Gaeta - Ulysses Riviera Travel Guide

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Gaeta is a small Italian town, located just south of Rome en route to Naples, facing one of the most beautiful gulfs of Italy. Gaeta lies on a pictoresque peninsula over the Tyrranean sea and its strategic position and magic environment has made Gaeta a secure harbor since the time of the Roman Empire. Its coast was described by many ancient poets, like Homer and Virgil. This is the reason why the coast around Gaeta is called the "Ulysses riviera". (Cliff towns like Sperlonga or the mythological wilderness of Circeo). The golden beaches and many coves, scattered all over the coast, make of Gaeta a marvelous place to relax.. The old town with its enchanting promenades and picturesque alleys, the Angioino Aragonese Castle and the town's many beautiful buildings, make Gaeta famous for culture and history. It is also the perfect starting point to explore the most loved southern Italy's treasures as Pompei, Herculanum, Capri, Pontine islands, Caserta Palace, Montecassino Abbey, Pastena caves and the adjacent wilderness parks of Monte Orlando, Circeo, Sperlonga and Gianola. You can reach Gaeta by train from Rome or Naples, directed to Formia that is the nearest train station to Gaeta.
From Formia you are only 10 minutes from Gaeta. Driving from Rome by car, the options are: Autostrada (Italian highway) A1, or the Roman road Appia ss7,or the coastal road Pontina ss148. The old part of town lords over the broad sweep of bay from its high, castle-topped headland, an appealing place at first sight (especially from the southern side), untidily piled up onto the pinnacle of its defensive rock. The fortress here was impregnable: it resisted Gothic and Saracen invaders and the town flourished under the Normans, some of its architecture dating back to that time – and earlier. The tiny church of San Giovanni al Mare (check with tourist office for opening times) by the water, hails from the tenth century; and on the summit of Monte Orlando, now a park, there's the classical tomb of one Munatius Plancus, the founder of Lyons, decorated with a frieze showing scenes of battle (daily: summer 9am–1pm & 4–8pm; winter shorter hours). Close by, a terrace gives fine views over the Serapo bay below, next to which the small church of Santuario del Crocifisso is built on a boulder breaching the chasm of Montagna Spaccata, literally suspended a few hundred metres above the sea. The main square, Piazza del Municipio, flanks the portside and is a lively enough spot, with a small Wednesday market; and there's a tourist office at Piazza XIX Maggio (June–Sept Mon–Fri 8am–2pm & 5–8pm, Sun 9am–1pm; tel 0771.461.165). There is a historical hotel facing the beautiful gulf of Gaeta and is located at the entrance of the medieval part of town. It's called like the city: "Gajeta" and for more information, visit their website: www.gajeta.com or tel. +39 0771 45081. Most of the hotel rooms have a view over the Gulf and the mountains behind Formia, and its 5 mins. from the beautiful Serapo beach. You can rent bikes from the hotel and go exploring the city and its WWF park.
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