Imagine being surrounded by the Apennine mountain range on one side and the Tyrrhenian sea on the other as you drive along of the coast of Latina, a province in the region of Lazio along the central western coast of Italy. This seemed like the perfect day trip to me.
Latina is rich in agriculture and has an array of beautiful sandy beaches. And so, we departed from Anzio (about an hour outside of Rome) around midday. Along our travels I remember spotting a preserved area that was marked by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and then we entered the Circeo National Park where we were greeted by a herd of buffalo.From there we continued our drive down the scenic route and stumbled upon Ernesto Takeaway in Mezzomonte where we feasted on luscious local seafood such as fritto misto and Cruditè at their freshest. This is another example of street food at its best! Their site features a beautiful Napoletano song in the background called “La rumba degli scugnizzi” by Sergio Bruni that speaks of young men growing up on the streets of Napoli.
After lunch we took a drive to Sperlonga. The center of the town was quite charming with endless stone staircases and intimate passageways. Finally, it was time to relax in the sun and take a swim. We remained on the beach until well after 6 pm and then decided to have dinner at Gaeta.
I have always wanted to visit Gaeta because of the Gaeta olive. Gaeta is a charming, seaside medieval town. The olives from this area are violet in color and have a wine-like flavor if they are pickled. When they are salt cured their flesh becomes wrinkled and darkens to black. These olives are cultivated in the Aurinci Mountain territories.
We had dinner at narì, a short walk inland from the seaside that specializes in cucina tipica Gaetana. First, there was tiella. Tiella is similar to a pizza but is covered by an upper crust, more like a savory pie. Traditionally tiella is filled with local seafood or spinach. I ordered a tiella filled with octopus and tomatoes, but I ate mine so fast that I forgot to take a photo. The second course consisted of spaghetti with tomatoes, gaeta olives and white anchovies and paccheri (large tube pasta) with red wine-braised octopus and radicchio. Both were devine!