It was a lovely morning when we boarded the SNAV ferry ‘Don Francesco’ from Sorrento to the Isle of Capri. The journey took about 45 mins and it was a smooth and pleasant cruise. The small Italian island of Capri sits some 5km from the Sorrentine Peninsula, south of the Gulf of Naples in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Capri is part of the region of Campania in the Province of Naples. The little town of Capri is the island’s main population centre and together with the commune at Anacapri, located on the hills in the western part of the island form a populace of about 13000.
Capri has been inhabited since ancient times and had been a getaway for many Roman emperors but it was Augustus who developed Capri by building temples, villas, aqueducts and gardens so that he could enjoy his private paradise. His successor Tiberius too built a series of villas and one of the best preserved in Italy today, is Villa Jovis. Tiberius moved to Capri in 27 AD and ruled the Roman empire from here till his death in 37 AD.
A French antique dealer by the name of Jean-Jacques Bouchard was the first tourist to Capri in the 17th century and his diary which was found in 1850 was a valuable source of information of those days on the isle. Today, Capri has still not lost her charm and is the playground of the glitterati. Italian holidaymakers and tourists alike swamp the island during the summer months of July and August.
This interesting little church found at the corner of Via Cristoforo Colombo, built in 1985 by a division of the Italian Navy has only got standing room. We sadly had to give the famed ‘Grotta Azzurra-Blue Grotto’ a miss as the tide was too high and the row boats could not gain access to the cave, but happily that would give me a reason to revisit Capri someday.
Piazza Umberto I is the busy main square of Capri where the locals and tourists converge. There are many souvenir shops to browse through and trattorias to enjoy local fare and people-watching. I brought home a piece of Capri, a red coral ring souvenir of my Capri Escapade.
Via Krupp, is a steep paved footpath that covers an elevation of about 100m and it connects the Charterhouse of San Giacomo and the Gardens of Augustus with the Marina Piccola. It was commissioned by German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp and built between 1900-1902 but it has been closed since 1976 due to the danger of falling rocks.
Marina Piccola is on the opposite end of the Marina Grande where we landed. It is quieter here and there are two beaches great for swimming or sunbathing on the smooth pebbly shores except during the peak Summer season.
We took a leisurely 20 min stroll from Piazza Umberto I to the Gardens of Augustus and though this was not a spectacular green patch, it is a great spot for a panoramic view of ‘La Faraglioni’. These 3 famous limestone crags or sea stacks are pillar-like rock masses detached from the cliff-lined shore through erosion by the pounding waves and are surrounded by water. The Faraglioni trio : ‘Stella’-109m is still attached to the main island, followed by ‘Mezzo’-82m and ‘Scopolo’-106m which are in close proximity and look like one from this angle.
This Carthusian Monastery or Charterhouse was established and built in 1371 by the great chamberlain of the Angevine court, Giacomo Arcuccio.
These Sorrentine lemons from the Femminello St. Teresa cultivar love the Mediterranean clime, are larger in size than my clenched fist and look a tad gnarled on the outside but serve up a relishing thirst quencher for 5 Euros.
Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur which has over 100 years of history which is mainly produced in Southern Italy especially around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula, Amalfi Coast and on the islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri. It is made from the zest of the Sorrento lemons without the pith and steeped in grain alcohol until the oil is released, resulting in the yellow liquid which is then mixed with syrup.
The locals call this Chair-lift the ‘Seggiovia’ and it takes you from Anacapri up to Monte Solaro which is the highest point on the Isle of Capri.
The chair-life ride took about 15 mins and it was a relaxing way to take in the sights as we ascended and passed many private homes with pretty gardens and orchards underfoot.
I love the way the white-washed houses sparkle in the Mediterranean sun! In Greek mythology, Capri is known as the ‘Isle of Sirens’ and was a much favoured resort of the Roman emperors.
Monte Solaro standing at 589m is the highest point on Capri and the sheer dolomite slopes almost divides the eastern and western sides of the island. At the foot of Monte Solaro lies the Marina Grande.
Capri is actually a large, limestone and sandstone rock that has perpendicular cliffs on the sides of the island and more cliffs on the surface as well.
You can have a look at the ‘Fortino di Bruto’ a fort used in battles between Britain and France in the early 19th century and also a statue of Emperor Augustus up here.
Up on Mount Solaro on a good day like this, a breath-taking view of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Naples is seen in the North-western part of the isle. The azure sea and the brilliant sunlight augments the natural beauty of the island and it is easy to see why it is difficult to not fall in love with Capri!