Gaeta is a small seaboard city that is located 75 miles from Rome and 50 Miles from Naples. It is considered to be in the central part of the country, but when looking at the city on a map it falls closer to the south than the north. It is located along the Gulf Sea of Gaeta and has a rocky coastline like most of the seaboard towns of this country.
My trip here was very short lived, only a single night, and I wish it was longer. We arrived in the afternoon and quickly took to the town. Ships were docked along the coast, the smell of salt water filled the air, and the sounds of tourist and locals filled the streets.
Michi’s father informed us that his friend owned a bed and breakfast along the sea and that he could get us a room for a great price. Michi, me, and one other person shared a quaint room with a double bed and single cot. The room in which we stayed was small but very clean and quaint. It had a balcony that overlooked the docks, mountains, and sea. Overall it was absolutely breathtaking.
My share of the room came out to be 35 Euros for the night. A great deal! If you are traveling and know someone in the destination you are headed, reach out and see if they know of any places to stay. They might know of an awesome spot at a great price!
Our bed and breakfast sat atop of a hill, and the only way to get to the door was to climb up 101 steps. The beauty of this city is that most of the houses are built into the mountain side. But, be cautious if you are not good at walking up stairs. Make sure the room you book is accessible for your needs! You do not want to arrive and realize you can’t make it up a flight of narrow stairs to your accommodations. That wouldn’t be any fun and would surely put a damper on your trip!
After settling into the room we decided to explore the lively city. When walking along the docks I experienced a sunset that took my breath away. The rays rose up over the San Giovanni a Mare, which is a 10th century church, and reflected off of the Gulf Sea of Gaeta. This shows what a beautiful and truly breathtaking place Gaeta is. (Refer to featured image.)
While exploring I decided to grab gelato at a local gelateria. It was located right outside of a community square, so I sat down and enjoyed the sights. While eating the delectable sweet I watched the locals pass with their dogs. Italy is an awesome place for dog watching too, not just people!
While venturing out we did pass the NATO base that is located off the city’s coast. Currently the United State’s Sixth Fleet is using this base as its home port. Due to this, Gaeta acts as a home for the families of those stationed here. This means that there are Americans mingling in the city and raising their families. I did not have the chance to run into one of these NATO service members, but I know they are present in the city! You may run into one of them while eating dinner out or grabbing a drink at one of the local bars.
Eventually, we decided to sit down and have a drink at an outdoor bar that overlooked the sea. The bar had a laid back vibe, full table service, and even sofas to lounge out on. This bar was also the very first place where I had Absinthe for the first time. All I will say is that it buuuuurns.
My night in Gaeta was short lived. Although, I did have a great experience and it was the first time I witnessed someone throw up into the sea… I know, another story for another time.
This is a place I definitely will go back and visit. I want to check out the beach and visit this city’s historical sights.
If you get a chance to check Gaeta out go see the Aragonese-Angevine Castle. No one knows exactly why this castle was built and they think it was to save the city from an attack back in the seventh century. It’s a massive structure that sits on a cliff, how cool! Also check out Grotta del Turco. It’s a grotto that leads directly to the sea. If you’re like me and have never seen one this would be a great chance!
Overall I do not know enough about this city to tell you if you should definitely go here or not. I had the time of my life in one night. This was due to great company, great spirits, and a great location. The structures in the town was beautiful and everyone I encountered was polite. If you love the sea and want to check this place out I say go for it! If you love history and want to see a city heavy in ancient historical sights, go and visit! If you aren’t interested in these things, then skipping Gaeta is okay. You will find plenty of other places to go and things to do in the southern part of Italy.
See the rest of my Italy trips here.