There is aRegional Park of Monte Orlando that was instituted in 1986 because of a series of proposals that were put forth by the local Environmental League.
Evidentally, this was necessary so that the Monte Orlando could be better cared for. It is said that beofe the park, the area had been abused by humans. That abuse has not stopped completely, but it is better.
If you are a nature and/or history lover, you will certainly enjoy this Regional park. The sea-views are breathtaking. The "Montagna Spaccata" is quite a marvel regardless of your believes." The deep splits in the rock may be the effect of geological phenomena or have to do with the death of Christ if you are a religious person.
In addition, for nature lovers, you will be able to enjoy a variety of vegetation (500 have been classified to date). Also, there are beautiful monuments that a manmade such as the "Our Lady" statue and the large Mausoleum. Also, the military lighthouse is also part of this Regional Park.
Having seen all that the Regional Park has to offer at one time or another, I would high suggest that you visit if at all possible.
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Where we lived in Gaeta was an apartment building with approximately 12 individual apartments in it. The bottom floor of this building contained a wonderful Cappuccino Bar that was purported to have the biggest and best cappuccino in all of Italy. I haved to say that it truly did have the best cappuccino that I have ever had in Italy during the three times that I have visited.
I had a ritual each morning. I would go to the produce stand and select fruit and juice for breakfast and vegetables for dinner. Then, I would go to the news stand across the stree and purchase theInternational Newspaper (in Enlish) for Allan.
After purchasing fresh bread at the bread store a block away, I would return to our apartment building and have a cup of cappuccino at the bar. Its interesting to note that I was always the only woman at the bar!
Fondest memory: Each day, an older Italian man would walk to the Cappuccino Bar. As I walked into the bar, he would smile and nod.
Toward the end of our visit, my husband and I asked if we could take a Polaroid picture of him. He agreed. We took the picture, but he did not smile.
So, Allan had me stand beside him with my arm around him, and, WOW, did he smile.
We think that he did not smile because he had no teeth and was embarrassed. It was sad to say goodbye.
The third picture that we took was of the old man and me again, and this one...we gave to him. I often look at mine; I wonder if he does too?
It's my fondest memory of our time in Gaeta.
Up on a hill above the old town of Gaeta stands the Teresa di S. Francesco Church . It is a beautiful piece of architecture that seems quite imposing when you are standing on the Gaeta Pier.
It is thought that Saint Francis of Assisi on his way back from a voyage to the East stopped at Gaeta and founded a small church where the present one now stands.
At the first of the 19th century, the French used this church as a military hospital warehouse!
It was restored in 1927, 1951 and now it is being repaired again in 2006. It is covered with scaffolds now.
I always admired it from afar. One day, Allan and I decided that it was time to visit the church. We climbed up the hill and then climbed the steps and were stopped dead in our tracks by a most beautiful sight. There, next to the steps, was a huge white marble statue of Saint Francesco carrying a cross.
This white statue was brilliant against the azure water of the Gaeta Bay. It took our breaths away. We stood there in awe of its splendor. No photograph can do it justice.
Fondest memory: We finally went into the church. That brilliant white theme contiues with massive arches of white marble against black and gold altarpieces. It is really remarkably beautiful.
We were fortunate enough to go to a service in Teresa di S. Francesco and noticed that most of the "regulars" were the older people in the town. We saw only a few young people and some children.
When we left the church, we walked back down those steep steps, and, once again, we saw that marvelous statue of Saint Francesco and were stunned just as we were the first time we laid eyes on it.
Its elegant beauty is, indeed, stunning.
The area that faces the sea near the Town Hall is called. We owe General V. Traniello [Gaeta was his home town] for having this area done. He is also the person who had the park created.
The area behind the Gran Guardia building is where the sea had been filled up with materials obtained out of the demolition of part of Charles V's ramparts. This area has been called Piazzale Caboto since 1930, but it has been modified until it became what it is today, a part of the Lungomare. The Piazzale Caboto and the Lungomare both are dedicated to Giovanni Caboto [he discovered Canada in 1497] because his parents were born in Gaeta!
