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.

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, pilmgrinage and enchanting tourist destination, linked to other stories and relevant personalities.

Are you curious to discover more? You just need to continue reading!


"It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last" (Lucas 23, 44-46).


The Sanctuary of SS. Trinity in Gaeta

The Sanctuary of SS. Trinity was built in the 11th century by benedictine monks on a slope of Mount Orlando. The appearence 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. A small chapel devoted to the Crucifix was built in the 14th century on top of it.

Sanctuary of SS. Trinity - Gaeta


A piece of advice for the ladies... take off your stilettos! 

That's right, because continuing your visit will mean going down 300 steps taking you from the sanctuary to the extraordinary Turk's Cave, at sea level.

Turk's Cave

Turk's Cave

The little struggle is surely made up for by the incredibile sight of the cave, very appreciated by free climbing lovers. You might even find some on the steep mountain sides!

Free climbing on the rocky walls of the Split Mountain

Free climbing on the rocky walls of the Split Mountain

Also the name of the cave comes from an old legend. By descending towards the inside of the mountain you can't help but noticing a handprint in the rock, alledged to a Turk ("The Turk's handprint"), accompanied by a Latin inscription.

The inscription says: "An incredulous man refused to believe what the tradition tells. Prove of that is this rock, become liquid by the touch of his fingers".

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 Turk's handprint over the Latin inscription

Once you get to the end of the steps you will find in front of you the sight of this natural cave plunging into the sea. If you are lucky enough, you will see the cave when the sun is setting and you will admire an amazing and unforgettable sunset

Our article ends here! We await your comments and your travel experiences!

Useful information

Sanctuary of SS. Trinity or of the Split Mountain

You can reach the Sanctuary of SS. Trinity from the city center of Gaeta going through Via Munazio Planco and following the indications along the road. If you are driving, there are parking spots in front of the Sanctuary. Alternatively, in summer and on bank holidays there is a daily shuttle to reach the Sanctuary leaving from Gaeta's city council. The price of the ride is €1.
*At other times of the year it is necessary to contact Ente Parco Regionale Riviera d'Ulisse (+39 0771743070)
It is possible to visit the sanctuary every day from 09.00 until 13.00 and from 15.00 until 19.00.
During winter the opening times are: 8.00-12.00 and 14.30-17.00

Visiting the Turk's Cave costs only €1.

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