Sperlonga is a coastal town in the province of Latina, about halfway between Rome and Naples. Surrounding towns include Terracina to the West, Fondi to the North, Itri to the North-East, located near the Via Appia, but on the edge of the Pontine Marshes, Roman Spelunca was only known for the grotto on the coast, after which it was named. A Republican villa was owned by the emperor Tiberius. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, in the 6th century, the population began to move to the nearby promontory of St. Magnus, in order to escape the unhealthy marshes and the Saracen attacks. The danger posed by the Saracens is made clear by the presence of many watchtowers all along the coast to Gaeta, in 1534 the small centre was destroyed by the Ottoman fleet under Barbarossa. In the 18th and 19th centuries Sperlonga recovered and acquired some noble residences, the touristic expansion occurred only after the opening of the Terracina-Gaeta coastal road in 1957, the building of which led to the discovery of the sculptures in the grotto.
Sperlongas main cultural attraction is the museum erected in the grounds of the former Villa of Tiberius showing the groups of sculpture found in the celebrating the deeds of Odysseus. Tiberius moved to Capri after 26 AD, the works have been attributed to Rhodian sculptors Agesander and Polydoros, and are thought to be the same authors of the group of Laocoön and His Sons. Yet whether the same artists are responsible is questionable. Furthermore, the differentiation in classicism between the two set of works implies that one preceded the other with separation, and thus not all artists are the same people. The most ancient church is that of Santa Maria, currently used for events and spectacles. Sperlonga is mostly a tourist town thanks to its beaches, a beach on its west side going all the way to Terracina. The main connection is that by road from Terracina and Gaeta, the nearest railways station is that of Fondi-Sperlonga, on one of the two Rome-Naples main lines. Aubière, France von Blanckenhagen, Peter H.
review of, Die Skulpturen von Sperlonga by Baldassare Conticello and Bernard Andreae, American Journal of Archaeology, Vol.80, No. 1, pp. 99–104, JSTOR Media related to Sperlonga at Wikimedia Commons Sperlonga travel guide from Wikivoyage Livius. org, Cave of Sperlonga Sperlonga
Suio is a frazione of Castelforte, a municipality in southern Latium, central Italy. The latter were mentioned since ancient times by such as Pliny the Elder and Lucan. Bath tourism became again active after World War II, part of the Battle of the Garigliano was fought nearby. The thermal baths are situated along the Garigliano River and are a result of volcanic activity causing natural bubbling springs to occur, during the summer and spring months the hot springs are a common local spot. The baths water is high in sulfur and mineral deposits from the volcanic activity and these water qualities are thought to have beneficial effects on the skin by the local population, one of the reasons for its popularity. Il Lazio meridionale tra antichità e medioevo
Santo Stefano Island
Santo Stefano is an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the west coast of Italy, and part of the Pontine Islands. It has a shape, is less than 400 metres in diameter. Like the rest of the archipelago, the island was created by volcanic activity and it is dominated by an old prison built by the Bourbons, completed in 1797 and in use until 1965. It has 99 cells 4.50 by 4.20 metres around a central watchtower, built for 600 inmates, it had 800 in 1817. People imprisoned included Carmine Crocco, the most important brigand during the Italian unification, and the anarchist Gaetano Bresci and he was imprisoned there for a year before being found hanged in his cell. In October 1860, part of the Bourbon troops left the island for the siege of Gaeta, during a revolt, some Camorra prisoners proclaimed the Republic of Santo Stefano. The prisoners legislated a statute and remained autonomous until January 1861, the island has been uninhabited since the closure of the prison, except for tourists that visit by boat during the day.
The island has had names, such as Partenope, Dommo Stephane. The island was put up for sale in 2012 for the price of €20,000,000 and this did not include the prison. This island once harbored an endemic lizard, the Santo Stefano Lizard and it became extinct in 1965, probably due to feral cats and a snake species. Media related to Santo Stefano at Wikimedia Commons
The Pontine Islands are an archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the west coast of Italy. The islands were named after the largest island in the group. The other islands in the archipelago are Palmarola and Gavi to the northwest and these two groups are separated by 22 nautical miles. From Sabaudia-Cape Circeo peninsula to Zannone the distance is 12 nautical miles, the minimum distance between Santo Stefano and the isle of Ischia is 22 nautical miles. The archipelago is volcanic and has inhabited for thousands of years. Neolithic artifacts and Bronze Age obsidians have been excavated on the islands, the islands were used by the Etruscans who carved the Blue Grottos. The earliest recorded history of the islands occurs with the Roman victory over the Volsci at 338 BC, according to a local legend, this was once the lost Kingdom of Tyrrhenia which sank with a narrow strip connected to mainland Italy. During the reign of Romes Caesar Augustus, residential expansion on the islands was encouraged, rome used the two islands as a retreat and a place to exile politically troubling citizens.
Some two thousands years the islands were used for the reason by the Fascist regime. The Pontine were abandoned during the Middle Ages due to constant raids by Saracens, during the 18th century, the Kingdom of Naples re-colonized the islands, and they became part of the Kingdom of Italy. Ponza and Ventotene are populated, while the islands are not. Ventotene and Santo Stefano are land and sea conservation areas supervised by the Italian State, tiny vineyards, wild herbs and flowers, and secluded beaches and grottos make them a popular tourist destination. Italian Government Tourist Board, Pontine Islands information
The municipality of Ventotene, of the province of Latina had 708 permanent residents as of 2008. The island, the remains of an ancient volcano, is elongated, with a length of 3 kilometres, the municipality includes the small ancillary island of Santo Stefano, located 2 km to the east, which is the site of a massive prison, now closed. A further island, Ponza, is 40 km to the west, Pandataria is best known as the island to which the emperor Augustus banished his daughter Julia the Elder in 2 BC, as a reaction to her excessive adultery. Later, in 29 AD, emperor Tiberius banished Augustus granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, after Agrippina the Elders son Gaius, became emperor in 37 AD, he went to Pandataria to collect her remains and reverently brought them back to Rome. Sometime later, Julia Livilla was discreetly starved to death and her remains brought back to Rome when her older sister Agrippina the Younger became influential as Claudius wife. This is the island to which St. Flavia Domitilla, a prison camp was created under the Bourbons and restructured under Benito Mussolini on the nearby island of Santo Stefano.
There, up to 700 opponents, including 400 communists, were incarcerated between 1939 and 1943, one of them was Altiero Spinelli who wrote there a text now known as the Ventotene Manifesto, promoting the idea of a federal Europe after the war. During World War II, the served as home to a 114-manned German garrison who defended a key radar station. On the night of December 8,1943, an American PT boat slipped into Ventotenes harbor undetected and offloaded 46 American paratroopers from the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion. The paratroopers met with an exile from the Italian mainland who lied to the German commander that there was a regiment of paratroopers on the island. Terrified, the German commander demolished his positions, Ventotene was liberated at 3 AM without a shot being fired. The island is connected by ferry and hydrofoil service to Formia and Anzio, Ventotene Lighthouse is an active lighthouse on the Ventotene Island placed nearby the Porto Romano. The current lighthouse was built in 1891, it is a tower in masonry attached to the seaside keepers house.
It is 16 metres high and emits one white flash in a five seconds visible up to 15 nautical miles. The lighthouse is operated by the Lighthouses Service of the Marina Militare, in July 2009, archaeologists announced the discovery of a graveyard of five ancient Roman ships in the deep waters off Ventotene, with their pristine cargoes of olive oil and metal ingots. One ship carried a load of a kind of dish called a mortarium. Some of the objects were immediately placed on view at Ventotene. Ventotene, An Island in The Global Herald, July 2011 Ventotene
Duchy of Gaeta
The Duchy of Gaeta was an early medieval state centered on the coastal South Italian city of Gaeta. It began in the ninth century as the local community began to grow autonomous as Byzantine power lagged in the Mediterranean. However, unlike these sister seaports, Gaeta was never a centre of commercial importance, in 778, it was the headquarters from which the patrician of Sicily directed the campaign against the Saracen invaders of Campania. The first consul of Gaeta, who associated his son Marinus with him, was a Byzantine agent, Constantine defended the city from the ravages of Muslim pirates and fortified it, building outlying castles as well. He was removed, probably violently, by the Docibilis I, the Docibilian dynasts regularly worked to advance Gaetan interests through alliance with whatever power was most capable of such at the time. They joined forces with the Saracens against their Christian neighbours and with the Pope against the Muslim pirates at the Battle of Ostia and they constructed a massive palace and greatly increased the citys prestige and wealth.
The Gaetans remained nominally Byzantine in allegiance until the mid tenth century, the chief success of the Docibilians lay, however, in extracting Gaeta from the Ducatus Neapolitanus. It was Docibilis II who first took the title of dux or duke, Docibilis saw Gaeta at its zenith but began the process whereby it was chiefly weakened. In 962, Gaeta put itself under Pandulf Ironhead, the Lombard prince of Capua, in 963, only the municipal rulers appeared in the charters. In 976, the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto II, a complete revolution had occurred since the assumption of the ducal title and the Western Emperor had replaced the Eastern as overlord. Gaeta declined in importance in the tenth and early eleventh centuries. In 1012, a succession crisis weakened it further, John IV died, leaving one son by his wife Sichelgaita, a sister of Sergius IV of Naples. This son, John V, ruled under the regency of his grandmother Emilia. His uncle Leo I usurped the duchy only to be removed in a few months and his other uncle, Leo II.
It wasnt until 1025 that the situation was settled, after that, John V sheltered the fleeing Sergius of Naples and aided him in retaking his city with Norman assistance. For this, John V earned the enmity of Pandulf IV of Capua, the local dynasty, descended from Docibilis, would never recover its duchy. Gaeta was conquered by the Lombards in 1032, in 1038, the conqueror, Pandulf of Capua, was deposed and replaced by Guaimar IV of Salerno. Guaimar did not reign personally for long before appointing the chiefest of his Norman mercenaries, Ranulf Drengot, on Ranulfs death, the Gaetans elected their own Lombard candidate, Count of Aquino