Sabaudia is situated in the Pontine Region, a vast plain south of Rome, once a marshland and, throughout the centuries, an object of numerous attempts to reclaim and transform the wild and inhospitable territory into a welcoming, fertile land. It appears that even Leonardo Da Vinci elaborated plans to drain the marshes. It was only in the ‘20s and ‘30s that the project became reality. From that day, Sabaudia has become an important tourist center, thanks to its splendid architecture and breathtaking landscapes, and a renowned seaside resort. The most remarkable and astounding aspect of the town of Sabaudia is, most certainly, its architecture and composition of its urban spaces: its uniformly rectangular squares, the simplicity and linearity of the architectural configuration; the volumes of the buildings reminiscent of the rationalism movement of the thirties. Though a young town, Sabaudia offers the possibility of visiting historical sites and in particular prehistoric and Roman remains. Numerous finds have been made during the centuries in the southern part of the Pontine plain, the most important of which remains the discovery of a Neanderthal man skull in the Guattari Cave on Mount Circeo in 1936. With the expansion of the Roman Empire, the area around Lake Paola witnessed a flourish of building: villas, a necropolis, bridges, road and walls. Patricians spent their holiday here, fascinated by the beauty and tranquillity of the landscape. Emperor Domiziano built a majestic villa in the locality of Palazzo ( 81-96 B.C. ). Within the building are situated: a small theatre, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, collective facilities and a bathing area with an annexed thermal spa. During the excavation of 1700 a beautiful statue of Apollo ( today in the Kassel Museum, Germany ) and one of a Satyr playing flute ( in the Vatican Museum, Rome ) were found. Nearby Domiziano’s Villa (on the south-east side of Lake Paola) are the remains of Casarina, a Roman villa converted into a convent in medieval times. Along the road that takes you to Torre Paola is the Piscina Lucullo, a pool for breeding fish. Roman Colombari ( rows of niches in a cemetery ) are within immediate reach. Directly beside the 17th century Torre Paola, is the portcanal that connects the lake to the sea. Nero initiated it in his outstanding plan to join Rome to Naples through the use of coastal lakes and canals. 26 meters high on Mount Circeo, overlooking the lake and the sea, is Torre Paola, ordered by Pope Paul III as part of defensive system which involved the entire coast of the ancient Papal State. Further west, behind the promontory of the Casarina, is the Lucullo mineral spring, situated in a cave in the middle of a wooded depression, which is a great visual impact. Again on Lake Paola, but near the center of town, is the medieval Church of Santa Maria Della Sorresca, a small edifice of the VI century, built on the remains of a Roman villa dating back to the 1st century B.C.
The economy of Sabaudia is mostly based on agriculture due the presence of numerous farms in its territory. The cultivation is mainly represented by fruit and vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, courgetes, aubergines, melons, water melons, kiwis and grapes which are used by local producers for remarkable wines. Peculiar is the production of bananas, a unique case in the old world ( Europe ), in a purposely re-created tropical environment. Appreciated all over, and particulary in Northern Europe, is the production of mediterranean and tropical flowers such a orchids and bougainvilleas. Cattle breeding is also widespread: in fact, the very emblem of this marshland is the buffalo. Buffalo mozzarella is the best known and appreciated cheese produced in the area, together with provola, caciocavallo and ricotta. The lack of a port does not favour fishing, but Sabaudia has an excellent production of mussels, clams and oysters in the brackish water of the lakes
It is certainly difficult to talk about a gastronomic tradition, as Sabaudia is a very young town; surely, though, we can speak of a “local” gastronomy. It originates from the families from Ciociaria, already present in the area, and those coming from the North of Italy ( Veneto, Friuli and Emilia Romagna ) who first inhabited the reclaim land. Furthermore, the ‘60s brought a new richness and variety to the community cuisine, with a new wave of emigration from Campania and Sicily. Therefore, we can consider as typical: polenta “lenta” served with various meat and “osei” ( game ) suaces, or fried with bacon and salami; cappelletti and tortellini cooked in a broth or with bolognese sauce; fettuccine with a tomato sauce or “alla boscaiola” with minced sausage and pasta with beans. Among the meat dishes: lamb ( cooked in a wood oven with potatoes ), pork and grilled luganeghe. The tourist development of the town has brought with it an increased number of marine dishes: anchovies, grey mullet, cod, bass, gilt bream, clams, octopus and various shellfishes. As for vegetables: artichokes “alla giudia”, courgettes, grilled peppers, aubergines “al funghetto” and “alla parmigiana”. Among the confectionary: Sicilian cannoli, Neapolitan pastiera, baba and puff-pastries. Typical carnival pasties are “frappe” and “castagnole”.