a VirtualTourist member from Ithaca
We are planning a trip to this area and want to pick a town with train access as well as bus to explore the region. We cannot tell by all the different postings for apartments which town will offer the easiest transport as we will not have the convenience of a car. We also are interested in being in an historical city or town. Would appreciate any help and information.
I haven't been in any of the three towns, but having lived in Lazio, let me tell you what I "know".
Terracina has a train station...but not many trains stop there. It appears to be on the end of a spur, so no surprise there.
Sperlonga's station shows up in www.trenitalia.com as "Fondi-Sperlonga"...but it's really in Fondi, which is 10-15 kilometers away. I haven't checked but it would be normal that there would be bus service from Fondi to Sperlonga timed to the train service. Using Rome as a measuring point of how busy the station is, I see that there are trains from Rome to Fondi-Sperlonga about once an hour (the trip is an hour and ten minutes, not counting the bus ride). This is reasonably frequent service for small towns outside of Rome. Note that this is for a weekday; Sundays and holidays may have reduced service (this is true all over Italy for commuter type trains).
Gaeta does not have a train station, but it is literally next door to Formia, which does have a station. Formia has the busiest station of the lot, with multiple trains per hour from Rome, including regional, fast regional ("regionale veloce"), and IC (InterCity). These IC trains may be of interest to you because while they are more expensive, they provide a direct way not only to go north to Rome (as the regionals do), but also south to Naples. From Sperlonga and Terracina, you would have to make at least one change to do the same. That is, there are only three stops on the typical IC train from Rome to Naples, and Formia is one of them.
Gaeta/Formia is probably the most cosmopolitan of the lot (which may not be saying a lot), since Gaeta is currently used as the home port for the flagship of the United States' Sixth Fleet. This helps explain why the transportation links are better from Formia.
OK...now maybe someone will talk to you about which town is the most interesting to be in ;-)
As Bill noted, Sperlonga's station is really in Fondi. Here's the bus timetable for the link between the two:
Cotral buses run between Rome and all 3 locations, with Gaeta having by far the most frequent service:
There are also local bus operators,such as:
Sperlonga is basically a summer resort village (pop. in the few-1Ks) while Gaeta and Terracina are small towns (pop. in the few-10Ks). Gaeta, on the Naples-Rome main train line via Formia Station, is a little richer in history and is probably more convenient for traveling outside the local area. On the other side, Terracina, a cheerful coastal town, is more centrally located to visit the top sights of the area, namely the Circeo Park, the towns of San Felice Circeo and the Ponza Island.
Note distances are small and you will not go wrong in either cases. In general I would pick Terracina if planning staying around the local area, Gaeta if wanting to travel a little further.
Enjoy your travel!
Thanks so much for the wonderful information none of which I could have gotten anywhere else. I really appreciate all the input it certainly will help us make our decision.