When vacationing in Rome, you might want to assign one or two days in your itinerary for a wonderful seaside getaway. The resort town of Terracina is only 2 hours by cotral bus. If you are in a hurry, you can also combine rail and bus travel to get there in a little over an hour. When you get there, you will find that there is much more to enjoy here in addition to the superb sandy shores and water sports activities.
Terracina has a long and rich history as a major port and hub of commerce along the Roman Appian Way. A testament to its eminent past is the massive ruins of the Temple of Jupiter Anxur. The main temple is no longer present but its vaulted base – so colossal, it is seen from miles away – gives visitors a pretty good picture of its awe-inspiring size when it was still standing in full glory during the Roman times. The site of the temple ruins, on a hilltop, is also a strategic place to gain sight of the town’s spectacular panorama. For a change of perspective, you can head out to the beach and gaze back at the undulating hill and the mighty ruins.
Aside from the imposing Temple of Jupiter Anxur, Terracina also boasts of several other historical and architectural landmarks. The Cathedral is one such attraction, which features a beautiful facade of mixed building styles, striking colonnades topped with stunning friezes, striking decorated altars, and a dramatic stone pulpit.
From the cathedral, follow the archway and find ancient carved columns. Go on further, wander around the meandering cobblestone streets, and discover interesting archaeological finds, charming shops, and lovely restaurants along the way. You also might want to check out Museo Civico to learn more about the area’s history, explore the ancient sculptures on display and pick up a useful hand-out guide to the Roman temple and other ancient ruins scattered around town.
Another attraction worth your visit is the 36m-deep cut through the cliff of Pico Montano. What is amazing about this cut-out road is the fact that it was carved from the rock using simple axes. You can still see axe marks on the rock walls and you can just imagine the physical toil and terrible working conditions during its construction, but at the same time you also cannot help but marvel at the ingenuity and determination that made such a feat possible.
Of course, you should not miss the town’s biggest attraction – the sandy beaches of Terracina. The beaches in Terracina are fully arranged for relaxation – there is everything you need for complete comfort: deck chairs, umbrellas, showers, playgrounds, locker rooms, rental of various water boats, discos, etc. You can also explore diving skills and dive into the fascinating underwater world.
Finally, if you still have plenty of time to spare, you might want to take a short ferry ride to the nearby Pontine Islands, Ponza in particular. The islands offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of both Rome and Terracina. There is not much to see on the island in terms of man-made attractions but the stunning beaches and marvelous landscape more than make up for it.