Municipality of Sperlonga
Province of Latina
Altitude Center: 55 m s.l.m.
The Municipality is part of:
I Borghi più belli d'Italia
Comunità montana degli Aurunci e Ausoni
Protected Natural Areas:
Oasi Blu - Villa di Tiberio
Promontorio Villa Tiberio e Costa Torre Capovento
Parco regionale Riviera di Ulisse
Municipality of Sperlonga
Piazza Europa - Sperlonga (LT)
Tel. +39 0771 55781
Sperlonga stands on a rocky spur, the final part of the Monti Aurunci, which extends into the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Gaeta merging in Monte San Magno. The surrounding territory is mostly flat. The beach of fine and golden sand white, alternates to various spurs of rock that is thrown into the sea, forming wonderful coves, often reachable only by boat. These rock formations are present to the south of the village in the direction of the promontory of Gaeta. In the territory there are traces of human activity from the upper Paleolithic.
According to the tradition at Sperlonga stood the city of Amyclae, founded by the Spartans. In the roman age arose in the territory numerous villas, the most famous of which is the one belonging to the Emperor Tiberius, comprising a natural cave modified and decorated with sculptures of the cycle of the Homeric hero Ulysses. In the sixth century the ruins of the imperial villa were used as a shelter by the inhabitants of the place, but the town developed around a castle on the promontory of San Magno (65 m a.s.l.), a spur of the Monti Aurunci, defense raids by sea of Saracens, taking its name from the many natural caves of the area (speluncae).
The name of Castrum Speloncae appears in a document of the X century: the castle consisted of a small church dedicated to Saint Peter, patron saint of fishermen. Around the castle progressively developed the country for concentric circles. In the XI century the village was surrounded by walls, now disappeared, but which remain the two ports: the "door" or "Porta Carrese" and the "Porta Marina": both bear the coat of arms of the Caetani family. Sperlonga remained a small village of fishermen, continually threatened by the incursions of the pirates who, as remembered the murals of the country, came to abduct its inhabitants to reduce them to slavery.
Despite the construction of a series of sighting towers in function of coastal defense, the town was destroyed in a first time in 1534 by Ottoman pirate Khair ad-Dìn, known as Barbarossa, and a second time, always by the Ottoman pirates, in 1622. Sperlonga, rebuilt between the XVII and XIX century, took on its present form (so-called "turtle") and were erected churches and palaces.
The villa of the Roman emperor Tiberio derives from the magnification of a previous villa late republican, with rooms arranged around a portico. A natural cave was arranged as summer dining room, with water games and extraordinary sculptural groups of the cycle of Ulysses (including the colossal group of Polyphemus), now kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Sperlonga. The patronal feast in Sperlonga takes place in the days preceding and following the first sunday of september, in honor of San Leo and San Rocco, in the church of Our Lady of the Assumption. The two important processions along almost the whole territory of Sperlonga, both the high city that low since the Parish of the Assumption is the only one in the entire town. Characteristic is the procession of Saint Rocco that arrives in the evening until the sea, where are shot of fireworks, then the statue returns in the historical center passing the chapel dedicated to him and to the alleys and stairways of Sperlonga. Liven up the evening concerts and various firework displays.
NOTE: distances are set as the crow flies.