The Temple of Jupiter Anxur, also known as the Sanctuary on Monte Sant’Angelo, was originally inspired by the great architecture of Hellenistic Greece. It is one of a series of ancient sanctuaries in Latium that were rebuilt on a monumental scale during the late Republican period of Ancient Rome, around 150 BC. The Temple sits on a cliff high above the town of Terracina, located 47 miles southeast of Rome on the Tyrrhenian coastline.
The temple’s dual importance is obvious as a strategic and defensive stronghold and a place of worship. During the first century it was also used for military purposes. At the decline of the Roman empire in the 5th century, the site caught fire and burned. Afterward, a Benedictine monastery was built in its place. It was later abandoned in the 16th century.
Since the year 2000 the Temple is protected as a “Natural Monument” in the Lazio Region, and is host to the famous Anxur Lumina Sound and Light show. The temple is open all year long and offers a panoramic cafeteria located inside the archaeological area.
Jupiter (also called Jove) was the King of the Gods and the God of Sky and Thunder in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire.
Jupiter is usually thought to have originated as a sky god. His identifying implement is the thunderbolt, and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army. The two emblems were often combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt, frequently seen on Greek and Roman coins. As the sky-god, he was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. His sacred tree was the oak.
(Halfway between Rome and Naples, perfect for a weekend getaway)
Terracina is snug against the Tyrrhenian Sea on the Riviera of Ulysses; so-called because legend has it that Odysseus sailed through on his travels. Nothing says "Odysseus was here" like Mount Circeo, rising out of the sea like the jagged profile of a reclining witch. The sorceress Circe is said to have lived there, plotting to turn Greek sailors into beasts. This uniquely-shaped rock formation is visible from other towns along the Riviera of Ulysses but Terracina is at just the right distance to create the perfect panorama of sea, sky, and mountain. The Mount Circeo is visible from most points in the city, perhaps none as overwhelming as when you're standing in the sea, looking North. Each evening, the mountain goes up in flames: no two sunsets are ever alike.
Terracina's centro storico has ochre colored houses with green shutters on narrow cobblestone streets. There are the ruins of a mosaic-covered Capitolium and a massive rose colored square. The old quarter's nightspots attract live music fans, tourists, and locals alike.
Don't forget that Terracina is a beach town, so fresh seafood is great here. Restaurants run the gamut from family-run trattorias to seafood shacks and small osterias with young Foodie chefs. Voyagers can enjoy risotto alla pescatora, calamari fritti and spicy boar sausage, while deep-fried filled Zeppole (doughnuts) are eaten hot in the evenings. Terracina hosts a number of sagre (festivals) including a strawberry festival in late Spring, a chestnut festival in the fall, and a muscatel grape festival in late Summer. Terracina's muscatel wine was the wine of Ulysses and still claim to be sweetest in the region.
As for music, there is traditional folk music, Italian reggae, and Italian rap. The Anxur Festival draws the area's best musical acts.
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