Privacy and cookies
Images of Italy
Italy home Accommodation Airports Travel & transport Italy map Planning a trip Language Tours & packages Discover Italy
Destinations: Where to go in Italy & what to do there Holiday ideas: Itineraries, seaside resorts, islands, the best hotels ... Special interest: Activities, spas, art, cruises, events ...

Rome Venice Florence Sicily Amalfi Coast Italian Lakes Cinque Terre Tuscany Milan Verona Sorrento Puglia Sardinia More places



Gardens & ruins
Gardens of Ninfa
Villa Lante, Bagnaia
Villa d'Este, Tivoli
Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli
Villa Gregoriana, Tivoli
Terracina temple



A typical alley in Sperlonga

Sperlonga

The beach at Sperlonga, with the town on the headland in the background

> More day trips from Rome

Sperlonga is a beautiful seaside town to the south of Rome, accessible by public transport. Whitewashed houses are clustered together on a steep headland, the streets warren-like stairways that bring you to unexpected terraces above the sea. The old town is compact and charming, and a pleasure to explore.

To the north of the headland is the modern part of Sperlonga, catering mainly for tourists keen on well-developed beaches. The real treasure lies south of the town. Beyond the harbour stretches an exquisite length of beach, with gorgeously clean sand and water. There are trees and greenery along the shore, and the atmosphere is luxuriantly peaceful. Most of the beach is taken up with beach establishments, where you pay to use the facilities and enjoy a shaded sunbed. But there are also generous stretches of 'spiaggia libera', free beach, where you can bring your own towels and equipment and bathe for free. And there is plenty of space to promenade along the water's edge without paying anything: it's fine to wander along the entire length. This is one of the loveliest and most inviting beaches I've seen in Italy, and I can't praise it highly enough.

If you walk along the beach from the Sperlonga headland (a lovely stroll, especially when you splash along in the shallow waves), you reach a WWF nature reserve by the rocky headland. You can also see through the railings into the ruins of the Roman villa, and the Grotto of Tiberius. A little further back along the beach you will find a lane leading inland - follow this to the main road and you'll arrive at the entrance to the Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale). Entrance is cheap (2 at the time of writing). Note that you won't be allowed in wearing swimming costumes.

Imperial fishponds and the grotto of the naughty Emperor Tiberius

It is known from contemporary accounts that the Emperor Tiberius was among the Roman VIPs to own villas in the Sperlonga area. Suetonius writes that the villa was known as 'the Cavern' after the banqueting hall sited in a natural cave. It was here, records the biographer, where the Emperor narrowly escaped death when rocks fell from the ceiling.

In the 20th century, during the construction of the coastal road, extensive ruins were found on this spot, leading archeologists to believe that they had discovered the site of Tiberius's Grotto. In the cave were the fragments of huge sculptures which once dominated the artificial fishponds at the cave-mouth. These important mythological works of art have been painstakingly reconstructed, and in the airy modern museum you can see both the fragments and the copies. Down a path outside the museum (the ticket covers the entire site) you arrive at the villa ruins, and the cave itself. The location is very atmospheric, and if you're lucky you may have the spot to yourself; the museum is not a busy one.

Sperlonga travel and tourist information

View towards Sperlonga from Tiberius's Grotto

To get to Sperlonga, take a train from Stazione Termini to Fondi-Sperlonga station. This is on the main Roma-Napoli line: take a slower train such as a Diretto to save money. From Fondi station, buses run into Fondi itself and also to Sperlonga (check which one you're getting on). The fare is about 1; you pay the driver. Drop-off point is by the seafront just before the Sperlonga headland. The buses usually arrive shortly after the train, and return approximately every hour from opposite the drop-off point. On Sundays the bus service is drastically reduced; best to avoid.

It's best to eat before you set off for the museum. There are several restaurants in Sperlonga, and a very good tavola calda where you can buy delicious slices of pizza very cheaply (on the neck of the headland, just inland from the central piazza). There are also a few small general stores where you could buy provisions for a beach picnic.

The tourist information office opens at inconvenient hours, and is closed for the middle part of the day. It's located a few streets inland from the main piazza.

Sperlonga hotels

If you wish to see more of the coastal area between Rome and Naples, or simply spend a few days relaxing by the sea, Sperlonga is an attractive base.
> Our advice about hotels in Italy
> Availability search for Sperlonga accommodation

Virgilio Grand Hotel

Virgilio Grand Hotel ****

The Virgilio Grand Hotel is a modern four-star hotel close to the sea with a range of room-types, up-to-date facilities, a swimming pool and parking.
More information / Make a booking




Hotel Grotta di Tiberio, Sperlonga

Hotel Grotta di Tiberio ****

The Grotta di Tiberio is a fairly new hotel in an attractive setting. It is smart and whitewashed with 28 rooms of a variety of standards (and prices) and has a small swimming pool. It has excellent reviews from past guests, and is in walking distance of the beach (although some guests complain it's too far).
> Check availability / make a booking




Hotel Mayor, Sperlonga

Hotel Mayor ***

This is a three-star hotel in the modern part of town, not far from the historic centre and with its own stretch of private beach (on the less attractive of the town's two beaches). A simple and affordable option, and convenient if you're using public transport.
> Check availability / make a booking




Hotel Aurora, Sperlonga

Hotel Aurora ***

The three-star Aurora is right on the beach in an impressive setting, with direct sea-views from bedrooms. It is a fairly large traditional seaside hotel with a good range of facilities.
> Check availability / make a booking




Hotel Grazia, Sperlonga

Hotel Grazia ***

Another cheap three-star option, the Grazia also has a private stretch of beach.
> Check availability / make a booking (Booking)




On this site

Terracina

Rome day trips

Lazio

Lazio transport


Useful external links

Italy car hire




Advertising
Advertising
Read Blog
Italy Heaven © Copyright Tourist Heaven Limited
This site provides tourist and visitor information for Italy, from Piemonte to Sicily. Designed for travellers from around the world who want to plan a trip, take a holiday, book accommodation in Italy, or just learn more about the country: its geography, art, football, culture and entertainment options.