154 – Gaeta Yacht Med Festival 2013

In April Paul needed to go back to the UK to renew his passport, and to spend a week of quality time with his Dad.  So we asked our good friend Kay if she would like to come over to Italy to help and keep me company during Paul’s absence.  In fact we talked Kay into coming for 2 whole months !!!

On the first Sunday of Kay’s stay we all drove down to the seaside at Gaeta, to have a look around at the Yacht Med Festival that was being held there.

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Along the sea front there were many stalls promoting all things maritime and nautical. Of course there was an array of classy boats on show, with prices to match !!!

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There was also a very large model of  John Cabot’s sailing ship, it is believed that he was born in Gaeta, and the long road along the sea front bears his name – Lungomare di Giovanni Caboto.

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From here we watched two impressive teams of fit youngsters, ten per boat, taking part in a rowing competition, all skilfully sculling in unison to power the boats along at a fair rate of knots.

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There were other exhibition stalls,  some dedicated to tourism, nature and the local regional parks such as the Riviera di Ulisse and the parks of the  Aurunci and Ausoni Mountains.

You can see here how the beautiful Aurunci Mountains tumble down to meet the sea in the gulf of Gaeta.

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Some more of the stalls …… Wildlife

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Colourful ceramics

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Local crafts

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Stramme work

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Finally some music started up and several troops of young colourful majorettes performed their energetic twirling routines to the delight of the crowds.

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The tiny tots were really cute !!!

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All photos by me !!! © Louise Shapcott

You can read more about Gaeta at my South Lazio Website

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

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139 – Gaeta Yacht Med Festival 2012

We recently took a short drive to the nearby picturesque seaside resort of Gaeta, during the Yacht Med Festival which was being held between 20th and 29th April. 

Gaeta has ancient maritime traditions as it has long been an important  port of trade, a key export being “Itrana” Olives, which are more commonly known as “Gaeta Olives” .  The Gulf of Gaeta has a spectacular backdrop as the Aurunci Mountains tumble down to meet the sea.

This Mediterranean festival was to focus on the economy of the sea, sailing, fishing, the environment, culture and tourism. Along the long seafront boulevard there were numerous exhibition stands promoting an array of products and services related to these themes.

On show were of course many boats of all shapes,  sizes and prices.

The Guardia di Finanza had opened one of their training ships to the public.

For the first time we were also to enter the premises of the Guardia di Finanza’s Scuola Nautica at the end of the peninsular known as Punta Stendardo. It was most interesting to see the beautiful old town and its cathedral from new vantage points, which gave the vistas an entirely new perspective.

Here on show were martime exhibits including a model of the John Cabot’s (or Giovanni Cabot0’s) ship  the “Matthew”. It is believed that he was born in Gaeta, although other sources give his birthplace as Genoa. He became an English navigator and explorer, having settled in Bristol in the 1490’s.  He set sail from Bristol in May 1497, and landed in June on what is now called Cape Breton Island.  Then he sailed along the coasts of Labrador, Newfoundland, and New England, believing that he had reached north-western Asia.

Across the bay echoed the sound of strong rhythmical drumming. As we wandered back through the old town it became apparent that the reverberations were emanating  from a troop of drummers and  flag throwers, dressed in colourful medieval costumes.

We looked on as the sbandieratori seemingly effortlessly  waved, twirled and tossed their heraldic standards into the air. 

Traditionally, in times gone by, such bands of brave men would have lead their troops into battle.

Returning to matters nautical – Gaeta is the home port of the 6th Fleet Flagship USS Mount Whitney.

On the 20th May Gaeta will be in the forefront of the sailing news, as it is to be the starting point of the 2012 Rolex Volcano Race. From Gaeta the crews will race past the Pontine Islands and reach Capri to complete the first leg of the event. After the stop-over on the Isola Azzurra, the boats then race across the Tyrrhenian Sea and towards the Aeolian Islands which include Stromboli, Vulcano and Alicudi, a volcanic archipelago just north of Sicily. The long distance race of more than 400 nautical miles will finish at the beautiful Island of  Capri.

We wish all the contestants fair winds and God speed.

By the way – I have recently updated my webpages about the beautiful and interesting town of Gaeta – Please do take a minute or two to take a look:

http://gaeta.shapcott-family.com

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

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Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy