Locals in Gaeta 
It was so wonderful to come back to Gaeta and see faces from 1997.
For instance, Allan always purched his English language paper at the store across from our apartment. The young man who runs it remembered Allan. That was a surprise.
He looks very much the same after 9 years. His store is call: Alfabeta: Libreria, Cartoleria, Giornali [books and cards] Photos #4 & #5.
The most wonderful moment in Gaeta came when we saw the produce man who became my "buddy" in 1997. Although he no longer actively works at the outdoor produce market across from our 1997 apartment, one afternoon as we were walking around the ancient centre, he was seated in a chair right beside the market. He recognized me, and I had tears in my eyes. He said, "Bella, Bella, USA!" photo #1
The young man at ourMille Quattrocento B&B made a big impact on us this time in 2006 because of his friendly attitude and kindness. If we ever return, we'll be sure to look for him. Photo # 2.
The Owner of the Club "Il Drappo" was missed by us in 1997, but we were fortunate to meet him in 2006. We've promised him that if we return again to Gaeta, we will be sure to drop by for a wonderful dinner at this lovely place. One of the finest reasons for traveling, I think, is to meet people from other cultures. Well, we certainly did that both in 1997 and in 2006!
Gaeta: An Extremely Ancient Town
The oldest portion of Gaeta is the Erasmo District that is within the walls of the city. When I talk about the new section of Gaeta, I smile because by USA standards, it is quite ancient also.
Gaeta is an extremely ancient town; it was the last bastion of the Bourbon monarchy; it was an important port & resort town in the Roman period; it reached the height of its splendor during the Middle Ages.
The Medieval section of Gaeta is known as the S. Erasmo District, and that section includes the Duomo and Bell Tower, the annexed Diocesan Museum, the Anjevin-Aragonese castle, and other churches as well.
While there, we learned that men have inhabited the Gaeta area since the prehistoric times!
The cranium of a Circeo man (close to Neanderthal Man) was found in a cave of San Felice Circeo, a town nearby.
The photo is of Allan pointing to an inscription on part of a ruin near our apartment. The date on the inscription is around 600A.D . In 2006 we discovered and rediscovered items that point out the age of Gaeta. I especially like the large lion statue right in the ancient center. Cars park all around it, and locals pass it each day as though it's just another object. But, for tourists such as Allan and I, we find it amazingly beautiful and are in awe of it.
[1997}This discovery of the inscription is another example of the value of walking and exploring. It seemed as though we discovered something new each day.
The most wonderful cloud formations --
Italy, like Australia can have some wonderful cloud formations -- looking up is a habit of mine (maybe why I fall over at times). I often give the formation a name like with this one for instance, which I called crowning glory .....can you see why?........I was just merrily clicking away when up popped this amazing sight -- taken over beautiful gulf of Gaeta from Mount Orlando. There are lots of things I miss from here but then I look at Australia and especially around where I live often reminds me of the Mediterranean coast.
Feast Days and Celebrations
February - “Sabato Grasso” (Fat Saturday)
Pre Lent Festival - Carnival in the Square
End of May - The “Festa of the Tiella”
A cultural celebration of the typical local dish - La Tiella, a cross between a pizza and a calzone. Typical stuffings include diced calamari with parsley, garlic, oil, hot pepper and just enough tomato sauce for color. Other stuffings include escarole and baccalà (dried codfish), egg and zucchini, spinach, and ham and cheese.
A three day festival at the end of June, in honour of the Patron Saints of the city of Gaeta. The evening before, the town pays traditional homage and devotion with offerings of candles and flowers.
On the feast day there is a solemn procession with the statues and relics of the “healing saints” - Sant’Erasmo and San Marciano from the Cathedral of Sant’Erasmo to the City Hall.
The waterfront comes alive with festivities, music, food. In the evening there is a wonderful firework display.
2nd Sunday in August - Feast day of Madonna di Porto Salvo also known as - “The Feast Day of the Sea”
A special boat decorated with flowers and colourful bunting takes to the sea transporting the statue of “La Madonna del Mare”.
This is followed by a flotilla of small vessels who sail to just outside the port. Prayers are then said for the safety of sailors and fishermen and a garland of flowers is cast onto the water. This tradition has been continued for over 1000 years.
Back on land there is musical entertainment and festivities, culminating in a grand show of fireworks.
October Food Festival
A gastronomic celebration of local recipes, and wine, where locals offer samples of their freshly prepared delicacies.
Dancing and Fireworks
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The Separation of Gaeta and Borgo
The area outside the walls called the Borgo gained population, economic ascent, and prosperity while the city behind the walls [old Gaeta] faltered. But, the people of Borgo id not feel safe..they were outside the fortress and did not feel protected. They wanted administrative independence; so, on February 18, 1897, they separated from Gaeta and became Elena.
The old town was a "very faithful Bourbon stronghold" [Giuseppe Napolitano in Del Comune Di Gaeta] and after the seperation, became quite isolated. On the other hand, Elena benefited from the seperation. The split only lasted for 30 years, and in February of 1927, Gaeta and Elena were joined together again. At that time they passed from the province of Caserta to that of Rome.
Today, the town is called Gaeta again, but the differences between what was the Borgo, Elena and Old Gaeta are still evident.
Porto Salvo, as it is called today seems so much more modern and industrial. The majority of the shopping area is here as well as the schools. I smile when I think that we always call Porto Salvo "the new section of Gaeta" when the center of it with its narrow alley-like streets are quite ancient, indeed.