In August, an original music and traditional culture festival, The Harmonic Mountain is held in Gaeta and is dedicated to a specific stretch of the Via Francigena degli Aurunci in the area of Gaeta right on the rocks overlooking the sea of the Grotta del Turco.
This is the nature Park of Monte Orlando di Gaeta and between the plateaus and the sacred caves of Monte Altino di Maranola di Formia. It is a breathtaking scenery that gives the impression of touching the sea in front of the splendid Gulf of Gaeta.
Since 2012 every year in August the festival offers experiences to discover art, nature, traditions, or simply to embark on a personal journey. There are various points and times for meeting, music, reflection and wonderful experiences during the days of the festival.
Inside the Church of the Sanctuary of Montagna Spaccata, the Italian Popular Orchestra presents the musical opera “Col pié calcar le stelle” which consists of penitential liturgies, sacred and popular songs and a sonnet by San Filippo Neri in which he talked about the ‘soul created by God is beautiful and free and continues to live forever in heaven “per calcar le stelle” after the experience of earthly life’.
In Maranola di Formia, in an extraordinary terrace on the Gulf of Gaeta, a large “area of the pilgrim” is set up where you can taste delicious traditional pastoral products.
In the evening there is a great concert dedicated to the folk dances of the Aurunci, called “La notte della Ballarella” (link article ballarella) with the Italian Popular Orchestra of the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, conducted by Ambrogio Sparagna.
At night in the Area of the Pilgrim a Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory is available for visitors to admire the stars. Always at night there are musical events and concerts that last until the following morning.
Early in the morning the musical trek leads the participants through the ancient pilgrimage route of San Michele to the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, under Monte Altino, at about 1,220 m high, with a poet who reads poems dedicated to the paths and the pilgrimage.
After 2 hours of trekking on a highly evocative route overlooking the Gulf of Gaeta, in the area adjacent to the Church of San Michele, the second part of the project “Col pié calcar le stelle” is presented. At the end of the event the Bread of San Michele, some small loaves of whole wheat made by local bakers, is offered to the participants.
In the afternoon there are a series of excursions on the Aurunci Mountains with walking, horseback riding, donkeys, and mountain biking, crossing paths that reach the peaks of the Aurunci to observe the flight of buzzards. In addition there are also guided hikes in some limestone caves.
Among the many experiences, the event also includes tactile and olfactory guided tours dedicated to blind and deaf people with sign language translation, paths with K-Bike and Jolet dedicated to people with reduced mobility, easy access to water and beach games for girls and disabled children.
In the area of the pilgrim there are seminars and cultural encounters on the theme of pilgrim paths and an exhibition of records, books and traditional musical instruments is also set up. “The custodians of the treasures” is the demonstration of ancient crafts and craftsmanship skills of the land and the sea. “Vento in poppa” (literally wind in breast) is an activity dedicated to children to learn about water sports. Also there is a show of popular musical theatre with the theatrical company “Il Setaccio”.
“La notte dei Tamburi” is an original percussion concert in which a spontaneous Orchestra of young musicians performs with the sound of pizziche and tammurriate dance music. “The night of the bagpipes” is a concert with a bagpipe orchestra formed by many young musicians.
In the early morning guests are offered the “coffee of the stars” to greet the arrival of the sun, and then the “breakfast of the pilgrim“.
In the concert space in the evening there are musical performances with traditional music groups from the municipalities of the area and beyond, such as Malerva, Canzoniere dell’Appia, Organetti of Maranola, Popular Choir, Marco Ciampi, Leo Keith Tuccinardi, the soprano Alessandra Krogh, the choir “Voci all’Aria” by Maranola directed by Anna Rita Colaianni, Mimmo Epifani & Josè Barros Quartet, Peppe Servillo, the harpist Giuliana De Donno, the popular singer Raffaello Simeoni, Maestro Nicola Piovani. Finally, every year we have to read the readings with the actor Edoardo Siravo and the stories of Gianni Aversano dedicated to the stories of saints and brigands of the territory, the readings and poems of the poet Davide Rondoni.
In the vicinity of the Pilgrim Area you can camp freely. All events are free admission.
Why wait? Music, trekking, horse-riding, MTB, food and wine … there is something for everyone!