San Felice Circeo
San Felice Circeo is not only a seaside resort, but one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, located in the Circeo National Park. It is a small medieval Latium village perched on the crests of the homonymous promontory, which is accessed through an arched door called "il ponte", which leads to the main square overlooked by the Templar Tower of 1200.
Not far from here, according to Greek mythology, the brave Ulysses decided to stop for some time because, bewitched by the beauty of Circe, he forgot about his return journey and his companions. Beyond the Homeric epic, the territory of the Circeo promontory has been inhabited since time immemorial. More than 50 thousand years ago, it was inhabited by Neanderthal families, as evidenced by the findings in the Guattari cave. A few millennia later, an Aegean population, probably the Pelasgians, built an imposing acropolis protected by megalithic walls several hundred meters long. Later, the Romans arrived, attracted by the beauty of the coast and the inviolability of the places.
Even today, the beauty of San Felice Circeo seems to be suspended between history and legend. It preserves its ancient charm intact: just take a walk through the small streets of the old town to find yourself transported back to the Middle Ages, at the time of the Templars.
Looking out from the viewpoint, however, it will be easy to understand why all the people who came here could fall in love with these places. The intense blue of the sea and the green of the thick vegetation of the promontory and the park create a unique naturalistic picture. A magical and enchanted place, in which it will be a pleasure to get lost.
THE MEDIEVAL HISTORICAL CENTRE
Despite the tourist development of the last decades, the historical centre of San Felice Circeo has preserved its origins. A small medieval treasure, in which it is possible to find traces of all the families and monastic orders that, from decade to decade and century to century, have taken turns in controlling the Rocca Circea. In 1200 the village was controlled by the Knights of the Templar Order who contributed in a fundamental way to determine its defensive forms and structures. Of their period remains the Templar Tower, still perfectly preserved in the heart of the village. But it is the whole historical centre, enclosed within the walls, that offers suggestive and fascinating views at every step: among churches, palaces and monuments, it will be like going back in time.
When we talk about San Felice Circeo it is impossible not to talk about its coast and its sea. Green Flag, that mean beaches perfect for children and Blue Flag, that mean clean beaches and high level services make the location very popular. Protected from winds and sea currents, it consists of small coves with a not too high seabed: the perfect place to dive and find refreshment from the summer heat. The tour by boat offers the spectacle of the numerous sea caves: Azzurra, del Presepio, delle Capre, del Fossellone, dell'Impiccato, della Maga Circe, which are accompanied by peculiar sites such as "le Batterie", "Punta Rossa", "la cava d'alabastro", "il Precipizio", the towers "Fico", "Cervia" and "Paola".
THE PARK AND THE PROMONTORY
Not just history and sea. The territory of San Felice Circeo, in fact, has a lot to offer even to those who go in search of naturalistic excursions and trekking routes. Not far from the village centre we find the entrance to the Circeo National Park, established in 1934 and among the oldest protected naturalistic areas in Italy. The park offers many paths that can also be explored by bike where it is possible to organize picnics and where it is not rare to make some interesting meetings such as fallow deer, small wild boars and foxes.
The Circeo National Park also includes the island of Zannone and the coastal lakes of Fogliano, Paola, Caprolace and Monaci, where there are the remains of Roman villas and thermal baths.
The Promontory of Mount Circeo is the most incredible pearl of the park. Observed from Fondi, Sperlonga and the sea, it looks like an island surrounded by Mediterranean maquis, on a wonderful cliff. It offers many trekking paths of varying difficulty, along which to climb to the top of the mountain or to the ancient megalithic acropolis. The most famous path is the one of "le Crocette", immersed in the green of the holm oak grove up to a plateau that leads to the ruins of the acropolis of Circeii and the one of the Lighthouse "del faro" that winds halfway up the coast on the southern side.
According to someone, the promontory is the Eea island mentioned in Omero's Odyssey and the curious profile of the mountain resembles that of Circe lying down. According to legend, Maga Circe had her home on the highest peak of Mount Circeo, the Peak of Circe, where were found the ruins of the temple dedicated to her.
But the attractions not to miss are not limited to the confines of the park. In the surroundings of Circeo it is possible to visit numerous villages, wonderful gardens, transparent rivers and taste the culinary specialities of the area.