Cracked Mountain and Turk Cave

Cracked mountain or split mountain is one of the most suggestive place in Gaeta.

According to a legend, when Jesus died on the cross, the Jerusalem temple veil was torn causing three deep cracks into the rock of what today is known as Split Mountain of Gaeta or Cracked Mountain.

On top of this promontory stands the Sanctuary of the SS. Trinity. At the left side of the church, one of the cracks leads to the Turk's Cave.

The Sanctuary of SS. Trinity was built in the 11th century by Benedictine monks on a slope of Mount Orlando. The appearance it has today, though, dates back to late 17th century and combines elements from Napoletan and Spanish baroque styles.

In this Sanctuary have prayed many popes, kings, bishops and saints such as Pope Pius IX, Bernardino of Siena, Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, Paul of the Cross, Saint Gaspar del Bufalo and St. Philip Neri.

According to the legend, St. Philip Neri lived in the insides of the Split Mountain finding shelter on a stone pallet, known today as "St. Philip Neri's bed".

Along the rock walls, it is possible to admire majolica panels representing the Way of the Cross, dating back to 1849 and attributed to St. Bernardino of Siena, containing the verses of the Italian poet Metastasio.

In 1434 from the top of the two sides of the rock that gave the name to the "split mountain", a large rock broke loose and got stuck further down between the walls and the cleft. Asmall chapel devoted to the Crucifix was built in the 14th century on top of it.

From the sanctuary, the extraordinary Turk's Cave is reachable at sea level climbing down a stair made up by about 300 steps.

The little struggle is surely made up for by the incredible sight of the cave, very appreciated by free climbing lovers. 

Also the name of the cave comes from an old legend. By descending towards the inside of the mountain a handprint is clearly visible in the rock, alledged to a Turk ("The Turk's handprint"), accompanied by a Latin inscription.

According to the legend, the handprint on the rock would have been formed when an incredulous Turkish sailor put his hand on the wall, which miraculously became liquid under the pressure, leaving forever the indelible hand print.

The sanctuary can be visited in summer every day from 9 to 13 and from 15 to 19. In winter, however, the opening time is from 8 to 12:00 and from 14:30 to 17

Tel. 0771/462068 Fax 0771/465325