Visiting Circeo National Park

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One of the oldest national parks in Italy, Circeo National Park is located along the Tyrrhenian coast between Anzio and Terracina. Major towns within the park include Latina, Ponza (Zannone Island), Sabaudia, and San Felice Circeo. Circeo Park is one of Italy’s countless wonders from its natural beauty to its history dating back to prehistoric times.

The Park’s History

Traces of human presence in this area date back to the Middle Paleolithic period and exciting discoveries began being uncovered in the 1930s. The park was officially founded in 1934. Numerous caves that had been sealed by landslides over thousands of years had been keeping the area’s secrets until fairly recently. A perfectly preserved skull of a Neanderthal man was one of the many findings! There are sixteen specific sites- with dates ranging from prehistoric to Roman, to the 15th century- where visitors can see the various caves and grottoes first-hand.

There are five distinct habitats that make up the park: the dunes, wetlands, forest, Zannone Island, and the promontory. The dunes can reach up to 27 meters tall along the beautiful coast in the park. Fine, golden sand attracts tourists and beachgoers during the summer months, but if you have the chance to visit in the spring, you’ll see the natural flora of the dunes come to life. The dunes are of course a protected habit on both a national level and European as well.


3,300 hectares make up the forest area which is a very unique flatland forest. Here you’ll find “pools” which are swampy areas and “lestre” which are areas where villages once stood. The forest can be visited year-round and, like the rest of the park, there are numerous hiking and cycling trails. Each season offers its own unique experience of flora and fauna.

The Promontory

The promontory is the symbol of Circeo National Park. Jutting into the sky at over 540 meters high, this calcareous rock mass is quite impressive. It’s not surprising that it would be the source of many myths and legends. In fact, it’s said that Ulysses himself docked his ship at the Cala dei Pescatori where he and his men were seduced by Circe’s bewitching powers. 

The Wetlands

The wetlands run parallel to the dunes and are made up of four lakes and lagoons which become flooded during the wet season. This is a birdwatcher’s paradise since over 200 different species of birds have been spotted here! It’s the perfect environment for migratory birds.

Zannone Island- Pontine Islands

Last but not least, we come to the island of Zannone, part of the Pontine Islands. So why was it the only island of the archipelago to be incorporated into Circeo National Park? Because it is unique in that it is not only composed of volcanic rock but also of sedimentary and metamorphic rock. It became part of the park in 1979, after confirming the discoveries of unique flora and fauna species. In the 1920’s mouflons (wild sheep) were brought from Sardinia and have continued to thrive here under protected status. 

Don’t Miss

There are numerous trails that range in difficulty for trekking and biking. Visitors who want to get the most out of their experience should visit the Visitor Center in Sabaudia (open from 9 am to 1 pm beginning May 1st). They can advise you on trails and areas that are accessible to guests with disabilities as well. 

While visiting, you won’t want to miss Villa Domiziano located on Lake Paola in Sabaudia within the park. It is an amazing Roman noble villa that is still largely unexcavated! You can see where Emperor Tito Flavio Domiziano enjoyed his days relaxing by the lake in his impressive baths. The visit is by reservation only and you must be accompanied by a guide. 


Another must-see, while you’re in the area, is the village of San Felice Circeo which is on the prestigious list of one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”. Its beaches have been continuously awarded the “blue flag” and the area boasts stunning grottoes, such as Grotta delle Capre, and the 15th-century Torre Paola. 

Circeo National Park is truly one of countless treasures and we know you’ll agree once you visit!

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Useful Info and Sites Before You Visit

Sentiero Tours and Pro Loco Sabaudia

The main entrance to Circeo National Park is located at Via Carlo Alberto, 188 -Sabaudia (Latina) 

The official website is full of great information in English and Italian.

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