San Felice Circeo: a bit of history.
Was this an island? Maybe. Many places of the Mediterranean Coast affirm to be the place where the Maga Circe lived, but not many have the same number of resemblance with the island described by Homer. From the sea, the promontory really looks like a magic island, especially in the warm summer mornings, when its peak is covered by amazing haze or when the wind brings a dense sea fog and it seems like Circe will soon appear.
Although many are the myths in this area, reality also brings wonderful discoveries. The ancient village of Circeii was built in the VII century B.C. by Volsci, as shown by the ruins of the old village walls.
During the 1st century many villas were built in the countryside and on the coast of the Lake Paola. One of them is supposed to be the residence of Emperor Domitianus.
Nowadays, the center of the old village (which belonged to the Templar Knights in the medieval period and then became nothing more than a prison, and which was populated by civilians only in the XVII century) welcomes the visitor with many little shops, like all tourist villages on the coast of Campania.
But during your stay at Hotel Maga Circe, one of the best beach hotels in Italy, you will have the chance to visit many other interesting places.
Circeo National Park
The Park is 8400 hectares wide and includes the municipalities of San Felice Circeo, Ponza, Sabaudia and Latina. Within its boundaries you can find the promontory of Circeo, four lakes, the "selva" of Circeo, and the island of Zannone. The variety of sites protected give to the park a unique character, where both north-African and central European climates and vegetation glow. Its biosphere is protected by UNESCO and E.U. legislation - For further information visit the official site of the park: www.parcocirceo.it.
Built about 800 years B.C., these walls were the last refuge for the people that once lived in the marsh. Through many centuries, they survived earthquakes and also bombing by the Allies during II World War. Nowadays, it is possible to walk through the bushes and the trees following ancient routes.
The Promontory and the Pontine Islands
Take the chance to see the promontory from the sea and visit the grotto on the east valley of the coast. The Island of Ponza is linked to the mainland by a daily ferry service from Terracina and in summer even from the port of Circeo.
The Abbey of Fossanova and the castle of Sermoneta
The severe beauty of the abbey remembers to the visitor the hard life of the XII century. The original walls and the internal decoration are still in good condition, so that the abbey has been used many times for movies and TV productions set in the middle Ages.
The Caetani Castle of Sermoneta, instead, still shows only part of the luxurious life of one of the most powerful families of the Middle Ages. The village was also residence of one of the most active and rich Judaic communities of Italy until the XVI century.
The sites are respectively 35 and 45 km far from San Felice Circeo and both of them are open every day until 5 p.m.
The lost town of Ninfa
Try to guess how it would be to have the chance to visit a village abandoned more than 700 years ago, where a Lady, at the end of the XIX century, decided to collect all kinds of trees and flowers from all over the world. This is Ninfa, the "Pompei of the Middle Age".
Generally open only the first Saturday and Sunday of each month from April to October, and the third Sunday of April, May and June.
Special opening are listed in the official site: www.fondazioneroffredocaetani.org.