Gaeta, whose origins connect to epic mythology, is located near the southern end of the Ulysses Riviera, at the foot of Mount Orlando, where the wide gulf of the same name extends. The town, which is one of the most prominent costal resorts in the province of Latina, has a significant historical and architectural legacy.
What to do and see?
Stroll through medieval Gaeta
Gaeta has a long history, dating back to the ninth and tenth centuries BC. It was populated by the Aurunci until falling under the control of the Romans in 345 BC. The Gulf was a fantastic vacation spot for them (read: emperors and patricians), so much so that they built a route, the Via Flacca, to make it easier to get there from Rome. Even now, there are Roman ruins in the area, such as villas, mausoleums, and temples.
Let’s begin our exploration of medieval Gaeta from the lovely Lungomare Caboto, where the only challenge will be deciding where to look with Gaeta on one side and the sea on the other. What a conundrum! In any event, approaching from Piazza della Libertà, the Charles III gate, one of the five intact walls, will be seen on the right. Following that, on the left, you’ll find another: the Porta Carlo V.
Shortly after the first jewel, the Church of the Santissima Annunziata, which has an outstanding exterior and overlooks the sea. It features really unique Gothic cross vaults because they are completely blue on the inside, but it also gives you a beautiful view if you walk a little further and cross on the seaside. Turning around, you’ll see the church with its historic walls and the San Francesco Temple perched on top: a really attractive combination!
Continuing up to Piazza Caboto, you can see the Gaeta Castles from below, which are divided into two types: Angevin and Aragonese. The first was once a prison, while the second presently houses the Guardia di Finanza’s Nautical School barracks. Of course, the Duomo, which is a little tiny between the lanes but towers with its 57-meter-high bell tower, can be seen. Then don’t miss a great treat: the Church of San Giovanni a Mare, with its Arab dome and Old Gaeta-style combination of styles and influences.
The center of medieval Gaeta can be found between the Duomo and Punta Stendardo, ascending. Up to the Castle, there are lanes, alleys, stairways, little bell towers, old turrets, and half-hidden churches to uncover. Instead, continue walking along Via Angioina until you reach the San Francesco d’Assisi Temple.
Enjoy the view at the San Francesco d’Assisi Temple
San Francesco d’Assisi’s neo-Gothic Church is far from being solemn and understated. Not that you wouldn’t notice, given the interior’s length of 72 meters! In short, it is a spectacular structure that unmistakably defines the Gaeta skyline, which includes the Cathedral’s bell tower and the Castle.
The breathtaking perspective that spans across Gaeta Vecchia and part of the Gulf is the main reason to come here and face the grand double staircase. Pay notice to the ‘Religion’ monument at the top of the steps, which keeps an eye on everyone…
Indigestion of gold in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception
The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, which is attached to the Church of the Santissima Annunziata, is one of the treasures recommended by the Gazzettino del Golfo’s friends. Gaeta is a ‘Marian’ city, they added, in the sense that it has a strong religion dedicated to the Madonna, and this chapel is one of its manifestations. The Chapel’s ceiling is entirely made of wood coffered with gold finishes, and it’s a work of art. Its wealth astounds visitors, earning it the nickname “Golden Chapel” or “Golden Grotto.”
Hiking on the Monte Orlando Park
Monte Orlando is primarily a peninsula, the Aurunci Mountains’ prolongation to the sea. It can be claimed that it separates Gaeta’s village from Serapo’s beach. As a result, as you climb higher, you’ll be able to see views that vary from one to the next. Because the hiking routes are densely wooded and peaceful, good sneakers, water, a hat, and appropriate clothing are all that are required. The ascent is pleasant and not too taxing. Of course, there is always a climb, but keep in mind that the peak is only 171 meters above sea level.
In Monte Orlando, there are various itineraries for walking, stations for exercising, and bird-watching trails. You can also take a look at the Powder Boxes.
Eat the tiella of Gaeta
There is one thing you must do in Gaeta, and that is sample the local cuisine. In the city, you may dine well, and there are numerous delicacies to choose from. The legendary Gaeta Olives are the most basic example, the one that may be nibbled on while speaking and cooking powerful foods. Then there’s the buffalo mozzarella, which is out of this world. Accompanied by tomatoes and dressed with olives and herbs, it would awaken the dead.
The tiella di Gaeta, a form of packed rustic cake, is the emblematic specialty. It’s difficult to create since the inside must stay soft and juicy, while the outer disc pasta must be thoroughly cooked and thin. There are two primary variants; choose your favorite! The first has escarole and olives in it, while the second has octopus. We discovered some interesting variants in the “kiosks” along the Via Flacca, rustic but authentic places where you can eat genuine and local products ranging from buffalo to cold meats, from excellent in oil to mini-tielle with salami, courgettes, and other ingredients.