Beginning of the story – here.
If you want to experience real Italian lifestyle – mild climate, nice people, beautiful nature and great food – Gaeta is a great place to do so.
There are plenty of things to do and see here: mountains and hills to hike; ancient sights, churches and castles to visit; long beaches and paths to walk; markets to shop; and most importantly – crystal clear sea and nice sandy beaches to relax. 10 kilometres of wonderful beaches, sounds cool, right?
I believe Gaeta is great because it is not plagued with tourists, and offers much more than a usual seaside town would. If you are able to appreciate beauty in small details this place is just for you.
Given I came here in winter and could not appreciate summer attractions myself, the two things I liked here the most are the view from the hill to Serapo beach and a natural grotto of the Turchi with Split mountain (Montagna Spaccata). If it were summer, I would most probably enjoy swimming and sunbathing on one of the 7 beaches of Gaeta more. 😀
Split mountain with its’ small chapel is not just historical, but also a spiritual place, that has a beautiful legend attached to it. The story says that the mountain split the moment when Jesus died on the Cross. This is the main reason why this place is considered sacred and pilgrims come here. The most mysterious part is that geologists are still wondering about this phenomenon as it couldn’t be caused just by an earthquake.
Another interesting legend, related to this place, explains the appearance of the hand print on the crag that you can see here. It is believed that a pirate, who once saw the mountain, didn’t believe that it split at the moment of Jesus death. He said that if the stone became liquid, only then would he believe it, and lo and behold – as soon as he touched a steadfast crag his hand imprinted there for ages – and now anyone can check the imprint. It is also said that a cave inside the split was used by pirates for many decades, that’s why it is called a Cave of Turkish.
I would rather not to tell you much else, but if you are in Gaeta ancient Church of San Giovani a Mare is a must see for you.
How to arrive?
- Come by train to Formia-Gaeta railway station, take a bus to Gaeta that come every 30 min . You can buy a ticket on a news stand inside the station. The bus stop is outside the train station on the left. Or take a taxi from Formia-Gaeta railway station.
- By car. It will be useful if you have a limited time.