The 7 beaches of Gaeta

The beach of S. Vito

It is located just after the private cove of the Grand Hotel Le Rocce and the homonymous tower on the promontory. Here, it is still possible to swim in clear waters, explore marine caves and sunny coves, and relax in the sun on the exclusive beach reserved for guests. The seabed, ideal for swimming and diving, slopes gently, and the sea in front is often a destination for sailboats seeking refuge in this corner of paradise.

Beach of 40 Oars

Located between the Fontania beach and the cove preceding the small beach of Quaranta Remi is the Devil’s Well, also known in Gaeta as the Well of Keys, which suddenly opens in the rock and sinks into the sea after a 50-meter drop.       Picturesque and evocative names, the origins of which are unfortunately unknown… The Devil’s Well is a large cave that extends both above the sea surface, with an entrance through which a small boat can enter, and underwater. This site is interesting for divers: the depth is only a few meters, and in the cave, there is an underwater life typical of caves and pre-caves. In fact, the entire area of the Devil’s Cave is suitable for beautiful dives: not very deep but certainly fascinating due to the abundance of underwater life that thrives there, displaying its richness and colors best during the nighttime hours. It is worth organizing a nice night dive excursion.       Exploring the Devil’s Cave, you will see that it has a chimney opening to the outside on the hill above… at night, it is a unique sight to observe the starry sky through this chimney once emerged…       With your back to the well, continue the excursion, keeping the rocky wall on the left. You will soon reach a small cove with a perfectly vertical wall. The seabed remains shallow: no more than 5 or 6 meters. Continuing, you will find the so-called “tire den”: a small cave named by Gianni Frignone, a skilled diver from Gaeta. The name comes from two car tires embedded in the rock since time immemorial, often hosting small groups of sea bass. This cavity has three entrances and a chimney that reaches the surface, opening to the outside.       Just after the Devil’s Well, there is a small cove with a beautiful beach accessible only by swimming (or by boat, of course), called “quaranta remi” (forty oars).

Beach of S. Agostino

Sixty years ago, there were vineyards here, where melons, watermelons, plums, and corn were harvested. It was dry land, and the fruits that came from it had an unparalleled aroma and scent.

The bay of Sant’Agostino is renowned among climbers who practice free climbing on one of the rocky walls of Monte Moneta (359 meters).

The enormous wall dominates the plain of S. Agostino with its legendary red overhangs reopened for climbing (excluding the nesting period of the peregrine falcon, which runs from February 25 to April 15, during which climbing is prohibited on the entire cliff).

The “Monte Moneta”, with its 9 sectors, offers significant other opportunities to stretch your fingers besides the central wall, with routes both on slabs and often very long and intense overhangs.

It is the longest (about 2 km) of Gaeta’s beaches and also the most frequented one.

Arenauta Beach

Many naturists from Rome and Lazio know Arenauta Beach in Gaeta and the Scissure coast, in the bay between Monte a Mare and Torre Scissure just north of Ariana Beach. It cannot be seen from the coastal road because it is protected by steep rocks. The fine, golden sand and transparent water make this place a true corner of paradise. It was one of the first naturist beaches in Lazio, in the second half of the seventies, when it was reachable only by sea or through rugged paths. There were no establishments or equipped facilities, and arriving from the sea gave the impression of stumbling upon a small corner of paradise.

Its inaccessibility has probably protected it from speculation. Even today, it remains one of the few truly natural and wild stretches of coastline, despite the slow and progressive invasion of “spontaneous” organized bathing activities. The opening of fast connecting roads has made it more accessible and therefore more crowded in the summer months, but there are recommended periods that allow you to enjoy the magic of the place. The best days are in June, preferably on Saturdays, even better on weekdays when the beach is almost deserted, and it’s nice to stroll along the shore. Another special period is September: the coast protects from the wind, and the climate is warm and welcoming. Naturism is possible, even in July and August, by settling at the southern end of the large beach, facing the huge dune, which is the wildest remaining part.

