LivingTravelGaeta Travel Guide

Gaeta Travel Guide

Gaeta is one of the most beautiful cities in the Lazio region of south-central Italy, but you won’t find it in many guidebooks. That’s mainly because Gaeta doesn’t have a train station. Despite this, it is an extremely popular summer destination due to its seven fabulous beaches. Locals and Italians from all over the country flock to these beaches to sunbathe and watch surfing events.

Whenever you visit, you will find many things to do, from walking around Monte Orlando to seeing ancient ruins and wandering the narrow old streets to shop and eat. Plus, because it’s at the southern tip of Lazio, visiting Gaeta is a great way to get a taste of southern Italy – great food, friendly residents, lots of atmosphere, and a sense of history that ties it all together.

Gaeta Location

Gaeta is one of the southernmost cities in the Lazio region, the region surrounding Rome (see map of southern Lazio). It is about 58 miles north of Naples on the coastal road, Via Domitiana (road number SS7qtr). Situated on a peninsula jutting out into the Tyrrhenian Sea, it occupies a strategic location on the west coast of Italy.

Transport to Gaeta

The closest train station is in Formia, which can be reached by train from Rome or Naples. A city bus leaves from the train station to Gaeta at least every half hour from 4:30 am to 10:00 pm Driving is a good alternative, except during August, when bathers traveling from Rome and Naples stop traffic. The nearest airports are in Naples and Rome (see map of airports in Italy).

Transport in Gaeta

Gaeta has a good bus system, but if you stay in the center you probably don’t need it, except to visit one of the famous beaches outside the city. Bus line B takes you from Piazza Traniello to Sant’Agostino, Gaeta’s surf beach. You can also take a taxi, perhaps from your hotel to the old city or Mount Orlando. If you arrive by car, be sure to pay attention to the parking regulations.

Gaeta Tourist Office

The Gaeta tourist information office is located in Piazza Traniello , also the local bus terminal. It is just a few blocks walk from the old city, at the tip of the peninsula. You’ll probably find at least one English-speaking person at the tourist office because Gaeta is home to the flagship of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet.

Where to stay in Gaeta

If arriving by car, Villa Irlanda Grand Hotel, in a former convent, is a luxury option. (Tip: Summer weekends are often reserved for wedding parties, which last past midnight.) Close to the old city, Hotel Gajeta, on the Lungomare, is a reliable hotel in a historic building.

The Lions Residence, operated by the English-speaking Viola family, rents apartments with small kitchens by the day or by the week, perfect for budget travelers or families who want to prepare their own meals.

Gastronomy Gaeta

If you are looking for seafood, you have come to the right place. Most Gaeta restaurants specialize in local seafood dishes. You will also see many Gaeta olives, known throughout the world; They come from the nearby town of Itri. Locals will tell you that Tiella di Gaeta is a must-try dish. It looks like Tiella was prepared in a spring-shaped pan and has two crusts. It is filled with seafood, vegetables, or a combination of the two. Pizza is popular in the evening; Most pizzerias open only at night because it is too hot during the day to turn on the pizza oven.

Gaeta Restaurants

The old city is full of restaurants, but you will also find good food in hotels and in the newer city. If you’re in the mood for lasagna, head to Atratino on Via Atratina 141. This upstairs restaurant serves excellent baked pasta and some waiters speak English. In old Gaeta, one of the favorites is Calpurnio , a small restaurant in Vico Caetani 4. Calpurnio prepares tables outside during the summer; The simple menu offers seafood dishes and pizzas. Hotel Flamingo also serves tasty pizzas. If you’re looking for a stylish beachfront restaurant, head to Cycas on Via Marina di Serapo 17.

Gaeta Festivals

Festival season begins with Pasquetta , on Easter Monday, more of a pilgrimage day than a boisterous event. Pilgrims flock to the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity in Monte Orlando on this day; stay away from this area unless you like crowds and tour buses. Gaeta’s patron saint, Sant’Erasmo , protects sailors and fishermen. His feast, June 2, is not enough for this maritime city; Along with the nearby town of Formia, the weekend closest to June 2 is dedicated to fireworks and celebrations. Sant’Agostino beach has surfing contests during the summer.

New Year’s Eve is celebrated with local musicians and fireworks that shine off the shoreline. If you’re in town for New Years Eve, book a room with a view; you will see fireworks to the south along the beaches.

Gaeta Beaches and main attractions

Gaeta’s hotels and beaches are jammed during August, Italy’s holiday month, but there is plenty here at any time of the year. Here are some of the most popular attractions and activities in Gaeta, Italy:

  • Gaeta’s seven beaches are deservedly popular, with sparkling water, white sand, and well-managed lidos (paid beaches). Most visitors head to Serapo Beach , the closest to the center. Surfers know that the best waves (and sunsets) are found on Sant’Agostino beach, north of the city, served by bus line B.
  • Mount Orlando , the prominent hill that separates the new Gaeta from the old city, has been designated an urban nature park. Hike to the top for breathtaking ocean views. You can walk to the top to enjoy stunning views of the sea. On the mountain, you will also find the ancient Roman mausoleum of Lucius Muniatus Plancus .
  • Don’t miss Montagna Spaccata , or Split Mountain, in Mount Orlando. To get there, enter the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity, a monastery complex run by the PIME missionary fathers. Look for signs for the Turk’s Grotto (Gruta del Turco) and follow the crowds. The cliffs overlooking the sea are divided from top to bottom. Locals say the mountain split in two the moment Christ died on Calvary. Take the path to the Grotto to visit this cavern, carved out of the mountain by the sea.
  • The Capella d’Oro (Golden Chapel), a chapel in the Annunziata church, was made famous by Pope Pius IX. He was in exile here in Gaeta when he officially announced the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary from this chapel on December 8, 1854.
  • The small old town of Gaeta offers something for everyone. Stroll along the Lungomare (sea lane) and watch the fishermen at work. Look up and see the thick and strong Angevin-Aragonese castle walls high above the city. (Unfortunately, you cannot visit the castle because the Italian military uses it.) The Romanesque bell tower hidden among the buildings of the old city, was built in 915. Walk up to it and look closely at the building materials. You will see blocks with carvings on them. Thrifty builders repurposed elements of old structures when they erected the tower. Be sure to stop for ice cream at Il Molo or El Tiburon , at the end of the old city in Piazza del Pesce .

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