Number of communes: 4
Area: 8,484 hectares
Via Carlo Alberto 107, Sabaudia (LT), tel. 0773 511386
The Circeo National Park is easily reached from the north by taking the SS 148 from Rome (the Pontina road) and driving south after Latina. Coming from the south, you take the Domiziana state road.
The Circeo was originally an island that became linked to the mainland by the accumulation of detritus from water courses and the cordons of dunes that were its earlier mainland link. It looks like a gigantic fan resting on a six-by-two kilometre plain, with ten little peaks, the highest of which (Picco di Circe) is 541 m above sea level. The park lies in a south-east and north-west direction. Topographically it is divided into four “quarters” but is substantially in two parts, the Quarto Caldo and the Quarto Freddo, where the chief environmental differences of the promontory are concentrated and highlighted.
The marked paths leaving from the Visitor Centre and the numerous forest paths (many of them suitable for bicycles) help visitors to explore the park.
The Wildlife Area, where some of the most typical local fauna are kept in captivity, is particularly interesting. So also is the Museum, which gives a good, clearly set out overview of the park’s functions and its different sections. The best seasons for visiting the park are spring and autumn when the weather is mild and the scenery is a fresco of bright and pastel colours.
The Quarto Freddo, so-called because it is exposed to the north-west, where the high Mediterranean maquis (the “forteto”) thrives, and the Quarto Caldo, exposed to the south and covered with maquis of shrubs with leathery leaves, are on the Circeo promontory. The wildlife in the park consists of boars, squirrels, foxes, porcupines, wild rabbits, polecats, hedgehogs, hares, weasels, stone-marten and badgers. The deer and the wolf disappeared at the end of the nineteenth century. There are numerous kinds of nesting birds including the tree-creeper, the hobby, the pecchiaiolo falcon and a number of woodpeckers such as the green woodpecker and the greater and lesser red varieties.