Among its many charms as a port city, Gaeta really pushes out the boat when it comes to Christmas decorations. Not satisfied with hanging stars and wreaths in ever-shifting combinations of red, green and blue, at some point the town decided the buildings along the waterfront would make a mighty fine canvas. This includes the town hall, the elementary school, and several apartment blocks. Big, heavy rock-arena-worthy projectors splash colourful images across entire buildings. Brightly lit and much more satisfying than dancing strings of laser light, Gaeta becomes a magnet for families from Naples to Rome. In ordinary times, that is.
A year ago there was an ice rink, a musically synchronized fountain, and dozens of craft and food booths lining the waterfront. I’ve no doubt the traffic is usually bumper to bumper all the way to the autostrada. Far better to be here than to try getting in and out in one night. But as jolly as the decorations are, they can’t make up for the murmur and squeals of little children anticipating the biggest holiday of the year. For a crowd leery photographer, though, this is the year to stroll quietly along the front after a glass of wine and capture the spirit of the season. We’re sorry you’re not here to see it. Here’s a little of what you’re missing: