The perfect place to welcome us and prove that the journey to get here was worth it
When we first heard my husband got orders to Naples, we were beyond excited at the opportunity to travel around Italy and Europe. The culture, the food, the wine (definitely the wine)... we were so ready for it! Then we had to pack our stuff (or take pictures of and label every single item then watch someone else pack it, hoping none of it will get broken or lost) which is never fun especially when we would have rather spent that time with the dear friends and family we had to leave behind. Saying bye to them was even harder. Pair that with visiting our families in Florida and having to say bye to them too along with a handful of road trips, 5 flights with a toddler and living out of a suitcase for 2 months. After ALL that, we were more than ready to experience Italy and all its beauty, food and wine (definitely the wine! haha). BUT after arriving, we had to wait to get our drivers license and when we did, there were no rental cars available and our car was still en route from California. I know that this sounds like the most depressing and whiny blog post ever but I promise it gets better (as all of our moves have)! When we finally got a rental, drove off the base to a town an hour and a half away, we realized that flying halfway across the world and the 2 long months of moving were worth it. Gaeta, its stunning blue waters, breathtaking cliffs and historical churches was exactly how we envisioned Italy. It was the perfect place to welcome us and prove that all the traveling to get here was worth it.
Where is Gaeta
- Located in the province of Latina, in central Italy
- About 1.5 hours (~95 km) north of Naples
- About 2.5 hours (~145 km) south of Rome
What to bring (in the summer months)
- Comfortable shoes
- Plenty of Water & Snacks
- Swimwear & towels
- Bug repellant
- Cool, breathable clothing
- Baby carrier if you have a little one
- If you are military, park your car inside Naval Base Gaeta (Yes, there is a base here! Lucky sailors!) and take the mile long, uphill walk to the Sanctuary of Montagna Spaccata. In the summer months, the heat will make this hike up feel extra long and torturous but the road is paved and the views at the top are worth it.
- If you are not military, limited parking is available at the top where the church is.
- Grab a refreshment and snacks, take a bathroom break and enjoy the view from the cafe in front of the church. The owner is very friendly and speaks English (he also drives a Jeep!).
- Walk in and around the Sanctuary of Montagna Spaccata.
- The most popular and probably the most uniquely stunning part of this place is the Grotto del Turko. Unfortunately the lower part of the stairs was closed when we went and will probably be closed for a while. The guy at the entrance (where you donate 1 euro to get in) said it was due to the danger of falling rocks. He won't take bribes, we already tried!
- Walk around the right side of the church and down/up the steps in between the split mountains. The view of the sea at the end is spectacular. It is said that the mountain split from an earthquake that occurred when Jesus Christ died on the cross. Purely amazing!
- Go around the left side of the church to get even higher up the mountain. I promise, this view is worth it too! ;)
- After all that walking, grab a late lunch at the restaurant in front of the church. The staff there is friendly as well. My husband and I got the calamari (not good, it was very chewy), prosciutto and mozzarella plate (yumm), cotoletta alla milanese (breaded beef steak, soo good!) and Carbonara (eh. Still in search for a good one).
- Walk down and left to Serapo Beach. The water is blue, clear and the perfect temperature. Now you can cool off and relax until the sun goes down.
- The SS7qtr from Naples to Gaeta passes through a town with heavy traffic. Avoid it by leaving before 7 am.
- Forget lugging along an umbrella and beach blanket. You can rent an umbrella and chairs on the beach (the prices are fair).
- Bathing suits, dresses and hats are also available for sale ON the beach. First time I've ever seen this! So convenient. Our group of friends couldn't resist doing a little shopping while lounging on our beach chairs.
- Change and use the restroom before walking down to the beach or you can ask the people who rent the umbrellas/chairs if you can change in their closet. They were nice and allowed us to do it.
- Swim around the left side of the beach. There you will find another tiny beach thats hidden along with a small cave.
- Use a waterproof case for your phones and cameras so you can take it with you in the water.