Circeo and the Pontine islands
A national park created so as to protect the environment and the diverse landscapes within the Circeo
Half way between Anzio and Gaeta, Lazio's Circeo is an area home to beautiful beaches, ancient caves, lush woods and unforgettable islands.
Gaeta and Sperlonga
Positioned on the border between the bay with which it shares its name and the Circeo, Gaeta is known principally for its port. Testifying to the historical importance of the town, over the centuries Gaeta Castle, has been used as royal residence, army barracks, even prison.
We travel just a few kilometers beyond Gaeta and immediately find ourselves deep within the Circeo, in Sperlonga.
From Sperlonga, take a boat to the legendary Grotta di Tiberio to see the treasures left behind by the ancient Romans
The next part of our journey takes us to Terracina. Here too the splendid sea forms a rival attraction to the town, this latter home to the cathedral of San Cesario, complete with flight of steps, belonging to the Roman temple around which the cathedral was built, in the 12th century.
Not far from here, lies the Temple of Giove Anxur, place of worship dating back to the 1st century B.C, which more than merits a visit.
At San Felice Circeo we stroll through the characteristic historic center, which developed around the 13th century Torre dei Templari and the Palazzo Baronale.
At the feet of Monte Circeo, San Felice forms one of the gateways to the National Park of the Circeo and its fascinating series of Karst caves.
An absolute must for speleologists, the visit to the Grotta dei Guacceri is the equivalent to a journey back in time, to the period when area was inhabited by Neanderthal man
Close by, there is the Grotta della Maga Circe in which, legend has it, Ulysses let himself be ensnared by the sorceress Circe.
Sabuadia and Nettuno
Proceeding along the coast, we arrive in Sabaudia, the most glamorous of Circeo's seaside resorts, characterized by gorgeous beaches, secluded bays and a marvelous sea.
For nature lovers, just a few kilometers away, there are the Circeo's four coastal lakes, the most important of which is the Lago di Paola, a saltwater lake which attracts dozens of species of migratory birds.
Next stop, Nettuno: the origins of which are linked to the temple dedicated to Neptune, god of the sea. A well known sea resort, Nettuno boasts both a castle and, just a few kilometers from the center, another fortress.
Torre Astura was conceived as a watch tower and became, over the years, a fully blown castle connected to the mainland by a long wharf.
Anzio and the Pontine islands
The last part of our journey brings us to Anzio, the beaches of which greet tourists with a mixture of sea and ancient Roman ruins, the most important of which the Villa di Nerone, residence of the emperor who made Anzio an important port.
To this very day, life in Anzio still centers around its port from where each day the hydrofoils for the Pontine Islands and, in particular, the islands of Ponza and Ventotene, depart.
Much loved by scuba divers, the Pontine, or Ponziane, islands are divided in to two groups: that of Ponza, Palmarola, Zannone and Gavi; and, at a distance of circa 20 miles, Ventotene and Santo Stefano