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Gaeta, as well as being an important art city, is also a popular tourist destination - the most popular in Latium, thanks both to its beaches and landscapes. The town is situated on the coast to the south of the Rome-Lazio region.
Step away from the beaches of the region for a while to explore some of the historical highlights in Gaeta - we suggest you start your tour in the old town.
Among the monuments to visit in the old city are the Angevin-Aragonese Castle, which was built by Frederick II of Swabia (1194-1250) in 1227 and later modified by Charles II of Anjou in 1289 and Alfonso I of Aragon in 1436.
You can't miss it when you visit gaeta - the castle is built in a dominant position overlooking the rooftops of the town and the sea and has imposing towers at the corners of the building.
Just a few steps from the harbour there is the Cathedral of Saint Erasmus, named for the patron saint of Gaeta and built in the 10th-11th century, being consecrated by Pope Paschal II in 1106.
The cathedral has an Arab-Norman style tower 57 meters high, also dating from the 12th century.
Inside the cathedral you can admire numerous works of art including in particular the 13th century Easter candle, decorated with bas-reliefs dedicated to the lives of Jesus Christ and Saint Erasmus.
It is also worth visiting the Church of SS. Annunziata in Gaeta. This church was built in 1321 in the gothic style and has been enriched with valuable works of art.
Some precious and sacred music codes that were copied by monks are kept here, and in the church there is also the "Golden Cave", so called because it has a coffered barrel vault made of gilded carved wood.
Another sight of interest is the neo-Gothic Temple of St. Francis, donated to the town by Charles II of Naples and Ferdinand II of Bourbon (1810-1859). Their statues are placed on the temple façade together with that of S. Francis and another that represents the faith that sustains the cross.
Gaeta Archeological Museum
The Gaeta Archeological Museum has various artefacts, some dating back to Roman times, and also an Art Gallery with some interesting works including 15th century frescoes by Giovanni da Gaeta (1448-1472) and other paintings from the Renaissance and Baroque ages by Teodoro D'Errico (1544-1618), Battista Beinaschi (1636-1688), Luca Giordano (1634-1705) and Sebastiano Conca (1679-1764).
Places to visit near Gaeta, and the local cuisine
In the area around Gaeta we particulary suggest a trip to Monte Money (359 m) that dominates the Plains of Saint Augustine with its legendary red cliffs.
See also the scenic natural sea grotto called the Montagna Spaccata.
This trip also gives you the ideal occasion to discover the local products, where the sea and hills meet. The history, nature and climate have come together to provide the background for a gastronomic heritage of great importance.
Notably, don't miss the Gaeta olives, which, they say, were already known by Aeneas and today are a valuable ingredient in kitchens all over the world.
We should also mention some typical local dishes such as 'Tiella', a pizza stuffed with fish or vegetables, and the salted anchovies and mussels.
See also history of Gaeta
You can find more local travel ideas in the Rome - Lazio guide.