Capri | Foto: 762090, via Pixabay
A Trip to Capri, a Deliciously Quiet Tiny Island with a High Society Edge
From the Isle of Megaride of Castel dell’Ovo to the Gaiola di Posillipo in Naples, to the three rocky cliffs of Li Galli of the Amalfi Coast, small and large islands dot the archipelago of the Campania region. However, five islands stand out, the largest, and they distinctly shape the Gulf of Naples - Ischia, Procida, Vivara, Nisida and Capri, this last being the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea, not far from both Sorrento and Naples, a symbol of beauty itself.
The “Blue Island” (the Isola Azzurra) is divided into the municipalities of Capri and Anacapri and is known for its natural and historic wonders. Centuries ago, it so charmed Tiberius, the Roman Emperor, that, in order to take in all of its amazing vistas, he built, not one, but twelve villas, three of which can still be visited today: Villa Jovis dedicated to Jupiter, Palazzo a Mare, home to the Baths of Tiberius and Villa Damecuta in Anacapri. An obligatory stop on the Grand Tour of the 1800s, Capri saw a boom after World War II, particularly in the ‘50s, when the cafes of Piazza Umberto I, better known as La Piazzetta because of its cozy dimensions, was already a gathering place for artists and aristocrats from around the world.
Piazza Umberto I or La Piazzetta | Photo: Elenagm (Own work), via Wikimedia Creative Commons
If La Piazzetta is the heart of Capri’s social life, home to the Torre dell’Orologio of the Cathedral of Santo Stefano, the nearby Via Camerelle from the Roman era, is the street to go shopping on: with brand-names shops and art galleries like the Liquid Art System and the Capri Art Gallery, an almost-necessary stop is Buonocore with its amazing gelato. Also on this street, Canfora, the shop which custom-makes the thin sandals typical of Capri that were beloved by Jackie Kennedy.
The highest point on the island is Monte Solaro from which you can enjoy a stunning view of the sea and nearby lands. On one of his trips, British writer Charles Dickens wrote that “there is no place in the world that possesses as many occasions for delicious quiet as on this tiny island,” because, regardless of the worldly chaos on the island, especially during the summer, the Philosophic Park of Anacapri of Gunner Adler Karlsson is one of those places where you are greeted by absolute quiet, surrounded by the silence of the sea and nature. The park is divided into three itineraries: Idealism, Realism and Wisdom, in which phrases and aphorisms from philosophers and writers invite visitors to reflect.
Capri, Monte Solaro | Photo: dr_tr, via Flickr
The Centro Caprense Ignazio Cerio conserves the most ancient archeological discoveries found on the island, while the Monastery (or Certosa) of San Giacomo is the most ancient monumental structure, dating back to the 1300s, later expanded in the 1500s and 1700s. But when one speaks of Capri, one thinks of the Faraglioni or Sea Stacks: three incredible geological features, three great rocks, one with a natural cave, jutting up out of the sea dramatically, with the names Saetta, Stella and Scopolo. The surrounding water is blue and becomes increasingly more crystalline in the tiny coves of the island, for the most rocky, some public, others private, which mark the coastline between the Marina Grande and Piccola and can be reached by sea, by foot or even by bus. In these very waters, between Naples and Capri, from 11 May to 19 May 2018, the 64th Edition of the Rolex Capri Sailing Week will be held, a week dedicated to the international sailing world.
The Sea Stacks of Capri | Photo: MonikaP, via Pixabay
Known to the ancient Romans as well, a phenomenal experience is a visit to the Blue Grotto. The name comes from the colour and reflections of the sea that shimmer within this small sea cave. Its entrance is only about a metre high and requires some care upon entering. Along the coast, above the Grotto, is the Sentiero dei Fortini, a trail that starts at the Grotto and heads to the Lighthouse of Punta Carena, where the ancient forts of Orrico, Pino and Mesola are located, long ago serving to protect the island from foreign invasion.
The Blue Grotto | Photo: EL. Photography on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC
Among the culinary offerings of Capri, one must mention the Caprese, a simple and genuine dish known around the world, prepared with tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, salt, oregano and basil. The specialties of the island are generally seafood plates like totani (a sort of squid-looking fish) with potatoes, but also Caponata and Ravioli Caprese. There are also sweets like Capri’s tasty chocolate or almond cakes accompanied with the lemon after-dinner drink, Limoncello. Among the more famous restaurants, perhaps to dine by candlelight, there is the Giardino Eden with its position right on the sea or Da Paolino, tucked under a lemon grove, the preferred restaurant of VIPs visiting the island. There is also Michel’angelo, where, for very reasonable prices, you can order a picnic pack with everything you need for lunch and a map to find the perfect place to enjoy the complete meal from their enticing menu.
To enjoy a privileged view of all this island has to offer, the Hotel Mediterraneo offers exclusive tours off the Coast thanks to a charter service on board the yacht Princess Valeri and by reservation, sea taxi services and even night trips, always with lunch and dinner services provided on board as well.
The 14-meter yacht, Princess Valeri | | www.mediterraneosorrento.com