Less than two hours away from Rome sits a grouping of small towns barely touched by tourists. These stunning seaside getaways are full of amazing views, walk-able attractions, and Italian hospitality.
My friend, Yemisi, and I planned on only going to Sperlonga for the day to relax on the beach after a few days trapezing around London and Rome (check out the vlogs to catch up on the trip!), but little did we know that this quite town had more in store for us!
We bought some wine in non glass bottles to bring to the beach and got on the bus from the tiny Sperlonga train station to the center of the town. The beach was very close, just a few minutes walk down a hill. Don’t worry, there’s a staircase leading from town all of the way down!
A tip, that I’m sure everyone who has visited a large beach knows already, is to make sure you know which areas are reserved for hotels, resorts, and for the public. Usually, you can identify these spaces by the colorful umbrellas and chairs. Some of these set ups are open to the public with a price, so I would suggest always checking (if you’re up to paying for a seat and shade) or to head towards the part of the beach without chairs and umbrellas.
We did without the chairs and umbrellas. Simply laying a blanket down claimed our spot! We spent a few hours sunbathing and playing in the water. The whole time I was there, it was kind of surprising to see that little to no other tourists were there. The groups of people present were predominately native Italians.
Since the beach sand sticks to you like glue always and forever, we searched out somewhere to rinse off as much as we could. We found a tiny little stream at the far end of the beach closer to a road leading back up to town. We dipped ourselves in the freezing cold fresh water stream. When I say freezing cold, I mean it was basically ice. I don’t stay in the water for more than a few seconds, the shock to my body was immense!
Sundried and with a gelato in hand, we wandered around. We met a couple who told us a little more about Sperlonga, but suggested that we also check out Gaeta. We informed them we were only there for the day and didn’t have a vehicle. They were amazingly sweet and insisted that we allow them to take us to Gaeta and show us a crack in a mountain.
**I’ve told this story to my friends a few times by now, and I TOTALLY understand that we may not have made the smartest decision: getting in a car with total strangers to venture to the next town to see a crack in a mountain, but…isn’t travel all about adventure? I’m not telling you to hop in every stranger’s car, I do believe in caution and using your best judgement. I also some of the best things from the unexpected and you should go with the moment – check out our silly decision in beautiful action in the video below**
We got in the car with a bottle of wine and rode with our new tour guides to Gaeta to the Split Mountain. The Split Mountain has it’s own sanctuary and it a popular local sight. The myth is God was bored one day and decided to split the mountain. One day he’ll return to seal it back up, but you have to make sure you’re not in the mountain when he does, or else you’ll die.
It sounds very silly, but that’s basically what the plaque on the walls say. Either way, it’s a beautiful sight to see and the view from the light house is stunning!
You walk up the stairs in the split and come to the light house deck. There, you’re supposed to turn your back to the water, make a wish, and throw a coin just like at Trevi Fountain.
After the Split Mountain we had lunch at a cute little store that sold mostly meat and bread. The people behind the counter were so kind. We got sandwiches and beer and perched up outside on a bench. The lady who served us came to join us and ask questions. I’m not entirely sure if they’ve met African-Americans before. They wanted to know what we were doing there, what we’d seen and done, and just to chat a bit.
Once we said our goodbyes to the store clerk, our new friends drove us to back to Sperlonga and to the train station. The sun was starting to set and our day had be unbelievable. As we got on the train, heading back to Rome, we couldn’t believe how things unfolded and that we had survived getting in cars with strangers. This was the kind of traveling I loved the most, when magical unplanned events happen and create memories I’ll never forget!