Sermoneta Villa Rentals
This jewel of a town sits atop a foothill of the Lepino Mountain Range parallel to the ancient Pontine marshes, and with views of the glorious Mediterranean sea, a short drive away. It is a mere half hour’s train ride from Rome, or an hour and a half by car along the ancient Appian Way; a trip to Sermoneta is a pleasure in itself. Great beaches and beach resorts only 20 minutes away are an added bonus.
The town has changed little since its medieval conception, and the enormous fortress of Caetani Castle looms over and dominants the town and the valley below. The castle is now run by the Roffredo Caetani Foundation, which was created by Lelia Caetani in honour of her illustrious family. Today, the castle hosts courses, seminars, and prestigious concerts. In July, there are concerts in the castle by well-known contemporary musicians and orchestras.
Open-air restaurants and bars make for easy summer living. Winters in cosy interiors are an equal delight.
The villages offer year around Festas, and in particular, in the month of May, there are concerts every weekend, as well as art exhibits, painting classes for children and much more.
There is a medieval Festa of the Madonna di Vittoria in October, a Polenta festival in January, and other magical events all year long.
Don’t miss the famed Gardens of Ninfa, a WWF site, the Sabaudia beach, or historic Terracina, or charming San Felice Circeo.
There are a wealth of tourist possibilities in the environs of Sermoneta; some of them are noted below. The Abbey of Valvisciolo, a few kilometres north of Sermoneta, was established by Basilian monks in the VIIIth century and passed to the Knights Templar who reconstructed it in Gothic style using local stone. The Knights immortalized their ownership by sculpting their cross on the façade. In the XIIIth century, the Cistercians imposed their own style on the interior and in the decoration. Inside, frescoes by Nicola Circignani (1520-1600) and Emilio Savonanzi (1580-1660) can still be seen. Next to the church is the monastery with its cloisters.
Not far from Sermoneta (6km) are the ruins of the ancient town of NINFA, the “Pompeii of the Middle Ages”, destroyed in 1381. The destruction of NINFA was the result of a feud between two branches of the Caetani family, the winners of which exacted this violent revenge. The town had contained within its walls ten churches, four monasteries, a municipal Palace, and a castle with a high tower. The ruins remained untouched for centuries; the crystal waters from the Lepino hills flowing through the lake and streams of the abandoned site. Today, all that remains of old NINFA are the ruins of the castle, the mills, and the churches, reflected in the waters of its lake. In 1920 Gelasio Caetani converted the site into a natural oasis, a wonderful park of exotic and rare plants that thrive in this world-renowned micro-climate. These extraordinary gardens can be visited on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month from April to October.
Another extraordinary natural site is the National Park of Circeo, host to the Monte Circeo, 20 km of superb sandy beaches, four lakes, and forest in its 8,500 hectares (18,700 acres). Recognized by UNESCO as a “World Heritage Site”, the park contains 1,237 species of fauna and 250 species of bird, and wild boar, deer, and foxes thrive in the forest. It also contains ruins of Emperor Domitian’s Villa and Lucullo’s Spring. The 1,700 foot Monte Circeo is believed to be the site of Circe and her Sirens, described in Homer’s Iliad. Circe drugged Ulysses’ 23 companions and turned them into swine; however, Ulysses avoided this fate with an antidote provided by Hermes, and persuaded Circe to fall in love with him, which helps explain her decision to return his companions.
For the sports-minded, enjoy horse-riding, archery, tennis, biking, and paragliding nearby.