Sperlonga captured my heart more than three decades ago when we first started spending the month of June here each year. Some of Sperlonga's appeal is intangible, it occupies your senses in ways you can't even describe. Yet, so much of what there is to love in this amazing coastal hill town is easy to quantify. Here's a list of things that I adore about Sperlonga.
1. INCREDIBLE VIEWS abound here, particularly the views from archways throughout the town are breathtaking!
2. SEAFOOD in Sperlonga is delicious; fresh and local. Last night we enjoyed a frittura of fried calamari, shrimp and anchovies.
3. ITS WHITENESS. When you look up at the hill town of Sperlonga from the beach it's entirely white. As you wander through the narrow winding stairways the entire down is a blast of chalky white speckled with colorful geraniums and bougainvillea.
4. Up in the heart of the historic center is a 12th century church, CHIESA DI SANCTAE MARIAE, now used mostly for cultural events. It's rarely opened but when it is the remaining frescoes dating back 800 years are a must see!
5. THE HOTEL AURORA. There's a charming old world feel to this family owned and operated hotel. Rooms have sea or mountain views, each one simple but elegant and immaculately cared for. There's a fabulous garden terrace for lunch or cocktails, or take your pick of indoor and outdoor terrace and balcony options to relax and enjoy the beauty of Sperlonga. I adore this niche with a view of Sperlonga's centro storico.
6. CATS. I often come upon the occasional local cat wandering freely through the town. They're all well cared for by the townspeople. There's nothing sweeter than coming upon a litter of kittens living in a doorway.
7. Gorgeous SUNRISES AND SUNSETS are abundant in Sperlonga.
8. If you've never tried TIELLA, then you've missed one of southern Lazio's coastal delicacies. Tiella is a scrumptious filled pasta, originally from Gaeta, but available is Sperlonga at our favorite alimentare. Every day around 9:30 in the morning freshly baked tielle arrive from Gaeta. My favorite is tielle stuffed with seafood, but I also love eggplant tiella, onion tiella...just about any kind is wonderful!
9. AWARD-WINNING BEACHES. If you're looking for a fabulous beach not far from Rome then Sperlonga is ideal. The town takes great pride in the fact that each year it is awarded the "Bandiera Blu" attesting to the cleanliness of its coastal waters for swimmers. There is a "secca", or sand bar, along the beach which allows children to walk out quite far without reaching deep swimming water. It's also great for anyone who just wants to cool off without swimming.
The hill town of Sperlonga rises high above the sea, and divides the beach in two. To the right looking out to sea, the beach extends north about three miles before you reach an impassible point, allowing for fabulous walks. If you loop around Sperlonga heading south you'll find another stretch of beach, equally long, perfect for more walking. It extends as far as the Grotta di Tiberio, a cave named after Emperor Tiberius dating back 1,800 years to when he lived here in a sumptuous imperial villa and reveled in the beauty of the area.
10. EMPEROR TIBERIUS VILLA & SCULPTURES. What remains of the villa can still be visited, and just above the remains, within the National Archeological Museum, are spectacular sculptures from the ancient villa of Emperor Tiberius.
11. HOTEL AURORA. From the rooms, to the garden and terraces, not to mention the food! Every moment is a pleasure here!