early XII century. It features a Latin Cross plan with frescos, depicted at the time of foundation;
- the Church of San Rocco (XV century);
- Palazzo Sabella, which hosted, in 1379, the antipope Clement VII, who had just escaped from Anagni.

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