South of Rome, creamy limestone gives the coastal mountains a cheery aspect. The ancient hill towns were built of it, so all is bright: homes, streets, castles, prodigious Roman ruins. And the mountains themselves, a rocky “karst” landscape where rainwater drains to underground streams and gushes from copious springs.
Join me next May for a delicious week of walking and eating. Deluxe accommodations in Cori, Sermoneta and Sperlonga.
Note: the previous newsletter proposed a “Walk, Wine, Dine” trip in the Lepini Mountains. Here the trip has been expanded to include Sperlonga. The details:
Twenty-five centuries ago, ancient people stacked up huge limestone blocks into concentric terraces to shape the town of Cori. At the top stands a Roman temple; columns and other fragments are embedded in homes. In the evenings, young and old congregate in the piazza to chat, flirt, and ogle babies. Tourists are a rarity. Scenic walking paths wind through the hills and valleys.
Roman temple, Cori
Bright limestone houses and streets cluster below Sermonetas massive Caetani Castle (one-hour tours). Picturesque alleys are enclosed by a circuit of medieval walls, with breathtaking views of the mountains, plain and coast. Tranquil by nature, the town comes to life in May for Maggio Sermonetana, a street festival of music, dance and art. You can walk to the graceful Cistercian Abbey of Valvisciolo and the colorful mountain town of Bassiano. Modern accommodations in a beautifully restored villa with panoramic terrace.
Limestone outcrops, trail to Bassiano
Once a prominent Roman town, Norba was razed to the ground in 82 BC after choosing the wrong side in the disastrous Roman civil war. The remains are spectacular defensive walls of huge polygonal masonry, paved streets, towers, cisterns, remnants of houses and temples all perched high on a cliff overlooking the Gardens of Ninfa.
Wall of Norba
Gardens of Ninfa viewed from Norba
Roman street with ruins of homes
Gardens of Ninfa
Gardens of Ninfa
A fairy-tale village complete with castle, town hall and churches, Ninfa was sacked in the 12th century and abandoned. In 1921 the Caetani family began transforming it into a landscape garden, with vine-glad ruins and a lovely lake and stream fed by mountain springs. Garden writer Charles Quest-Ritson calls it the most romantic garden in the world. One-hour guided tours.
Drawn by the beautiful coast, the Roman Emperor Tiberius built a summer retreat at Sperlonga and installed a group of precious Greek sculptures in an adjacent sea cave (now in a nearby museum). Today, Sperlonga is a picturesque cluster of whitewashed homes and shops on a rocky spur above the Mediterranean. Deliciously prepared fruits of the sea can be tasted in restaurants lining the tiny piazzas. Strolling south from town you can follow the ancient Via Flacca along a cliff between two gorgeous beaches. Well stay two nights at a stately hotel in the town center.
Roman road cut, Terracina
Once a Roman port town, Terracina is chock-full of ruins including a monumental Temple of Jupiter high above the sea. Just below the temple is an amazing vertical road cut in the limestone cliff, done for the Via Appia, marked in Roman numerals every 10 feet.
Temple of Jupiter, Terracina
Temple of Jupiter above road cut, Terracina
Limestone spur above Terracina
Mountains and Sea
A 7-day walking trip in Southern Lazio
15-22 May 2018
book by January 10
20-27 September 2018
book by April 10
other dates possible by request
4 to 6 guests join a group or create your own
Cost: 2300 to 2800 Euros per person depending on group size
(based on double occupancy; add 15% for single).
Includes daily guided walks, all meals, lodging and transportation.
We meet in Rome flight to Rome not included.
Price in US Dollars will be calculated at the time of the trip.
Write to me with questions or to book your trip.
Booking deposit US$500 per person.
All trips are custom designed for four to six guests, and there are many options. Learn more at www.romanroadwalks.com or write to me.
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