Gaeta is one of the most important seaside resorts in Italy for the beauty of the sea and beaches, but with many things to see and do.
The village is in fact famous not only for its natural and scenic beauty but also for its very important cultural and artistic heritage that make it a perfect destination for a day trip or for a weekend.
- The historical center
- The Angevin-Aragonese Castle
- The Temple of San Francesco
- The Grotta del Turco and the Split Mountain
- The Cathedral of Gaeta
- The beaches and the sea
- Monte Orlando Park and the Mausoleum of Lucio
- The Church of San Giovanni al Mare
- Via Indipendenza and the alleys
- Nearby: Sperlonga
In the past, Gaeta was populated by Auruncis when it became one of the most popular tourist destinations for emperors, consuls and wealthy patricians. After the decline ofRoman Empire it was the turn of the barbarians and Saracens. Then they followed one another Frederick II of Swabia and the papacy, then became the domain of Anjou e Aragonese, and after the proclamation of the Roman Republic in 1848 he hid here Pope Pius IX. It was also a key point of liberation during the Second World War.
The historic center of Gaeta is of medieval origin, also known as Old Gaeta, is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, characterized by scents, colors and flavors that you can taste in the various bars and restaurants where you will find the typical local dishes.
A must visit on Angevin-Aragonese Castle, one of the symbols of the city. The construction seems to date back to the twelfth century, when Frederick II of Swabia, to defend his territory during the war between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, he chose Gaeta for the construction of some fortifications, including the castle. Today, the building consists of two parts: the oldest one dating back to the Angevin era and the more modern one built by Charles V of Habsburg. The two buildings of the Castle are now partly occupied by the Mazzini Barracks of the Guardia di Finanza and partly entrusted to the University of Cassino. Attention, however, it is possible to visit the Castle of Gaeta only in certain periods, inquire first.
In our opinion it is one of the most beautiful churches in the city. It was founded by the patron saint of Italy himself in 1222, at the foot of the Mount Orlando. Charles II of Anjou had it rebuilt a few centuries later and Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies ordered a radical restoration. From the Temple it is also possible to admire a panorama spectacular of the gulf!
Perhaps the most famous place in Gaeta is the Montagna Spaccata and the Grotta del Turco. The first is the western part of Mount Orlando, where the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity. Legend has it that when Jesus Christ died on the cross the veil of the Temple of Jerusalem was torn causing three deep cracks in the rock, hence the name of the Montagna Spaccata di Gaeta. Another legend has it that San Filippo Neri lived inside the Split Mountain, finding refuge on a stone bed now known as the "bed of San Filippo Neri". To the left of the Church, however, is the Cave of the Turk. An enchanting place, reachable with "only" 300 steps, but unfortunately closed to the public for reasons of safety.
The Cathedral is one of the "a hundred asked”, Which is located within the medieval quarter near the port. Dating back to the Late Middle Ages, it is divided into seven naves and is supported by 6 rows of columns Roman, still partially visible today. The extraordinary bell tower stands out for its numerous Western artistic contaminations with Islamic elements.
The sea of Gaeta is famous above all for the light sand, clear sea and the dense Mediterranean vegetation to surround it. Among the beaches of Gaeta that are worth visiting there is certainly:
- La Serapo beach is the main one of Gaeta. Close to the city center and the historic center
- The small one Fontania beach, is located not far from the beach of Serapo, reachable on foot or by swimming
- La 40 Remi beach it is a small beach that can only be reached by boat or by swimming
- La Ariana beach, Blue Flag for its clear waters
- La Arenauta beach it is also known as the Beach of the 300 Steps, the only way to reach it
- La San Vito beach it is located immediately after the small private bay of the Grand Hotel Le Rocce
- La bay of Sant'Agostino, 2 km long and also the busiest.
Do not miss the rounded promontory of Monte Orlando, which ends with a spectacular cliff overlooking the sea. The Regional Urban Park of Monte Orlando, which has an extension of 89 hectares, is a real one trekking paradise and scuba diving. At the top of the Monte Orlando promontory stands the Mausoleum of Lucio Munazio Planco, one of the most impressive Roman mausoleums, miraculously remained intact over time.
Another stop for art lovers is the Church of San Giovanni a Mare, also known as Church of St. Joseph. An authentic jewel hidden in the heart of Gaeta, built using some bare elements, such as the columns, all different from each other, while between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries it was enriched with frescoes and baroque decorations removed after the restoration in 1928.
Moving away from the historic center, another place to visit on foot is Via Indipendenza. Another one characteristic location, full of houses, balconies full of plants, shops, stalls. The ladies still sell their products, sitting on the fruit baskets. During the Christmas period, however, the famous Lights of Gaeta attract young and old. Between many churches the most famous is that of St. James, built by fishermen in the late 1500s, damaged during sieges and bombings and then rebuilt at the end of the twentieth century.
Sperlonga is just over 15 km away motorcycle from Gaeta. It is a small town famous for its beaches really lovely, and for being one of the villages most beautiful in Italy, With the Villa and the Grotto of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. From here you can then explore the hinterland towards the Aurunci Mountains or discover the others itineraries of Lazio By motorbike.