Gaeta in South Lazio Italy

Medieval Gaeta

The quarter of Medieval Gaeta is steeped in history and rich in ancient monuments.  During the Middle ages Gaeta was a fortified settlement, and flourishing port which carried out trade with countries in the eastern Mediterranean.  It was built on the rocky peninsular of Monte Orlando early in the Middle Ages. Gaeta went on to evolve into an autonomous maritime Duchy ruled by Giovanni I of Gaeta and then the Docibile family for several generations. The young king of Naples, Ladislao di Durazzo took refuge at Gaeta and here in 1381 he  married his young bride, the 12 year old Costanza Chiaramonte. Indeed many of the street names of the medieval quarter reflect Gaeta’s eventful history.

Let’s start our photo tour in the lower section of Medieval Gaeta.

Punta Stendardo The Sea Front and Via Bausan

Gaeta Harbour and Scuola Nautica – Punta Stendardo

   Gaeta Harbour and Scuola Nautica – Punta Stendardo

   Guardia di Finanza Training Ship – Punta Stendardo

Via Bausan

  Ruins Behind Via Bausan

  Old House in Medieval Gaeta

Church of San Giovanni A Mare – Via Bausan

  Bell Tower – Church of San Giovanni A Mare

  Byzantine Dome – Church of San Giovanni A Mare

Doorway of Church San Giovanni A Mare

 Roman Column – Alley off  Via Bausan

   Alleyway off Via Bausan

Church of San Giovanni A Mare – Via Bausan

  Gaeta Harbour – Via Bausan

  Seafront and Bell Tower – Via Docibile

Porta Domnica – Piazza Cavallo

Gaeta Cathedral Bell Tower – Piazza Cavallo

            Old Medieval Gate of Porta Domnica

            Pufui PcPifpef   CC BY-SA 4.0

  Old Medieval Gate of Porta Domnica

The Byzantine Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Gaeta

The Byzantine bell tower of Gaeta Cathedral dominates the historic district, not forgetting the mightly castle.

Bas-Relief of Jonah & the Whale – Gaeta Cathedral

  Bas-Relief and Roman Sarcophagus – Gaeta Cathedral

  Roman Capital – Bell Tower of Gaeta Cathedral

                Bell Tower – Gaeta Cathedral

Porch of Bell Tower – Gaeta Cathedral

Archbishop’s Palace – Piazza Archivescovato

  MaiolicaMadonna & Child on Archbishop’s Palace

Via Docibile

The Archbishops Palace – Via Docibile

  The Harbour and Sea Front- Via Docibile

   The Harbour and Sea Front – Via Docibile

Old Apartments – Via Docibile

  Small Fountain – Via Docibile

  Old Building – Via Docibile

Old Buildings – Via Docibile

  Shops and Old Buildings – Via Docibile

   Old Building – Via Docibile

Via Docibile

  Square off Via Docibile

   Square off Via Docibile and the Archbishops Palace

Vico Gaetani and the Porta Posterola

Close to the Cathedral are some ancient narrow streets and alleys that date back to the Medieval age.  During the 9th century Duke Docibile I of Gaeta enlarged the city’s fortified walls. There were the gates of the Porta del Molo and the Porta Domnica in the area of the present Piazza Cavallo. Another gate was called Porta Nuova, that was situated near the church of San Teodoro. There was also a watchtower known as Torre Giorgia or Torre Longa. This was listed in the will and testament of Duke Docibile I, dated February 906, in which he bequeaths to his daughter Bona “gold, silver, silk clothes, male and female servants ………….  together with the house and tower near to the city gate”.  

Later in the Will of Docibile II, of May 994, the gate is once again cited, being named as Porta Posterola. This was the main gateway leading into the town square. The watchtower was a lookout post to give warning of the approach of Saracen ships. The remains of this tower can still be seen today in Vico Gaetani. Its remains were incorporated into the Palazzo de Vio. The ruined the Church of San Salvatore can also be seen in this alley.  Sadly it was destroyed during the allied bombardments of Gaeta in 1943.

Remains of the destroyed Church of San Sebastiano

  Arches in Vicolo Gaetani

  The Old Porta Posterola

Vicolo Gaetani

Vicolo Gaetani

 Tower – Vicolo Gaetani

   Ancient Column – Vicolo Gaetani

Vicolo Gaetani

  Vicolo Gaetani

  Vicolo Gaetani

   Vicolo Gaetani

Arches in Vicolo Gaetani

  Vicolo Gaetani

   Shrine – Vicolo Gaetani

The Medieval Town Wall

Section of 10th Century Town Wall

  Section of 10th Century Town Wall

There are many more characteristic buildings and monuments to be seen as you wander up to the higher reaches of Medieval quarter of Gaeta. There is a fascinating warren of narrow winding streets and alleyways with steep stairways that lead upwards towards the castle. The ancient houses are randomly clustered together, some linked or supported by arches.  Some of the houses have beautiful roof gardens with spectacular views of the Bay of Gaeta.

