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Marking the center of the protected Riviera di Ulisse, Gaeta perches dramatically atop a craggy promontory that juts out into the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Visitors explore its medieval town center—a maze of narrow lanes that descend from the imposing castle to the marina below—and bask on the sandy beaches lining the waterfront. Other top things to do include boat tours along the coastline and excursions inland to visit the Montecassino Abbey and tour the historic WWII battlefields scattered across the surrounding hillsides.
The resort town of Gaeta swells with beachgoers in the summer. If you want to visit the nearby World War II battlefields and the abbey at Monte Cassino, the best seasons are spring and fall, when daytime temperatures are more comfortable. Music enthusiasts should visit in July, when the town hosts the Gaeta Jazz Festival, featuring jazz, blues, R&B, and rock performances by Italian and International artists as well as a variety of other music events.
Gaeta’s tiny medieval center is easy to explore on foot, but you’ll need to rent a car to reach nearby WWII sites or the abby at Monte Cassino. The nearest train station is in Formia; COTRAL buses from the station to Gaeta run several times a day. In summer, you can take shuttles from Gaeta’s center to nearby beaches. You can also rent a scooter or a bike if you want to explore the coastline on two wheels.
Rome has pinsa, Naples has pizza, and Gaeta has tiella. This pita-like flatbread is only found in and around this coastal town. The most classic version is stuffed with calamari stewed in a tomato sauce along with Gaeta olives, capers, garlic, chili pepper, and parsley. Other common stuffings include sautéed greens with eggs, sausage, cod, or anchovies; prosciutto and mozzarella; and seasonal vegetables. No matter what the filling is, a tiella is always finished with Gaeta’s excellent local olive oil.
The siren song of Gaeta’s rocky coastline, clear waters, and atmospheric old town often prove too strong for writer Rebecca to resist, making this seaside resort her frequent seaside hideaway.
dive in! This coastal resort town is lined by seven beaches that attract everyone from pensioners to surfers, so throw on your swimsuit and stake out your patch of sand.
begins and ends in, on, or near the Tyrrhenian Sea. The town fills with beachgoers on weekends, and the days are dedicated to basking, boating, swimming, surfing, and everything in between.
the Montagna Spaccata, a seafront cliff that is split from top to bottom. The monastery here is a popular pilgrimage site, so wear modest clothing to visit.
take a break from the beach in the quiet lanes of the old town just below Aragonese Castle. While visitors frolic on the waterfront, local life centers around the Borgo Elena district inland.
set sail at dusk to catch the historic stuccoed buildings along the waterfront that glow golden while the sun sets behind the sea. Don’t forget a bottle of bubbly (and your camera).
is thinking that there is nothing to do beyond the beach in Gaeta. The town is thick with historic churches, pretty neighborhoods, scenic hikes, and traditional restaurants.
Yes. From its picturesque Old Town to imposing hilltop Angevin-Aragonese castle and sandy, parasol-filled beaches, this under-the-radar Mediterranean port town appeals to travelers looking to combine history with rest and relaxation. Plus, Gaeta is reachable by car as an easy day trip from Rome....More
The town’s most famous attraction is the Sanctuary of the Split Mountain—an 11th-century Benedictine monastery built into the cliffs and grottoes of Monte Orlando, a protected park. People gather to see the natural wonder known as the Montagna Spaccata, once a hideout for Saracen pirates....More
No. Gaeta is in the Latina province of Lazio, along the stretch of sparkling Mediterranean shore known as Ulysses Coast. The area is known for its hiking trails, seacliffs and grottoes, and sandy beaches—without the Amalfi Coast’s crowds, which are 2.5 hours south by car....More
Most people visit Gaeta by car from Rome. Depending on traffic, you can expect the drive to take at least two hours each way. There’s also a train station in nearby Formia—about an hour from either Rome or Naples—but you’ll need to continue by bus or taxi to Gaeta....More
Gaeta is small and compact, meaning that it’s an easy day trip from Rome if coming by car. If traveling by public transport, plan on staying overnight to make the most of your journey. Plus, you’ll get to experience the lively port town in the more tranquil evening hours....More
Go hiking on a winding, panoramic trail route overlooking the town’s promontory. Take a walk through the charming, pastel-painted Old Town and stop in the bustling harbor for a seafood lunch. Relax at Serapo Beach, right by the city center, or explore other beaches further down the shore....More