Since I used to spend my summers in Sardinia, it is quite a bummer when I am stuck here in Rome. Yes, Rome is spectacular but the sea and the beaches near it… I’d say – not so much… But! A good thing is that the train system in Italy is quite well organised and it let you reach every part of Italy pretty easily (not Sardinia, though…).
So this time when I, finally, cleaned up my schedule, I headed to southern part of Lazio and did some sun bathing in Gaeta.
Gaeta is a little town that played quite a role in history of military – NATO maintains a naval base even today (hello there, someone’s called for hot and horny navies? Though, I haven’t met any). This Tyrrhenian gem is known as the paradise for fish and seafood lover either (count me in!).
If your plane lands in Rome or Naples, it will be quite easy to get there and finally, put your feet up. As I’ve mentioned before, the train system works surprisingly well for me here, so what you need, it’s just purchase a ticket to Formia-Gaeta. You have two options here: regional or intercity trains. Regional trains brings you there in an hour and a half and intercity – in one hour. Though, intercity arrives a bit faster but I find regional trains way more comfortable.
After you arrive to station called “Formia – Gaeta”, head to the bus stop to catch a bus going to Gaeta. They run every 20 min. It wouldn’t be so bad, if they arrived on time… Not so much happening. So if you are not so much into waiting, just grab a taxi that brings you in Gaeta for 20€.
Personally, I stayed in a hotel that had its private beach, which I found great.
Though if you prefer living in old Gaeta, which is not on the beach side, but it is just spectacular with all the small streets and the small houses, tell me even more about up on a hill view which it’s just breath taking (you really feel like you are on the top of the world), then there is a great variety of “stabilimenti” – beach clubs. One of my favorites must be Lido La Perla – cool design, awesome bar and water sprayers above your sun bed!
Anyways, since Gaeta is pretty near Rome, I suggest you do a day trip instead of overnight, if you don’t have a lot of time in Italy.
Where to eat:
It’s a paradise for foodies. Especially, who are big on fish and seafood. Every afternoon fishermen come back from the sea with their catch and the main street becomes a fish market with the stands all along it. It is so amusing! They feed you with a raw fish just how it is!
I came across one amazing family-run restaurant called “La Cocina di Popolla”. It is so far the best fried seafood with a beautiful creamy beans sauce I’ve ever tried! More to that, the wine suggestions were top notch! And the place by itself it’s just lovely – located in a cosy little square near Cathedral.
Unfortunately, I learned a lesson by myself and didn’t try, according to every single person who’ve been in Gaeta, the best thing they have – la tiella. It is kind of a pie stuffed with different ingredients, but the most famous stuffing is based on octopus stew. So I’m dying to come back and try it!
Consider yourself as a big party animal? That’s a shame, ’cause Gaeta it is not so big on that. Yes, they have bars and restaurants but it doesn’t have that YOLO vibe. At all.
But if you are either a big collector or a flea market fan, it sounds like you’ve just found the perfect match for you. Another thing that Gaeta is quite famous about is a flea market which starts around aperitivo time up to dinner time. There you can find all kind of stuff starting Victorian Era and finishing early 90s.
You know, Gaeta is so beautiful that just strolling along the bay it is such a pleasure. This was the first time after a long time where I felt that I was in south. And it felt nice. No rush, no fuss. Just sea, food, wine, beach.