Gaeta (anc. Caeta), a fortified city of S. Italy, in the province of Caserta, on the gulf of Gaeta, an arm of the Mediterranean, 72 m. S. E. of Rome; pop. of the city, including its suburbs, about 8,000, and of the commune about 16,000. It is neatly though irregularly built. The principal public edifices are the citadel, one of the strongest fortresses in Italy, and formerly the key of the kingdom of Naples, and the cathedral, a handsome symmetrical structure, with a fine tower. On the highest point of the promontory of Gaeta is the tomb of Lucius Munatius Plancus. Among its antiquities is a 12-sided column with the 12 directions of the wind inscribed upon it in Latin and Greek. The rocca Spaccata is shown as having split in two for grief when hearing St. Francis preach about the death of Christ. Through the crevice of this rock a flight of stairs leads to a chapel, built in commemoration of the miracle.-Gaeta is said to have been founded by Aeneas, in honor of his nurse Cajeta, who died on the shore. It certainly existed before Rome. In the 5th century it fell into the power of the Ostrogoths, and afterward into that of the Byzantine empire. In the time of Charlemagne it was known as an independent republic. It was subsequently ruled by dukes. The Normans took it in the 11th century.

It was fortified by Alfonso V. of Aragon, who had seized it by surprise, and Charles V. enlarged it. In 1707 it was besieged by the Austrians; in 1734 it succumbed to the united efforts of the French, Spaniards, and Sardinians; in 1799 it was taken by the French, and in 1806 by the troops of Joseph Bonaparte, then king of Naples. The Austrians reduced it in 1815, and made it part of the kingdom of Naples. Pius IX. escaped from Rome to Gaeta Nov. 24, 1848, and resided there till April, 1850, when he returned to Rome. Francis II. also fled to this place in 1860, and shut himself up in the citadel with his army; but after a siege of three months Gaeta surrendered (Feb. 13, 1861) to Victor Emanuel's forces under Cialdini, Francis taking refuge on board a French frigate.

Gaeta.

Gaeta.