Gaeta, Italy - more than just seaside?

Old Mar 5th, 2001, 07:28 AM
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Gaeta, Italy - more than just seaside?

We are picking my sister up at FCO around 9AM on a Tuesday in May. Would like to make her first day/night in Italy more than just a long drive somewhere. I've got a book on "Best Drives in Italy" which describes a trip (in reverse of the way we're going) through Gaeta. Is this our best option? (We will have driven to FCO from somewhere in Southern Tuscany.) After three nights in Maiori we will head back to Rome (and turn in the car) for the last three nights of our trip.
Old Mar 5th, 2001, 08:33 AM
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Does the "Best Drives in Italy" information mention routes, or what lies between Gaeta and Rome? I ask because I spent a week last summer on the coast about halfway between Rome and Gaeta, and with the exception of a few hill town about 40 miles inland, I don't recall anything charming at all about the main route south from Rome to Gaeta. There are some nice towns with interesting historic sites (Anzio, Sperlonga, Terracina), but the drive itself wouldn't even make it onto my list of "most mediocre drives in Italy." Are they suggesting something other than the main road south (sorry, don't have my map here at work to cite the route number?
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 01:46 AM
Steve James
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Hello Diane,

I agree with StCirq. The coastal drive south of Rome isn't particularly attractive, - not before Sperlonga anyway.

Is there any special reason you want to stay in Gaeta? If I were you I think I'd head straight down to the Amalfi coast and have the extra day there (- it's only a 4 hour drive at the most). That's where the really beautiful scenery is!

If you especially wanted to stay in Gaeta, it's really only a 90minute minute drive from Fiumicino. The places StCirq has mentioned are all o.k. for a stop if you do take the coast road - the nicest is Sperlonga, IMO.

Alternatively you could plan a leisurely drive through the Albani Hills south of Rome to include stops for a stroll around Frascati, Castel Gandolfo (- the pope's summer residence) and one or two other pleasant hill-towns in this area. Any of these would be nice for a lunch/gelato stop. This would lengthen
your journey, - but you're still never far from Gaeta.

I hope this helps...

Old Mar 7th, 2001, 07:38 AM
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Thanks Steve, I was just looking at the Albani Hill towns as an alternative last night. The primary focus is to find somewhere interesting to stay on the way to the Amalfi Coast -- I do think it would be cruel to subject someone who has just flown for about 15 hours to another 4 hours in a compact car. (And this is my sister. We have many shared memories of long car trips together as children.) The "best drives" book is more enthusiastic about the southern end of this particular drive -- but suggests Gaeta or Sperlonga as providing decent hotel/restaurant choices between Rome and Naples. We'd thought about Pompeii, but haven't heard about the greatest lodging possibilities -- and it probably is about 2 hours further than we want to drive that day.
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 11:41 AM
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I'm glad you've decided not to stay in Pompeii. The ruins are great for a day trip, but I'd not stay there overnight. Too many other, much better, alternatives. If I remember correctly, Gaeta is only about 90 minutes from Naples. You could try taking the more inland highway and getting off at Montecassino. The drive is kind of boring (like most motorways), but there would be enough time left in your day to see the monastery that played such a big role in WWII. It is really quiet beautiful.
Then there would still be time left for relaxing at the end of the day.
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 11:56 AM
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Diane, has many listings for hotels in that area/coast (south of rome, north of naples)
Old Mar 8th, 2001, 05:43 AM
Steve James
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Hello again Diane,

In view of the fact that you don't want to drive far, either Gaeta or Sperlonga would be the best choices for an overnight stop if you do choose the coast route. It would certainly be the most convenient from Fiumicino...

I forgot to mention the Roman ruins of Ostia Antica, not far from Fiumicino, - if your sister is fit for any sightseeing! (Though you might not want to leave luggage in the car... - I don't know if there is secure parking)

From Fiumicino don't expect any scenic driving before Terracina/Sperlonga, with the possible exception of the Circeo National Park (which I don't know, but which is popular for it's beaches). Anzio is the first place worth a stop...

Have a good trip!


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