Terracina is undoubtedly a popular tourist destination due to its long and lovely beaches, but we can guarantee you that it is much more than that. Terracina is a hidden jewel with hidden historical and architectural treasures, but in order to find them, we must leave the coast and climb a little higher, into the city’s ancient quarter.
In fact, Terracina’s urban structure is divided into two parts: the bottom section dates from the Roman era, while the higher part, which houses the necropolis, contains much older evidence.
CORSO ANITA GARIBALDI
Walking through the charming streets of Terracina’s historic center once you’ve reached the higher reaches of the city will be a true pleasure. After passing through one of the town’s entrance gates (we used the Porta Romana), you’ll find yourself wandering down Corso Anita Garibaldi, Terracina’s main street, where you’ll see Renaissance houses and eighteenth-century structures.
Continuing along Terracina’s main road, we arrive at the Emilian Forum, where the village’s activity takes place now, as it did in the past.
We’ve arrived in Piazza del Municipio, a charming square with original flooring of big slabs dating from the first century BC and a view of the old Cathedral of San Cesareo, also known as the Cathedral of Terracina. The construction dates from the 5th to 6th centuries BC, however, it has been restored over the years.
The historic Via Appia’s paving and pavement, which previously defined the Emilian Forum, are still intact.
You go along another enormous architectural monument, the Capitolium of Terracina, or what remains of the temple devoted to the Capitoline triad Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, just before entering the ancient forum, and thus into the magnificent Piazza Municipio. The structure appears to date from the first part of the first century BC.
TEATRO ROMANO 🏟
Continuing along the Via Appia, you may see a little portion (the entrance) of what was formerly Terracina’s Roman theater, which was discovered during WWII bombing reconstructions. It was built in two phases: an older one dating from around the 1st century B.C., and a later remake during the imperial period.
TEMPIO DI GIOVE
Via San Franceso Nuova is the road that connects the higher and lower parts of Terracina. This route climbs all the way up to Monte Sant’Angelo and the Temple of Jupiter in Terracina, another must-see stop on this Roman itinerary. It stands 210 meters above sea level and commands a panoramic view of Terracina.
The Roman structure, dedicated to Jupiter, protector of Anxur (ancient Terracina), dates back to around the 1st century B.C. and is divided into three levels as seen today:
- the upper terrace, Campo Trincerato, built for defensive purposes;
- the intermediate terrace with the Grand Temple of the Oracle and the Grand Temple;
- the last terrace, also known as the Small Temple
IL CASTELLO DI FRANGIPANE
Among the sights to see in Terracina, the Frangipane castle is another medieval structure worth seeing. Starting in the 10th century, it was constructed to defend the city. Only the central keep and a portion of the south wing remain today.