Had it not been for the coast road between Sperlonga and Gaeta being closed, we would not have been to Itri. The mountainous route above Sperlonga initially looked daunting for a motorhome as the road was narrow and winding and in places had quite steep drops, however the stunning views made the trip worthwhile – as you can see in the photographs.
The road to Itri follows the Roman Via Appia. Until the construction of the motorway, Itri stood on the main road between Rome and Naples and this is no doubt the reason for the magnificent castle that we see today. This is also the reason for the destruction of much of the medieval city in 1944 which was bombed by Allied aircraft.
The history of the castle goes back to the ninth century although much of what we see today is from the mid thirteenth century. Other than the castle we can see the eleventh century Arabic – Norman church of Saint Michael the Archangel as well as various other medieval military and religious buildings. The thirteenth century Pope, Urban VI, was also from Itri.
Gaeta olives are quite well known in Italy, although they are not strictly speaking from Gaeta but from Itri. On the first Sunday of August, the town celebrates the feast of the Sagra dell'Ulivo which offers tastings alongside traditional folklore singing and dancing. Other traditional dishes include Marzolino cheese, pasta with beans, polenta with sausage ragu, risotto with porcini mushrooms, linguine with asparagus and various game dishes including boar, rabbit, pheasant and quail.