The story of the fresco in the cloister

What’s that fresco painted on the walls of the old cloister in Sperlonga?

Read this if you want to be prepared while planning your wine tour in Sperlonga

When you walk through the alleys of the old Sperlonga village you’ll be surprised by a very characteristic “piazzetta” with a tiny old well in the middle.

That’s part of the very first building in the old town. It was the monastery built from the Benedictine monks in the 1100 A.D.

Pirati, Murales, Barbarossa, Giulia Gonzaga, Sperlonga Wine Tour
What’s the story behind that fresco?


On one side a big fresco covering the white walls will catch your attention.
It’s more like an old comic, with different scenes telling the story of the invasion of the pirates in 1534 in drawings and verses.
The fresco is not very old, it might have been painted in the 1960s by an unknown artist.

But it tells a true story.

At the dawn of a warm and sunny august day, in 1534, a pirate’s fleet driven by the terrible Khayr ad-Din, known in Italy as “Il Barbarossa” (the Readbeard) landed in Sperlonga. He had been charged by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to take him the best italian treasures and kidnap the most beautiful italian girl: the princess Giulia Gonzaga. She was born in Modena but was living in Fondi after he had married the count Vespasiano Colonna.
Il Barbarossa used to destroy everything he found on his way.
So when he ordered some “sperlongano” to show him the way to the Princess’ castle in Fondi and told him he would have spared his family and house, the man did not even think about that and took him to Fondi.
Fortunately, when the pirates reached Fondi the princess Giulia wasn’t there anymore. She had been warned by her faithful servants and could run away through a hidden tunnel from her castle.
She was beautiful and clever!

Have a look at that piazzetta and take a picture by the well!

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