I love this area because it is the area where we roamed for two months in 1997, and it is where we hung out for four days in 2006. Besides, the view of medieval Gaeta is really excellent right here.
Fondest memory: Photographs:
1. Dee at Fountain in Piazzale Cabot in 1997. I loved this fountain and admired it often.
2. Allan took this photo of me in 1997 when we first arrived in Gaeta.
3. This is also a 1997 photograph. It's of an old fisherman who was here at the pier each day.
I never saw him catch a fish. I did not see him in 2006.
4. Allan in 2006 at the same wall as the photo that he took of me in 1997.
5. Photo of Piazzale Caboto in 1997.
I have great memories of Piazza Municipio in Gaeta from both the 1997 and 2006 visits.
We parked in the free parking lot in 1997; however, this time , it was a paid parking lot. We would walk under the portico of the Town Hall to get to our apartment building and to Bar Bazzanti, which were right next door.
This town hall was built in 1475, but it has been restored and changed often. Lots of important moments have happened here. In 1915, the Prime Minister made a famous speech foreboding the Italians coming into war. He said, "Italy is ready to any renunciation - even to eating the soldier's noble brown bread" [Giuseppe Napolitano's Del Comune Di Gaeta]
In front of it on the square is the building called "Gran Guardia" that dates back to 1786. It houses the Officers' Club.
Next to the Town Hall is the Pink Building that is a fine aparment [really a condo building by USA standards] where we stayed for two months in 1997. It also houses the Bar Bazzanti and a restaurant and another bar. This is a busy place lined with beautiful buildings.
The back of it looks out over the Gaeta Bay and backs up to the public parking lot.
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.
Fondest memory: 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!
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 .
Fondest memory: 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 first day that we arrived in Gaeta, we drove up to the military base looking for information. A young man named Hugh McClure from the state of Kentucky was an MP on duty that day, which was fortunate for us.
He was so kind, so friendly, and so helpful. When he was off duty (about 15 minutes later), he drove us all over Gaeta pointing out places to eat, sites to visit, and places to shop. He also told us about the procedures in the banks, the Post Office, and the speciality shops.
He took us to the Military School for American children of servicemen where they also had a post office, cafe, travel office, bowling alley, gym, and movie theater.
In addition, about a week later, he showed us where to catch a bus, and he went with us via the bus to the train to travel to Rome for the first time.
Once in Rome, he took us on the subway, showed us some of the important sites, and showed us how to "bargain" with the street merchants.
In other words, he educated us about the " ins and outs" of Italy in a short amount of time. It saved us so much trouble and time.
We became good friends with Hugh; he came to our apartment to eat dinner with us; he bought Stamps at the base as well as essentials, which saved us money and effort.
I think we were good for him also because he was married and had children and was quite lonely. We represented home to him.
Fondest memory: Because of Hugh, we were able to go to the movies two times a week for free at the American School; we were able to go bowling; we used the travel agent to help us with a three-night stay in Sicily; we mailed our letters to the U.S.A. that went directly to New York and then were dispersed to the rest of America. We were able to use the pay phones (with English speaking operators). It was fabulous.
After learning about the American school, we were never apprehensive after that.
Wherever you are, Hugh McClure, thanks so much.
Is this magnificent Church the S S Annunziata originating in 1321.
Annunziata is the one seemingly on the shoreline, on the right and the other is S Francesco.
Fondest memory: When I finally found Annunziata open and went in, the custodian of the church asked for money (I only had enough on me for a light lunch and water), I showed him what I had with an open hand and he picked it all up. Oh help. No ATM's that I knew of so just had to go without for the rest of the day. Thank goodness I had my bus tickets to get back to Formia and then to my abode.
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.
Fondest memory: 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.
I would definitely take you up Mount Orlando and into the mausoleum of Munazio Planco.
Fondest memory: The beautiful scenery that I can only be reminded of now in photo's ........but what photo's. The old rocks, quaint backstreets, the castles, the churches, the beach etc.etc.
Favorite thing: Beautiful Women!!! Sorry ladies, no pic of Italian stallions here....but with special request and at a price, I can take one and send it to you ;-)