This Stunning Seaside Town Is One Of Italy's Best Kept Secrets With So Much To Offer

Ahh, Sperlonga, Italy — a strip of Mediterranean paradise that offers a true taste of la bella vita! According to Town and Country Magazine, Sperlonga is Italy's best-kept secret, which isn't hard to believe after taking in the picturesque albino facades and seaside backdrop. Life seems to move at a pace outside the 24-hour time clock the rest of the world builds their lives around. 

Nestled in the Lazio region, Sperlonga is a short side trip from Rome or a perfect dreamy beachside getaway on its own. However, this stretch of sandy paradise didn't always enjoy a relaxed reputation. In the 1950s and 60s, it was a celebrity hot spot for illustrious figures who flocked to the city's shorelines to escape the frazzle of urban life. Today, the city is known for its lack of large touristy crowds that pervade other coastal towns along the Amalfi coast.

Boasting a unique and fascinating history, Sperlonga's whitewashed buildings (reminiscent of Greece) date back to the Stone Age. The earliest settlers were those from Roman colonies who claimed Sperlonga as their leisurely getaway. Construction of towers soon followed in the 1500s to fortify the city and defend it against piracy and sea raids. A quintessential seaside town, visiting when the weather is warm provides the optimal climate for resting on the vanilla-hue beaches and dining on seaside patios. April through June and September to October are the most favorable months to travel to this coastal gem, promising fewer crowds and sunny skies.

A dreamy day guide to exploring Sperlonga

Sperlonga has a rich history (as does any respectable Italian city), and most of the city's sparkling facades and natural wonders speak of the city's fascinating cultural heritage. The Grotto of Tiberius is perhaps the most iconic attraction in this southern region of Italy. The grotto is believed to have been the site of Emperor Tiberius's villa, which housed the great ruler until 26 AD when he abandoned Sperlonga and fled to Capri. 

Of course, what's a visit to Sperlonga without spending at least one day at the beach? The town is bordered by two main beaches on the north and south ends. The southern beach has a wider stretch of sand but is also much more lively, overtaken by beach clubs and the island's elite crowds. The northern shore of Sperlonga promises a more relaxing trip to the seaside. These two Italian beaches are so well maintained they were awarded the Bandiera Blu, attesting to the cleanliness of the sand and sea. 

Sperlonga Centro Storico is the center of life in the town, with white-washed buildings adorned by flourishing bougainvillea flowers that add a pop of color. It's an ideal place to peruse local coffee bars, artisan shops, and trattorias. If you visit during the warmer seasons, the promenade is the perfect place for a morning passeggiata. The coastal cobblestone path stretches from Sperlonga Gui to Sperlonga Sopra, with glistening views of the Mediterranean Sea at every corner.

Feast on seafood and pasta

What's the best part about visiting Sperlonga, you may ask? The answer is what most would suspect — the cuisine! Sperlonga is known for its authentic seafood dishes native to the region as well as its decadent cheese. If you're not in the mood for a sit-down affair, there's no shame in hopping from one artisan shop to the next, curating a personalized charcuterie board of cheese, fruit, and bread. Sperlonga has several dishes developed in the Lazio region, including linguine alla scoglio (seafood pasta), seppie con carciofi (cuttlefish with artichoke hearts), and lentil and chickpea soup.

As far as classic Italian cuisine goes, you may have heard of Neopolitan-style pizza, but have you ever heard of tiella? This unique dish is stuffed to the brim with popular fillings like parmesan, eggplant, tomato, and fresh basil. And speaking of cheese, the buffalo mozzarella found along the Mediterranean coastline is truly from another world. Some of the cheese delivered to Sperlonga is cultivated in the nearby Tenuta Vannulo cheese factory, a few hours south of Sperlonga, where it's distributed to the surrounding regions. 

To balance out the savory flavors of Campania cheese with a sweet dolci, head over to I Dolci del Casolare, one of the best gelato and pastry shop in town. Best of all? It's right by the sea. After picking out your cornetto or gelato of choice, wander over to the seawall to gaze out over Sperlonga's famous umbrella-lined seashores.