2. Route. 21
(Hor. Sat. I. 5, 34). When the beautiful Countess Giulia Gonzaga
resided in the castle here, in 1534, she narrowly escaped being
captured during the night by the audacious pirate Haireddin Bar-
barossa, who purposed conveying her to the sultan Soliman II.
Exasperated by his failure he vented his wrath on the town . as
an inscription in the church records. The town was once' more
destroyed by the Turks in 1594. It is surrounded by a wall in
the ancient polygonal style. The Goth, church of S. Maria is in
a very dilapidated condition. In the Dominican monastery is a
chapel in which Thomas Aquinas taught theology. The town pre¬
sents a gloomy aspect, and like Itri (see below) was for centuries
reputed as a haunt of brigands.
Beyond Fondi the road traverses the plain for 3 M., after
which it ascends Monte S. Andrea through mountain ravines.
where additional horses are necessary. It then descends to the
poor town of Itri, with a ruined castle, once so notorious for the
robberies there committed. The road is now guarded by pickets
of gensdarmes. Here it was that the robber-chief Marco SeiaTra
promised a safe conduct and protection to the poet Tasso; Fra
Diavolo (whose real name was Michele Pozza) was also a native
of Itri. He was at last captured by the French near Salerno and
executed. Anecdotes are still related of this daring brigand, and
Washington Irving's sketch "the inn of Terracina", the foundation
of Auber's opera, has greatly contributed to maintain their interest.
A mountainous path, to the r. of Itri, leads in 2>|4 hrs. to the fishing
village of Sperlonga, situated on a sandy promontory, and deriving its name
from the grottoes (speluncae) in the neighbouring rocks. In one of these,
as Tacitus informs us (An. IV. 59: "vescebantur in villa cui vocabulum
Spelunc8e, mare Amyclseum inter et Fundanos montes, native in specu"),
Sejanus saved the life of Tiberius which was imperilled by a falling rock.
On the way to the grotto Roman ruins are observed, and in the grotto
itself, benches, partitions and stucco ornaments. The excursion may best
he made by boat from Gaeta, from which it is 9'|2 M. distant.
From Itri the road descends for some distance on galleries,
and finally between woods and vineyards towards the coast, re¬
vealing an exquisite *view of the bay of Gaeta, with its glittering
villas and other edifices; in the distance Ischia and Procida; still
further off the blue mountains which enclose the bay of Naples
and the well-known outline of Mt. Vesuvius.
As the traveller proceeds he will perceive to the r., in the
middle of a vineyard, on a square base, a massive round tower,
believed to be * Cicero's Tomb. It was in this neighbourhood, not
far from his Formianum, that the proscribed orator, who sought
to elude the pursuit of the triumvirs Octavian, Antony and Le-
pidus, was murdered by the tribunes Heremius and Popilius
Lsenas. Dec. 7th, B. C. 43, in the 64th year of his age. On a
height above the road may be traced the foundations of a temple