I awoke the next morning to the sound of, first the American, and then the Italian National Anthems. Wondering what was going on, I looked out the window, to see that across the street from the hotel, in the naval yard, the sailors were beginning their day, and this was how it apparently started. The naval yard, or the NSA Gaeta, happens to be an important naval base operated by the US Army, but still under the regulations of the Italian government. This base is a big deal, as its location is ideal, being close to the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. The large ship that you see in the photo above is the USS Mount Whitney, which calls the base its home. It being a beautiful day, weather-wise, we quickly showered and dressed, and then set out to explore some more. Not far from the hotel, on Via Annunziata, we stumbled upon an interesting looking shop, and decided to go in. La Stanze delle Arti is a shop/art gallery owned by the artist Ida Maltempo. She makes pieces of all sizes: from ornaments to hang on a Christmas tree, to large works of art that could easily be in the world’s museums. I loved her work. We pretty much bought all of her ornaments. She also hand paints tee shirts, jackets, etc., for those interested in one of a kind clothing. Inside of what used to the the Hospital of SS. Annunziata, you will find the Office of Historical Archives, the Communal Library, and also the Museo Pinacoteca dell Associazione “Centro Storico Culturale Gaeta.” We didn’t actually go into the building, as we could see that people were busy, working on the holiday display in the courtyard, through which one entered, and the door was mostly closed. We did manage to sneak a quick picture though.We made our way through the narrow, winding streets of the Centro Storico, until we came to the Cattedrale dei Santi Erasmo e Marciano — Gaeta’s main church. The Cattedrale is not only the main church for the city of Gaeta, but it is also the Bishop’s seat, for this particular region of Italia. The Cattedrale dates from between the 11th and the 12th centuries. The bell tower was completed in 1279. This church is beautiful, and if visiting Gaeta, it is a MUST-SEE!For the construction of the base of the campanile, or bell tower, blocks of stone taken from the lining of the Mausoleum of Lucio Sempronio were used. The campanile stands at 57 meters in height. On the side of the steps leading to the porch, there are two Roman sarcophagi. Inside of the church, the altare maggiore, or the main altar, is elevated from the rest of the building. The sarcophagus resting on the two lions, making up the main altar, contains the remains of Saints Erasumus, Probo, and Innocent. The crypt, or Succorpo of the Cathedrale, is very beautiful, and no visit to this church is complete without spending a few minutes down there. The frescoes that adorn the wall date from 1662, and are in great condition.
Next up: Exploring more of Gaeta, including a climb to the top of the town to see the Castello Aragonese, as well as an incredible €25.00 meal!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please check out our archives for more posts from bella Gaeta, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!