Coastal town in the province of Rome, located between the Agro Romano and Agro Pontino areas, whose origins are linked to those of the nearby Anzio: Antium, the Volscian capital, which used to include part of the territory of Neptune. The area was colonized by the Romans in 338 B.C., while after the decline of the Empire and the subsequent barbarian invasions, which determined the fade out of the influence of the rich Roman city of Antium, a new urban center was built around the ancient temple of Poseidon, from who the city takes its name. In the Middle Ages it was a fief of the Counts of Tusculum, and belonged to the monks of Grottaferrata, the Orsini and the Frangipane. Later the fief passed to the Colonna, then to the Borgias, the Carafa and finally returned to the Colonna that ruled here until 1564, when it was assigned to the Apostolic Chamber. In this period Nettuno became the quintessential residential area for families of the most powerful cardinals in Rome, that built here their luxurious mansions.
Sites of Interest:
- the Astura Tower, built in the XII century, by Frangipane, on the ruins of an ancient Roman port, still partly visible. A pentagonal shaped building, made of clay bricks, surrounded by water and connected to the mainland only by an arched bridge;
- the XVI century Sangallo Fortress, built by Antonio Sangallo at the behest of Cesare Borgia, in defense of what was then called "the breadbasket of Lazio." It features a quadrangular shaped plant with four corner towers and a central keep. Today it houses a rich Antiquarium, as well as a museum documenting the Allied landing during WWII, on the shores of Neptune;
- the Medieval town, the ancient main center, built within massive defensive walls and guarded by watch towers. It is characterized by narrow and picturesque streets, onto which overlook typical medieval buildings and noble palaces, like the Baron's Palace, the Palazzo Doria Pamphili and the Collegiate Church of San Giovanni Battista, originally built on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple entitled to Neptune;
- the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace and St. Maria Goretti, built in 1914 by the Passionists and preserves the mortal remains of St. Maria Goretti and a statue of the Madonna delle Grazie, brought here from England and bound for Naples, it survived the iconoclastic fury of Henry VIII;
- Villa Borghese (also known as Villa Costaguti or Villa Bell'Aspetto), was built in 1648 by Cardinal Vincenzo Costaguti. In 1818 it was sold to Don Giovanni Torlonia and, shortly thereafter, to Prince Camillo Borghese, husband of Pauline Bonaparte Borghese, whose Family are still the owners of the splendid villa, surrounded by a lush park;
- the American War Cemetery in Nettuno.