“Don't be intimidated by what you don't know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else”

Catamaran
Horizon

132. The coast of Lazio

Sailing further south along the coastline of the regio Lazio, where Rome is het most important city, we have sailed this trajectory since the harbor we stayed in on the river Tiber near Rome:

During wintertime in Italy, some harbors are closed and the Westcoast of Italy has not much sheltered bays, also because the wind and swell are mainly coming from the west direction. So planning is more important now, but when we find a harbor, we often are so pleased with their kindness and Italian enthusiasm! And we now visit villages we never heard of, but are very charming!

Anzio

This city has a great beach and we were surprised so see many windsurfers on a sunny afternoon end of November! The temperature is about 18-20 degrees, but the secret is: so is the water temperature here in the Mediterranean Sea. So with more wind it must be quite comfortable swimming and surfing here!

Also the hospitality you can find in the countless little bars and cafes is so nice! We had a drink (one of the favorite Italian cocktails, Aperol Spritz) and automatically all kinds of snacks come with it! I love it!

Anzio is best known for the landing at Anzio in the Second World War. On January 22, 1944, an amphibious landing of British and American Allied troops took place here under the name “Operation Shingle”, this battle lasted until June 5 and ended in a difficult victory for the Allies. We saw a lot of references to historic moment, when we cycled through the city.

Everyone knows, Italians are the best pizza bakers! Fresh pizzas is key, just like their pasta, but Italians are also human, so they also like to do take aways or have pizza delivered at home 🙂

Gaeta

We sailed further along the coast and I was talking with Gilles about the fact that I really love all the mountainviews when we sail along the coast of countries. In the Netherlands we don’t have mountains, so here I am enthusiastic about it every time.

The next harbor that was open and had a spot for a catamaran, was the beautiful harbor of Gaeta. Below, on the left side you see the colorful houses at the quay. And on the right side, the mountains range in this part of Italy, called Monti Aurunci.

There was also a lively fishing harbor close to the pleasure yacht harbor. And I always like to go there, see the fishermen at work with their nets, and when a fresh ‘harvest’ sails in, the seagulls are the first to be there!

Seamen also have the greatest sayings. I speak a bit of Italian and these are some of the sayings I have heard or read:

🔷 ‘Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano’

EN: ‘He who goes slowly, goes healthily and goes far’. This saying addresses the idea that being careful and thoughtful yields better results in the long run. Fits nicely with our sailing trip, which is also slow traveling ;).

🔷 ‘Non tutto il male vien per nuocere’

EN: ‘Not all evil comes to harm’. In conversation with Italians about exciting experiences that we sometimes have (something that breaks on board, for which we ultimately have a better replacement). It means: sometimes setbacks can eventually lead to something good.

🔷‘Chi dorme non piglia pesci’

EN: ‘He who sleeps doesn’t catch fish.’ This expression emphasizes the importance of an active life and being alert to take advantage of opportunities.

🔷 ‘Imparta l’arte e mettila da parte’

EN: ‘Learn a skill and keep it’. Arte literally means art in Dutch, but Italians also use it to indicate a technique or work skill. Learning something new is rarely a waste of time, it may not be of much use today, but it could be very useful tomorrow!

🔷’Non si può scoprire nuovi oceani, se non si ha il coraggio di perdere di vista la riva’

EN: ‘You can’t discover new oceans if you don’t have the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ A beautiful saying about the importance of courage and taking risks, which often gives you new experiences. That’s why we named our ship Horizon 4 years ago: you sail towards it and when you get there, there is a new horizon to discover!

Along the way of the coast of Lazio, we appear to have crossed an invisible border somewhere, because Anzio was very Roman (a bit formal, stately buildings, everything neatly taken care of), Gaeta breathes Naples in everything: the narrow streets with fluttering laundry, a bit dirty or dingy, the many Marian altars, but above all the people and their accent. We imagine ourselves in mini-size Napoli, strolling through the two very different parts of the city: Gaeta Vecchia and Gaeta Borgo. Both parts were once literally separated from each other by thick medieval city walls that only disappeared in 1960.

On the headland on which Gaeta is located, you will also find a green nature reserve: Monte Orlando. We cycled there and had a beautiful view of the city and the mountains.

Gaeta Borgo has many churches, it was once nicknamed ‘città delle cento chiese’, or ‘city of a hundred churches’.

We also noticed that there were so many churches. And our favorite is the Santuario della Santissima Trinità, this is a Benedictine shrine.

The Santuario rises on the so-called Montagna Spaccata, ‘split mountain’. According to tradition, this natural phenomenon was caused by a violent earthquake that occurred at the moment when Jesus breathed his last.

To get there, you had descend the very steep stairs.

and there you could stand in a chapel and on a platform high above the see between the two walls of the split mountain.

Three caves are said to have been created during that earthquake, including the Grotto del Turco, which was said to have been used as a hideout by the Turkish pirates who ravaged the Italian coast between Rome and Naples. We saw this Grotto del Turco and could well imagine that this was a great hiding place for the pirates.

We cycled back from Monte Orlando down to Gaeta Vecchia to visit the old city center.

After an afternoon of sightseeing it became dark around 17.00h. The day before around this time, we noticed that the colorful houses at the quay turned into little Christmas presents it seems! Probably a couple of cameras or projectors placed before these houses, made these atmospheric projections.

During the evening we decided to check this out. Because since half November, Italy is already in a Christmas mood with lights in the streets, shops and on the houses.

It turned out that Gaeta had chosen a theme ‘Lo Schiaccianoci’ or ‘The Nutcracker’, the classic Russian ballet, for this Christmas season. Really nice to cycle around the city during and see all these colors of the projections.

Along the long boulevard at the beaches and harbors, there were also a lot of objects illuminated.

Gaeta is going all out! And it works, because it really gives a lot of joy and smiles on the streets, we noticed! And that is exactly the atmosphere you want to create during this time of year. So also with our hearts filled with joy, we put our boat in the lights!

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