Do not be fooled by the heavenly charm of this promontory that overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a place populated by legends: we are in fact on the slopes of Monte Circeo, specifically in the basin of the Gulf of Gaeta, or rather in the lands of the sorceress Circe.
Among the spells of Circeo and the Pontine Islands
According to legend, the Circeo National Park is the kingdom of Circe the Witch. She is the one who transformed Ulysses and his companions into pigs, and kept them hostage for one year amongst the ravines where the sea foams.
“We have arrived here, to the island Eèa where Circe lived, with her beautiful curls - the singing mighty diva who was Eta's sister, the lord of a ferocious mind". (Odyssey, Canto X, vv. 135-137)
It is not a coincidence that when seen from afar, Circeo has the shape of a sleeping woman. The two halves into which it is divided are very different from one another: the northern part, called "Quarto freddo", is characterized by a humid climate, while in the southern part, also known as the "Quarto caldo”, the area is perpetually exposed to the sun.
On the slopes there are several historical settlements - the remains of Circeii, (acropolis and megali-thic walls) and the historic center of San Felice Circeo. There are also and numerous caves including the Guattari Cave (accessible only by special permission) where the paleontologist Alberto Carlo Blanc discovered one of the first remains of the Neanderthal Man in the 1930’s. Trekking along the mountain offers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Gaeta and the Ponziane archipelago, whose ef-fect is certainly "bewitching".
Gaeta, which is an extreme southern offshoot of the province of Latina, marks the borderline of the gulf surrounded by suggestive islands and caves. First of all, we find the the Grotta del Turco which is accessed by a spiral staircase near the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity. In front of us, we find Ponza, Ventotene, Palmarola, SantoStefano, Zannone and the Scoglio di Gavi, which are all real paradises of naturalistic tourism, and connected to one other. They are also reachable from the ports of Terracina and Formia.
We are truly shocked by the beauty of these places - which we believe to be the work of the sorceress Circe! We can only feel solidarity with Ulysses and his crew!
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