On the trail of Homer's myth

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"... Thence we sailed on… and we came to the isle of Aeaea, where dwelt fair-tressed Circe, a dread goddess of human speech" (Odyssey, Book X).
A suggestive itinerary covers the people and places recounted by Homer, as we embark on a journey to discover the myth through evocation, archaeological sites, and nature. Indeed, on their return from the Trojan War, various figures from the Homeric account travelled Lazio's coastline from Lavinio to the Riviera of Ulysses and the Pontine Islands.
We begin by following Aeneas, who before reaching Lavinio stopped at Gaeta, where he lost his wet-nurse Cajeta; and Corax of Argo or Dardanus, who gave rise to the foundation of Cori; Ulysses, who moored his ships in the Gulf of Gaeta, took on water at the fons Artakie spring, and ran into the terrible Laestrygonians, cannibal giants.

Gaeta, with its gulf, is a splendid beach town of ancient origins. It is worth a visit: in addition to its gorgeous beaches and the sea that has earned Oasi Blu honours, are the Riviera of Ulysses Regional Park, Grotta del Turco (the "Turk's grotto"), and the Montagna Spaccata shrine.
The visitor should also taste a tiella from Gaeta.

From Gaeta we continue on to Sperlonga, one of the Ancient Romans' favourite vacation spots. Its sea is still one of Italy's most pristine. Here visitors may admire Villa della Grotta di Tiberio and the nearby National Archaeological Museum.

Continuing in Odysseus's footsteps we reach Terracina, where he buried his friend Elpenor. Known to the ancients as Anxur, it is now one of Lazio's major tourism centres. Rising on the summit of Mount Sant'Angelo are the constructions of the famous Temple of Jupiter Anxur, which has been declared a natural monument.
In Terracina, the visitor may also savour the area's typical wine: Moscato di Terracina.

From Terracina, Odysseus made his way to San Felice Circeo, stopping at Mount Circeo, the mythical residence of the sorceress Circe, where he lived years of love with her. Once there, several sites are worth a visit: San Felice Circeo's caves, which for millennia have conserved truly exciting finds and remains, such as the human skull from the Neanderthal period, on display at the permanent Homo sapiens et Habitat exhibition; the Circeo National Park, on foot or by bike; and the nearby Lake Sabaudia, all the way to Lake Fogliano, a sanctuary for migrating birdlife.
Typical of the area is the wine Circeo doc.

We follow Odysseus's travels to Anzio, which owes its name to Anteios, one of his sons borne by the sorceress Circe.
A town famed for the landing of British and American troops during the last World War, Anzio is above all one of Italy's most ancient cities, as documented by the archaeological remains that confirm its presence as early as 150.000 years ago.
The typical dishes of the locations are based on fish.


From the beach of San Felice Circeo, looking towards Mount Circeo, we can make out the profile of the sorceress Circe as if she were lying on her back: her long hair immersed in the sea, her face, with forehead and hooked nose, her neck and breast.


Map's detail






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