Seaside weekend at Sperlonga

A birthday weekend for a friend: we took Friday off, and drove to Sperlonga. It’s a cliff-top whitewashed town halfway between Rome and Naples, and though mid-September, perfect for a beach weekend. We had rented a villa, so we could cook ourselves, and it was clean and very functional, only five minutes walk to the beach. Off course in August it would have been packed, but this was after schools had opened so not very busy. Crystal clear water, perfect to be by the sea.

The old town of Sperlonga is lovely: steep white pedestrian streets that twist and turn, cobblestones, arches, pink bougainvillea, unexpected piazzas and nooks with glimpses of the sea below. We were in the modern part down at sea level, not as pretty but much easier on the knees.

Padre Pio himself. We ambled in for coffee and sfogliatelle one morning, as the pastries are different there from Rome. Here you also get Neapolitan pizza, with the thick crust, which was fab. We bought mozzarella on our way home to Rome, and olives from Gaeta.

I did like this sign in Sperlonga. “Se non vuoi essere complice del COVID-19, continua a rispettare le norme di sicurezza.” (If you don’t want to be complicit with COVID-19, continue to comply with safety regulations.) Messaging is consistent and clear, and people did generally wear masks in public: sometimes under the nose, under the chin or on the elbow, but always ready to pop it on, as you need the mask to enter shops and restaurants.

This lady is shopping from a beachside seller (holding the mirror), who wheels the clothing racks along the waterfront. Lots of space and fresh air, it was a really nice weekend break.