Sperlonga is a coastal town about half way between Rome and Naples. Surrounding towns include Terracina to the West, Fondi to the North, Itri to the North-East, and Gaeta to the East. Sperlonga was an ancient Roman resort: Emperor Tiberius built here a famous villa, including one of the grottoes which gave the name to the town. Later the population began to move to the nearby promontory of St Magnus, in order to escape the unhealthy marshes and the Saracen attacks. In 1534 the small centre was destroyed by Barbarossa. The villa included a grotto where some noteworthy sculptures, now housed in the museum, have been found: these portrayed the assault of Scylla to Odysseus’ ship, the blinding of Polyphemus, the theft of the Palladium and Odysseus lifting Achilles’ corpse. The works have been attributed to Rhodian sculptors Hegesandros, Athenedoros, and Polydoros.
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