The city of Terracina is located on the coast of the Gulf of Gaeta, 70 km southeast of Rome. It is the center of the resort region Odyssey Coast, stretching for 100 km along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This region got its name because of its mention in the famous “Odyssey” by Homer.
According to Electronicsmatter, Terracina was founded in 600 BC, and during the time of the Roman Empire was one of the most important points on the Appian Way, connecting Rome with Naples, and the location of the Temple of Jupiter. Today Terracina is a small resort town with wide boulevards and sandy beaches stretching for 15 km along the coast.
The center of the city is Piazza Municipio, which was built on the site of an ancient Roman forum. On the square, where the Roman temple of Augustus once stood, the Cathedral is located, which is a mixture of a wide variety of architectural styles. The old city of Terracina is full of the remains of Roman buildings, they can be seen everywhere. The most famous building of the Roman Empire era, preserved in the city, are the ruins of the temple of Jupiter, located on top of the city hill. It can be reached from Piazza Municipio. It is believed that the temple was erected in the 1st century BC.
From Terracina you can get to the Pontine Islands , to which a ferry runs.
To the south of Terracina, a spacious beach stretches for 18 km, which leads to the city of Sperlonga. Sperlonga has been known since ancient times; Roman emperors and the rich loved to relax here. In the Middle Ages, due to constant pirate attacks, the city was significantly fortified and became the most important defensive point of the Gulf of Gaeta. Today, Sperlonga is considered one of the most beautiful cities of the Odyssey Coast. Its narrow streets with small white houses climb up the coastal terraces, which are equipped with viewing platforms, beaches alternate with quiet bays surrounded by rocks with grottoes and caves. The main historical attraction of the city is the Villa of Tiberius, the ruins of which have survived to this day. In the middle of the 20th century, a grotto was discovered in the coastal part of the villa, which is known as the Grotto of Tiberius. During the reign of Emperor Tiberius, several thousand statues were erected here, depicting various fragments from ”
Sperlonga is connected by a long beach area with the city of Gaeta located to the south. Gaeta has been a major military fort since ancient times: the construction of defensive structures began under the Romans and continued until the unification of Italy in the 19th century. The abundance of historical sights, magnificent beaches and the clear waters of the Gulf of Gaeta, which have been declared a marine park, attract many vacationers here. The entrance to the city bay is protected by an old military fort, which was built in the 13th-15th centuries. In the old town there is the Cathedral with a high bell tower, founded under Pope Paschal II in 1106, where the relics of St. Erasmus are kept, and many other churches: the Byzantine Church of San Giovanni a Mare of the 10th century, the Gothic Pius IX first voiced the doctrine of papal infallibility, the church of St. Francis, which according to legend was built by this saint in the 13th century, and the church of Santa Lucia of the 15th century. Other sights of Gaeta include the Medieval Quarter with houses of the 11th-13th centuries, and Orlando Hill with the remains of Roman buildings, among which is the mausoleum of the Roman consul Lucius Plancus (42 BC). On the hill of Orlando is also the sacred Split Mountain (Montagna Spaccata). According to legend, this is one of several mountains that split in different parts of the world when Jesus Christ was crucified. On the site of the split of the mountain is the chapel of St. Philip Neri (15th century). A hiking trail leads from the chapel to the split of the mountain. Not far from Gaeta is the city Formia, where the tomb of the orator Cicero, who was killed here in 43 BC, has been preserved.
No less interesting is the northern part of the Odyssey Coast (north of Terracina). The city of Sabaudia is located here, which was built in 1933 in less than 1 year, by order of Mussolini, as part of a grandiose project to drain the coastal marches. Sabaudia is better known as a holiday destination for the Italian elite: on its 30-kilometer beach, there are modern villas where Italian celebrities spend their time. Sabaudia is surrounded by National Park Circeo, designed to protect the unique natural systems of the Tyrrhenian coast: coastal sand dunes, several lakes stretched along the coast, oak forests, Mount Circeo and the natural world of the tiny island of Zannon, which is part of Pontine Islands. The territory of the national park covers an area of 85 square meters. km. Migratory bird migration routes run over the park, including coots, cormorants, ospreys, white-tailed eagles, cranes and flamingos, especially on Zannon Island. Also, about 20 species of mammals live in the park: wild boars, deer, foxes, porcupines, badgers, ferrets, hedgehogs, wild rabbits; reptiles (snakes, European bog turtle and Mediterranean turtle); amphibians (frogs, toads and newts); insects and fish (mullet, perch, bream, flounder, carp, tench). Of the archaeological sites in the park, the remains of the ancient city of Circe, the Villa of Domitian, the ruins of the Roman port and the necropolis have been preserved. The Circeo National Park includes another resort town – San Felice Circero, which is known for its restaurants, bars and discos.