Monday, July 14, 2008

Rome off the Tourist Track – A day trip to a Sperlonga, a medieval beach town.

Last Saturday I took a day trip to this very nice beach. To reach Sperlonga take a train from Termini to the Fondi station (don’t forget to validate your ticket in the yellow box on the platform). Takes about an hour and cost 6.20 euros one way. From the station a local bus goes to the town. It’s about a 10-15 minute ride. Cost is one euro and you pay the driver.

I took the bus to the top of the medieval village then walked down to the beach. The old town is a must see. White houses cling to the rocks with incredible views. There are new homes and condos in the flats of Sperlonga.

Emperor Tiberius built his holiday residence here. There are ruins, grottos and a small museum. I would like to see those on my next trip.

The beach has some of the cleanest and clearest water in the region. I paid 20 euros for a chair and umbrella and had a cheap (but good) sandwich for lunch. Later when waiting for the bus I went to the local gelato shop and had a kick ass cherry granita.

The beach scene here is very family orientated. It's smack in the middle between and Rome and Naples. There were hardly any Americans and many of the few tourists were German. I was talking to an American couple who have been coming to Sperlonga for years. There was a group of American, French, Swiss and Italian students standing near us on the platform. The husband said it’s the most Americans he’s seen at the beach. I don’t know why this beach isn’t better known. It’s easier to get to than Positano and the water is spectacular. Maybe it’s too sleepy? There are a few restaurants but I don’t think there are any clubs.

If you are visiting Rome and want to hit the beach, I think it’s worth the time to check out Sperlonga. Ostia traffic is a nightmare. If you are going to be stuck in car traffic for an hour, why not take the train for an hour and go a beach with much nice water? Of course both beaches will be really packed during August.

Here is more info on Sperlonga

More photos on my Flickr page.

A shot of the village from the beach


The little piazza at the bottom of the hill. There was a cute one at the top as well but it was full with people that morning. I didn’t feel comfortable asking the older gentlemen sitting on the bench chitchatting if I could take their picture.


I walling down some winding steps in the old village and thought this ceiling was striking..


A view from the top.

24 comments:

KC said...

I love Sperlonga. I live about an hour south, and it's where we go to the beach. Great photos!

'A Tuscan view.....from Umbria' said...

This looks like a fantastic way to cool off. I really like the look of that little town drowsing in the sunshine. It looks like the kind of place you could search out some good food. The sea looks lovely too.
Ciao ;) Amanda

joanne at frutto della passione said...

I just love these little places that seemingly no-one else has discovered. I would love to be there right now.

Leanne said...

How lovely does it look there? I have never been but after being in Ostia last week with a sanitary pad floating by, I am ready for a change of beach :)

bleeding espresso said...

Looks great! Loving these day trip ideas; keep 'em coming :)

erin :: the olive notes said...

oh, I just savored this post. I'm soaking it all in so I can pretend I'm there. This town and beach look like a wonderful find...I'll put it on my list :)

LuLu said...

What a beautiful place!! These day trips are really great. Thanks for sharing them with us!!

Carolynn said...

I LOVE Sperlonga. My family stayed at a fantastic villa in Pastena and the owner advised us to go to Sperlonga. I am saving all of my pennies..maybe thats where we'll retire. I can ony hope and pray :)Thanks for the reminder of that beautiful place.

glamah16 said...

You make we want to go and explore Rome. I had an uncle who was a well known dancer there and he currently resides in Austria. I love to look at his pictures of his Dolce Vita days.in the 50's and 60's. One day.

Rose in Cali said...

Bellisimi! I wish I had known about this when I was there last summer. Glad you are exploring the outer regions. You really are living la dolce vita!

jrn said...

I'm currently in LA. I have 2 private questions for you about expat life...it's something I've been considering for a while and am now researching. What is the best way to do this? I've truly enjoyed reading your blog and am very excited about learning more.
Thanks!
jrn.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kc - thank you. Of course the beauty of Sperlonga makes it easier to take nice photos.

amanda - I hear the sea food is excellent. I had to watch my budget so I kept my lunch to a sandwich and a granita.

joanne - the old village is so lovely. It finally cooled off in Rome this week (it's in the mid 80s instead of the high 90s). I'm very happy about that.

leanne - yuck! When I was younger living on the east coast, once in a while some crazy stuff would show up on the beaches. The water at Sperlonga was a lot clearer than the water I saw at Ostia and Positano. Something about the tides and where the beach is located. Okay now watch, after I said all that we'll hear a story about pollution at Sperlonga or something. ha.

bleeding espresso - this might be it until the fall. We'll see how the finances are looking. There are so many places I want to visit.

erin - you will love it. I really wanted to check on the grottos on my next trip.

lulu - you're welcome. Thanks for reading.

carolynn - thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the photos. I think retiring to Sperlonga is a great goal. Good luck.

glamah16 - I also love to look at photos from that era. So glamourous. Maybe next time you are on an extended trip to your hone in Europe you can make it down to Italy.

rose in cali - ha yes it's the broke version which is better than no dolce vita. :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jrn - go to my flickr page and you should be able to send me an email that way.


For good solid information, check out Expatsinitaly.com. It's an invaluable resource.

Girl in Giro said...

OOOOoooo very beautiful.. My "to visit" list of places in Italy is endless and now I have to add one more!

Delina said...

I love the Sperlonga / Gaeta area. I0ve not been for a while though ... Must go.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

How absolutely gorgeous! I wish I'd known about it when I was last in Rome. It was way over 100 and humid, humid, humid and I would have done anything for a jump into nice water!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

girl in giro - I have one of those lists as well. For such a small country there is so much to see and do.

delina - I def. want to go back.

jen - the temperature finally broke a little this week. 100 + humidity in Rome is no fun. You feel like your baking when walking on hot cobblestone streets.

Brigitte said...

Those photographs are beautiful.

mikeb302000 said...

I love Sperlonga. We spent a few summer vacations at Terracina, just up the coast. The water all along there is good. Sure beats Ostia and Fregene, huh?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

brigitte - thank you!

mikeb - yes the water at Sperlonga is a LOT clearer. Again, not sure why more people don't go there.

wordtryst said...

What a lovely place! If I ever get to the point of planning a trip to Italy I'll be sure to check your blog for ideas!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

wordtryst - The combo of this very old village overlooking the sea is what made it seem so unique to me.

Dylan said...

I used to go to Sperlonga with my family in the mid-1970's when I was about 5. It was a wonderful place and it's so nice to see it hasn't changed although it appears more crowded than it was back then. I have fond memories of eating at Rocco's restaurant on the beach, and the fine cornetti and tomato foccacia at the bakery. This was a magical spot I have always wanted to return to.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

dylan - it is a truly special place.