Ariana Beach

Derived from the ancient local language: ARIA – SANA, and recognized several times as a Blue Flag in recent years, it is characterized by fine sands, crystal-clear waters, the proximity to the Mediterranean scrub, and the so-called “rocks of the three dogs.”

Ariana Beach is located farther from the urban center, precisely along the coastal road (S.S. 213 Via Flacca). It has golden sand and is ideal for a quiet day; nestled against the hills, it is always sheltered from the wind. It is very popular and subject to crowding in summer as it is quite small.

Fontania Beach

Chosen in antiquity for its wonderful location as the dwelling of the consul of ancient Rome, Gneo Fonteo. The small Fontania Beach, on the southern coast of the city of Gaeta, just northwest of Serapo Beach (reachable on foot or by swimming), still preserves the remains of a magnificent Roman villa from the 1st century AD. Behind the sandy cove, there are multiple caves with chambers covered by barrel vaults. Two large caves with a single entrance are arranged on the eastern side.

On the bottom of the left one, a small spring could possibly explain the etymology of the name! The Roman works extend into the sea on the southern side; the cove has in the sea a row of six large pylons. From this particular complex of underwater works, which connect to other structures buried in the beach, comes the idea that there was once a large pool on this cove communicating with the sea.

A very short distance from Fontania Beach is the rock formation known as the “ship of Serapo.” A wonderful diving destination, recommended for novice divers (due to the shallow depth) and nature photography enthusiasts. This islet, elongated in shape with a resemblance to a ship with some imagination, is a fairly important biological site. It is home to numerous marine organisms, including mollusks such as octopus and cuttlefish, various species of nudibranchs, shrimp at night, crabs, and fish. The depth is moderate, and the habitat usually has satisfactory underwater life. The landward side, facing the coast, is of little interest. Our destination is the outer side, facing the open sea and Punta Trinità. Divers can explore it entirely, especially the area where the rock ends and the sand begins. During the dive, don’t forget to take a look at the rock channels that depart from the western end of the rock and proceed straight for a good stretch. At the end of these channels, continuing for about ten meters in the same direction, you will find a small rocky plateau (in the local dialect, it’s called “prana”) with a few clumps of seagrass. There are always some octopuses, oysters cemented to the rocky substrate, a small colony of sea daisies, wrasses, scorpionfish, and often a lizardfish that has been living in that area for several years. In the waters of the Ship of Serapo, in summer, you can often see sea hares mating, forming long chains of several individuals attached to each other.

The constant increase in Mediterranean depth temperature, evidenced by the arrival of various animal species from tropical seas. In October 2007, in the waters of Fontania Beach in Gaeta, the renowned diver Adriano Madonna photographed the Percnon gibbesi crab. First described in 1853 by H. Milne Edwards, Percnon is a typical crab of Atlantic coasts (from Florida to Brazil and from Madeira Island to the Gulf of Guinea) and Pacific coasts (from Baja California to northern Chile).

For the locals of Gaeta, it’s a habit (through the lane alongside Tenneen’s, through a gate, the only access route) from childhood to frequent this unique natural oasis, especially to relax outside of the tourist season.

Serapo Beach

A beach of the finest sand, also simply called Serapo. It is the main beach of the municipality of Gaeta, not far from the city center and the medieval village at the foot of the Monte Orlando Natural Park. It is highly frequented by both Italian and foreign tourists attracted by its fine golden sand.

Once, there was an endless dune here, but with the opening of the glassworks in 1911, tons of sand were used to make bottles, reducing the width of this beach. Now there is no trace of dunes, but the sand remains the same. Clear, fine, clean, light.

From the beach, you can admire the “Ship of Serapo,” a rock formation not far away whose elongated shape resembles that of a ship, which is a fairly important biological site. The beach is closed to the south by Monte Orlando and the Sanctuary of the Split Mountain (from which you can enjoy an excellent panorama of the beach in its entire length); to the north, by another parallel promontory, lower, where there are other coves with private or public access for bathing.

It is the beach of the citizens, the beach of the people of Gaeta. Close, convenient, right under the house, the beach of mothers: The sea is extremely clean, despite the large number of people. It is about 1.5 km long and has been largely leased by the Municipality of Gaeta.