One of the most recognisable attractions of Gaeta is the Church of San Francesco, majestic gothic cathedral dominating the medieval town.
Financed by Charles II of Naples and founded by the same St Francis, the works for the church started in 1222 and ended only during the XIV century.
Aristocrats and several Spanish governors were buried in the chapels, that were decorated with artworks such as Vervloet’s Pope Pius IX’s benediction at the garrison of Gaeta.
After the abolition of the religious orders during the first years of the XIX century, the church was abandoned at first and then restored in 1858 – even though the siege of Gaeta in 1860 partially damaged it.
In 1927 the management was entrusted to the Salesians, yet during World War II the cathedral suffered other damage and was therefore restored again in 1951.Thanks to the volunteers, the church remained opened even after the Salesians left.
In the last decades, San Francesco was subject to several collapses and in 1998 was closed for renovation works that lasted from 2004 to 2008.
From an architectural standpoint, the cathedral of Gaeta is pure delight for the eye – a monumental staircase accompanies you to the entrance, from where you can appreciate one of the most popular and photographed views over the town.
The impressive façade with the statues of Charles II of Naples and Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies welcome the visitor into one of the most valued attractions of Gaeta.