Sperlonga is a very picturesque coastal town in the Lazio region, just ten miles west of Gaeta. Its white-painted houses make it a bit reminiscent of iconic Greek islands like Santorini or Mykonos. Town and Country Magazine even named Sperlonga “Italy’s best kept secret”.
Beauty and History on the Coast
Once frequented by celebrities and the elite, this charming seaside beach town has a history that dates back to the Stone Ages. First settled by the Romans as a luxurious getaway spot, Sperlonga boasts a coastline of beautiful Mediterranean style villas whitewashed and standing prominently above the waters as a reminder of it’s days of Roman elegance and its place within ancient mythology. During the 1500’s, many towers were built along coast to defend this city from Pirates and attacks by sea. A walk down the coastline is truly like taking a stroll through time.
Sperlonga has some of the best beaches in the province, which makes it a fashionable summer spot, much frequented by weekending Romans and Neapolitans. It has two sandy beaches either side of a rocky promontory and a steeply stacked medieval center whose narrow whitewashed lanes are lined with boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Particularly important to note, the breathtaking blue waters off the coast have repeatedly won the prestigious Bandiera Blu certification, meaning these pristine beaches have been given the stamp of approval from the Foundation for Environmental Education for being some of the best in the world.
Interestingly, Sperlonga received its name from the latin word for cave. A walk along the eastern side of Rivièra di Levante will lead you to a grotto among the ruins of Tiberius’ summer home, which is now part of a museum.
On a side note: Proper attire is asked of those visitors who seek to walk through the historic center. If you don’t comply, you may be subject to a fine.
Fresh Seafood and Local Specialties
When visiting Sperlonga, one might assume their cuisine is heavily influenced by seafood, and while that would be safe assumption , there is so much more to taste and experience while dining in this seaside town. From fresh fish to fantastic local dishes such as Linguine alla scoglio (thin pasta with seafood) and soups made with lentils and chickpeas, to the renowned mozzarella di bufala freshly made in the nearby Campania cheese factories, dining out in Sperlonga is certainly a delicious adventure. Additionally, make sure you save room for gelati from one of the many local shops.
All in all, Sperlonga is a hidden gem along Italy’s coast. This beautiful location set gently above the Tyrrhenian Sea is a must visit if you are in the region and looking to have the quintessential Italian seaside experience.