I stayed in Anzio in early March 2015 for three nights. I was unlucky with the weather as it rained for most of the time and it got quite chilly in the evenings.
I stayed at the shabby Hotel La Bussola www.labussolahotelanzio.com (€70 a night in 2015) which I hesitate to recommend due to its minimal breakfast (cardboard cornflakes, cappuccino and croissant), thin walls, very weak Wi-Fi signal (except on the ground floor) and a cramped bathroom which floods when you have a shower.
However, I put up with all this because, according to a teacher, there are no better hotels in the centre of town and I like to be relatively near all the places I want to check out. It’s also about ten minutes’ walk from the station, if you know where you’re going. Google map here.
Most people know the town for the Battle of Anzio; the bungled Allied landings towards the end of WW2 when the attackers failed to capitalise on their advantage of surprise.
Over several weeks of fighting, the old town was completely destroyed and over eighty thousand people were either killed or wounded between the two sides. Large British and American military cemeteries stand testimony nearby.
As a result there are no old buildings still standing but the town still retains some charm due to its seaside location and in the summer a few tourists come to enjoy the small beaches.
I did spot this nice Moorish influenced residence on the seafront at 12 Rivera Mallozzi.
And I quite liked the dolphins on the window lintels of this house, but that was about it in terms of architecture.
West of the harbour you’ll find Ponente Beach
Here you can see the ruins of Emperor Nero’s summer villa which was built into the cliffs, incorporating some of the natural sea caves into its structure.
Legend has it that one of these caves was extended to form a tunnel all the way to Rome, to be used as an escape route should the Emperor need to leave the capital quickly. This is unlikely though as Rome is almost fifty kilometers away and no archaeologist has ever been able to prove that it existed.
Looking out to over the waves you can see the island of Palmarola (I think) in the distance, part of the Pontine Archipelago. You can just see it on the horizon in this picture.
I wanted to take a trip to Ponza, the main island, but sadly the ferries don’t run from Anzio in the winter so I left it for another day.
Anzio is famous for its fishing industry and a fleet of trawlers operates out of the harbour. It’s a principal source of seafood for Rome and it’s rapacious restaurants.
In the afternoon when the catch has been landed, fresh fish, shrimp and crustaceans can be bought on the quayside directly from the fishermen.
There was lots of interesting sea life on display when I went, including these pink sea eels which I’d never seen before.
So Anzio is definitely a good spot to eat seafood, more of which in my next post on Eating and Drinking. If I’d had longer I’d have walked east along the shore line to Nettuno which I’m told also has some nice fish restaurants.
In conclusion then, Anzio is a nice enough place for a short stay and I’d happily come back. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to return one day as there’s still a bit of work for us English teachers to do.