The Docibile Palace in Via Rosmini

Steps Leading up from Via Duomo to Via Rosmini

  Remains of the Docibile Palace – Via Rosmini

   Remains of the Docibile Palace – Via Rosmini

Remains of Docibile Palace – Via Rosmini

Remains of Docibile Palace – Via Rosmini

  Alley – Via Rosmini

  Alley Near Via Rosmini

Alley – Via Rosmini

 Alley – Via Rosmini

  Shrine – Via Rosmini

Via Ladislao

Church of Santa Barbara- Via Ladislao

  Staircase – Via Ladislao

  Church of Santa Lucia – Via Ladislao

  Old Window – Via Ladislao

Church of Santa Lucia – Via Ladislao

  Church of Santa Lucia – Via Ladislao

  Old Doorway – Via Ladislao

    Church of Santa Lucia – Via Ladislao

Tower – Via Ladislao

  Church of Santa Lucia – Via Ladislao

  Church of Santa Lucia – Via Ladislao

Alleyway off Via Ladislao

  Alleyway off Via Ladislao

    Remains of Church of San Benedetto

Via Papa Pio IX

Old Tower – Via Papa Pio IX

  Abandoned House – Via Papa Pio IX

  Sea View off Via Papa Pio IX

Church of Santa Caterina

   Doorway of the Church of Santa Caterina

     Church of Santa Caterina – Via Papa Pio IX

Church of Santa Caterina – Via Papa Pio IX

  Bell Tower of the Church of San Domenico

 Roof of the Church of San Domenico

Church of San Domenico – Via Aragonese

  Bell Tower – Church of San Domenico

  Bell Tower – Church of San Domenico

    Doorway – Church of San Domenico

Door of Monastery Santa Maria di Maina

 Door of Monastery Santa Maria di Maina

  Old Stairway Leading Up To The Castle

   One of the Towers of the Anjou Castle

Via Aragonese

The Castle – Via Aragonese

                      The Castle – Via Aragonese

           Sea View near the Castle

One of the Towers of the Anjou Castle

 Shrine Beneath the Castle

  Shrine Beneath the Castle

 One of the Towers of the Anjou Castle

View of the Medieval Old Town of Gaeta and Castle

 View of the Medieval Old Town of Gaeta

   View of the Medieval Old Town of Gaeta

Via Angioina

 View of the Medieval Old Town of Gaeta

  Garden in the Medieval Old Town – Via Angioina

   Old Roof Top and the Church of San Francesco

Chiesa dell’Ulivo o della Natività

 Doorway of Chiesa dell’Ulivo o della Natività

    Pinacoteca Comunale – Via Angioina

Side View of the Chiesa dell’Ulivo o della Natività

 Epigraph outside the Chiesa dell’Ulivo o della Natività

    Doorway of the Pinacoteca Comunale – Via Angioina

Garden with Ipomea or Morning Glory

  Terrace With Sea View – Via Angioina

  Garden With Bougainvillea & Sea View – Via Angioina

Sea View and Bell tower of the Church of SS Annunziata

Sea View and Bell tower of the Church of SS Annunziata

Staircase up to the Church of San Francesco

   Facade of the   Church of San Francesco

  Statue of the Religion

   Statue of  Church of San Francesco

 View of Old Gaeta from the Church of San Francesco

 View of Old Gaeta from the Church of San Francesco

   View of Old Gaeta from the Church of San Francesco

Piazza Commestibili

  Tower of  the Palace of Giovanni I

  Remains of Tower of  Palace of Giovanni I

Piazza Traniello

 Piazza Traniello

Castle from Piazza Traniello

Piazzale Caboto

Portico of the Gran Guardia – Piazza Traniello

The Old Palazzo Comunale – Piazza Traniello

 Portico of Gran Guardia  – Piazza Traniello

   Statue Gran Guardia – Piazza  Traniello

   Gran Guardia – Piazza Traniello

Gran Guardia ex Circolo Ufficiali –  Piazza Traniello

The Gran Guardia is a building in a neoclassical style. It was a military barracks commissioned by the Bourbon King Charles III of Spain, Naples and Sicily.  It was designed by Pietro Paolo Ferrari, and was constructed in 1786 during the reign of King Ferdinand IV.  It has a long elegant portico. Above this is a sundial which dates from 1852 and two sculptures of miliary arms and trophies. The building is soon to undergo much need restoration 

Via Duomo

Piazza Traniello

  Piazza Traniello

  Church of Santa Maria Sorresca – Piazza Traniello

Inscription – Via Duomo

  Old Courtyard – Via Duomo

Palazzo de Veo – Museo Diocesano

Rock Cliff – Via Duomo

  Facade of Gaeta Cathedral of Sant’Erasmo – Via Duomo

The Palazzo De Vio and the and the Archbishop’s Seminary was built on the remains of an earlier buildings dating from the Renaissance era. The Palace belonged to Cardinal Tommaso De Veo. The building has been refurbished many times over the centuries. It is now the Diocesan Museum and houses many works of art from many of the old churches of Gaeta.  the building has been repeatedly refurbished, changing its appearance to its origins. The facade that we see today is the work of Federico Traveglini.