Terracina Travel Guide + 6 Things To Do In Terracina
Terracina Travel Guide + 6 Things To Do In Terracina was originally published in June 2020
Back in 2018, I spent three months based out of Terracina. It’s the perfect little seaside town situated halfway between Rome and Naples on the Tyrrhenian Sea coast. Popular with weekenders from Rome and Naples, it can get quite crowded in July and August, but come early fall or late spring and it feels like you have the place to yourself.
Terracina has a long history, dating back over 2,500 years, inhabited by the Volsci, an enemy of ancient Rome. By 312 BC Terracina would become of significant importance as the Via Appia was constructed, a strategic Roman road that would connect Rome to Brindisi. The Via Appia initially crossed through the hills behind Terracina and then made a steep descent out to avoid the Pontine Marshes that surrounded the city as the Pisco Montano, a jagged promontory prevented passage down lower along the sea. Under the Roman emperor Trajan, who ruled from 98-117 AD, a 36 meter cut was made by slaves into the rockface, allowing traffic to flow through rather than taking the old route through the mountains. After the alteration of the land, Terracina saw some of its early waves of development.
Looking for more off the beaten path Italy? Check out 20 off the beaten path destinations in Italy
Things To Do In Terracina
Terracina Alta is the Centro Storico or old city of Terracina. It climbs a rolling hill that continues up to the Temple of Jupiter Anzur. There are several narrow passageways leading to the Piazza Municipio from Via Roma, the main road that cuts through the city. Wanding the cobblestone streets and under Roman archways to view medieval buildings is a highlight of Terracina. Inside the old city, you’ll find the ruins of the Forum Roma, the Museo Civico, and the San Cesario Cathedral. For more info on the different routes through the Terracina Alta, maps and information, click here.
Terracina had a long beachfront that stretches from the harbor on toward San Felice Circeo, backed by the Lungomargo, the Terracina promenade. Hanging out on the beach in Terracina was one of my favorite things to do when breaking for the afternoon, or to catch the sunset. Don’t forget to jump in and have a swim in the Tyrrhenian Sea while you’re here. I found it still warm enough in September and October. November brought rain and storms which kept me off the beach for the most part.
Don’t Miss nearby Sperlonga, Lazio’s most gorgeous coastal town
Temple of Jupiter Anzur
The ruins of the ancient Roman Temple of Jupiter Anzur overlook Terracina from a cliff. You can reach the temple either by driving or walking up the Via Anzur that brings you to a parking lot, or (my favorite) was to walk up through the Terracina Alta and meandering to the Via Panoramico that surrounds the Villa Romana and taking the Anzur hiking trail through the forest to the Temple of Jupiter Anzur. For more info on the Anzur Temple, click here.
It’s 6€ to enter the ruins of the Anzur Temple to explore the temple basement and couple ruins that remain. I recommend visiting in the afternoon that way you can catch sunset on the way down from the temple with gorgeous views down onto Terracina in the changing light.
The Piazza Garibaldi is the perfect spot to head in the evening, especially in summer, where quite a bit of the Terracina nightlife goes on. Several bars, fast food counters, and cafes are sat along the semicircle piazza.
The Via Appia
As mentioned earlier, a 36 meter cut was made to push back a cliff’s edge to route the via Appia through Terracina and along the coast. You can walk the Via Appia east, out of Terracina to visit the Pisco Montano and marvel at the effort that went into this ancient project.
The Terracina Canals
From the Terracina Harbor, a canal cuts through and continues northwestward along the Via Appia. You’ll see small boats moored all along, especially in downtown Terracina behind the harbor. The Terracina Canals date back to the 16th century when Terracina and other surrounding communities suffered many outbreaks of malaria due to their proximity to the Pontine Marshes. Under Pope Pius VI a process began to build canals to dewater the marshes to alleviate the malaria outbreaks. The project was never really finished until the 1930s under Benito Mussolini when the Pontine Marshes were successfully drained to increase the amount of arable land in the Latina Region.
Along the canal, you’ll find the Terracina Fish Market, as well as several of the city’s seafood restaurants.
Looking for a great day hike near Terracina? Check out the Mount Circeo Hike
Where To Stay In Terracina
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Affitticamare Piazza Mazzini
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What To Eat In Terracina
Mozzarella di Bufala: Mozzarella made of Italian water buffalo milk originated in Campania and Southern Lazio. Locally produced Terracina Mozzarella di Bufala some will argue is the best. Pop into any deli in town in the earlier part of the day and order Mozzarella di Bufala (you can expect a single ball of cheese to cost about 2€). Your delicatessen to have a bucket that he’ll spoon each mozzarella ball from and place in a bag along with the milk of the cheese. The cheese is tender and smooth and flavorful, and I miss it so (I’ve yet to have a decent Mozzarella di Bufala back home in the US).
Spaghetti alle Vongole: A specialty pasta with clams. Given Terracina’s location on the coast, this is a common dish.
Terracina Fragole: Famous for their sweet taste, Terracina strawberries are grown all around in plantations around the city.
Antipasto di Mare: Another coastal specialty of several seafood dishes.
Best Restaurants In Terracina
Pizzeria Punta Gialo
Super Pizza & Kebab
Hosteria La Murracia
Bottega Sarra 1932
Gelataria Fontana Blu
How To Get To Terracina
Getting to Terracina is simple if you have your own transport so I’m going to focus on train and bus.
By Train: Terracina does have a defunct train station, that now serves as a bus pick up where Trenitalia buses depart and arrive from nearby Priverno-Fossanova Trainstation where you can get on the main Rome-Naples line. A fast route I took all the time to get back to Terracina was to book a train ticket between Rome or Naples to Monte S. Biagio Trainstation. From Monte S. Biagio Trainstation there are fairly frequent Cotral buses which I’ll talk about below, to Terracina.
By Bus: Bus Cotral services Terracina as well as the rest of Lazio province. If hopping between nearby communities such as Sabaudia, San Felice Circeo, Sperlonga, Itri, Formia, and Gaeta the bus is the way to go. Buying Cotral tickets is a bit of a pain in the arse- you’ll need to find tabacci (cigarette shop) or coffee bar, or cafe selling their tickets and purchase for individual rides (if you’re planning to take the bus in the early morning, you’ll want to purchase your ticket the day before!). If you’ll be relying on the bus a lot, especially for several weeks, you can buy Zone Metrebus Lazio monthly passes, which is what I did (I purchased mine from the coffee bar at the Terracina Trainstation). The main “stations” in Terracina, if you will are on Via Napoli near the train station, and the Via Roma Bus Stop along Piazzale Ennio Palmacci.
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