Sperlonga is located just over 100 km south of Rome, in the province of Latina. Apart from having one of the whitest and cleanest beaches in the Lazio region, it is also known for its beautiful historic center. Nowadays it is a favorite holiday resort for wealthy Romans.
Sperlonga city guide
The address of the town hall is Piazza Europa, snc – 04029 Sperlonga (LT). Tel: +39 0771557801. The ZIP code is 04029 and the prefix is 0771. The town is located in the province of Latina and in the region of Lazio.
By car/public transport to Sperlonga
Public transport from Latina/Rome: Take the train to Fondi-Sperlonga and then the bus to the city centre. Buy a ticket at a magazine kiosk. (NB: On Sundays, the bus service is very sporadic.)
By car from Latina: Follow the SS148 to Terracina and then the SR213.
By car from Rome: From Rome drive south. Follow the SS148 to Terracina and then the signs to Sperlonga.
History and description
The historic center of the city is built on a cliff, from which one overlooks the beach and the sea. The first impression is overwhelming because of the extremely Mediterranean-looking white-painted houses and the steep stairs and narrow alleys that lead in all directions. It’s as if you’ve ended up inside one of Escher‘s most famous works.
The coastline, which, unlike that of Ostia for example, is free of wreckage and other washed up rubbish, is clean and the beach is also white, which explains why Sperlonga has become a popular holiday destination for the more affluent part of the population of Rome itself.
What to see in Sperlonga
During road works in the 20th century, the Cave of Tiberius was discovered by chance, a natural cave in which Tiberius had a banquet hall built. The statues at the entrance are copies.
Other attractions are the ruins of the old Roman Villa of Tiberius, which are located within the nature reserve near the city, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, the Santa Maria Church and the Palazzo Sabella, where the “antipope” Clemens VII once hid. The main attractions of the city are the clean white beach and the historic center in general.
A brief history of Sperlonga
Already in ancient times the area around Sperlonga was inhabited. In Roman times, when many rich and powerful Romans had villas built and the caves converted into luxury homes, the city flourished. In the Middle Ages it was destroyed several times by pirates.
The territory of present-day Sperlonga was already inhabited during the late Paleolithic, as demonstrated by remains found in excavations.
Some scholars claim that Sperlonga was the legendary city founded by the Spartans, Amyclae.
As early as Roman times it was a popular vacation resort. Magnificent villas were built along the coast. Many caves were also converted into luxurious homes. The most famous of these is that of Emperor Tiberius.
By the way, the name of the city is due to these caves (spelunca is “cave” in Latin).
After the fall of the Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions, the city fell into decline.
From the 10th century Sperlonga was part of the county of Fondi.
In 1379 the antipope Clement VII hid there for a while. He had fled from Anagni after his troops had been defeated at Marino.
In 1534 the city was destroyed by the Saracen pirates led by Kaireddin Barbarossa.
In 1622 the city was again raided by the Turks.
Even today, many wealthier Romans spend their vacations in Sperlonga. This is mostly due to its perfectly white beaches.
The patron saint of the city is San Leone Magno, whose holiday takes place on September 10th.