Anzio is a small fishing village south of Rome and also the port where ferries and hydrofoils to the island of Ponza have their home base. Anzio used to be a rather important port in the times of the ancient Romans, but especially Americans will know it as the place where the Allied Forces landed in World War II, in order to liberate Rome from the occupation by the German troops. It is also the birthplace of Emperor Nero.
Anzio city guide
The tourist information office (Ufficio Turistico) is located in the Piazza Pia, 2 (tel. +39 069848135).
By car/public transportation
By car from Rome: Follow the SS148 and from Aprilia the SR207. Alternatively you can take the SS7 and at Castel Gandolfo take the exit onto the SR207. People who prefer to travel along the coast can follow the SP601 from Lido di Ostia.
Public transport from Rome: The easiest way is to take the train from Roma Termini. A ticket costs 3,60 Euro and the journey takes just over an hour. The FR8 train between Rome and Nettuno also stops in the city, but is not very practical for most tourists, as in Rome it only stops at the not very centrally located Torricola station. From the Laurentina metro station (line B) there is a very regular Cotral bus service.
Anzio tourist attractions
Although not amongst the prettiest beaches in the area around Rome, Anzio does have a beach and it is located close to the railway station. A visit to the city’s tourist attractions can therefore easily be combined with a couple of hours of swimming and/or reclining in the lounge chairs of one the city’s many beach concessions.
The Imperial Villa of Nero is the most famous monument in Anzio. In all probability, the villa was much larger than the ruins that can be still be seen nowadays.
There are some ruins of the old port left, at the end of the stretch of commercial beaches.
The archeological park at the top of the cliff.
Piazza Pia: Anzio‘s main square.
Museo dello Sbarco di Anzio: Like the Archeological Museum this Museum of the Landing in Anzio is housed in the Villa Adele.
Roman Amphitheatre: On Piazzale del Teatro Romano.
Tor Caldara: A WWF-run nature reserve with sulphur springs.
British Cemetery: The Cimitero Inglese lies outside town.
Originally a settlement of the Volsci tribe, Anzio (or Antium) became one of the favorite spots for rich Romans. The Emperor Nero, who was actually born in Anzio, built a villa in the town, ruins of which can still be seen.
According to legend, Anzio was founded by the son of Enea, Ascanio. Later the city was conquered by a tribe called the Volsci. After this, there was a continuous war with the Romans. In 338 the fleet of Anzio was defeated in a famous naval battle. The naval rams of the defeated ships were proudly taken to the Roman Forum by the Roman victors. Here they were used to decorate the Rostra.
After Anzio was finally subdued by Rome, it became a popular holiday resort for wealthy Roman citizens. Nero had a large harbour built there. Some remains of both this harbour and the ancient Roman theatre can still be seen.
During the Middle Ages, Anzio fell into disrepair. One major cause was the replacement of Rome by Byzantium as the capital of the Empire. The destruction and looting by the Goths and Saracens also played a major role in the decline of the city.
In the 17th century, the city regained some prestige and prosperity. Pope Innocent XII had a new port built.
However, it was not until the 19th century that the population began to grow significantly again. At that time, the town also regained its old reputation as a holiday resort.
At the beginning of the 20th century, ruins of a 3rd century Roman villa were used as a foundation for the Villa Spigarelli. Some of the original mosaics are still visible.
Especially in the United States, England and Commonwealth nations Anzio is famous because the allies came ashore here on January 22, 1944. In the course of the following days, the city was almost completely destroyed. The war cemetery is still visited by the children and grandchildren of soldiers who died in those days.