Capri is situated 5 km from the mainland in the Bay of Naples, a celebrated beauty spot and coastal resort since the days of the Roman Republic until now. It is also part of Campania. The soaring Faraglioni Rocks – Capri Capri, known in Greek mythology as the isle of the sirens, was a favored […]
Capri is situated 5 km from the mainland in the Bay of Naples, a celebrated beauty spot and coastal resort since the days of the Roman Republic until now. It is also part of Campania.
The soaring Faraglioni Rocks – Capri
Capri, known in Greek mythology as the isle of the sirens, was a favored resort of the Roman emperors. Most notoriously, the emperor Tiberius had his villa on the island, the location (supposedly) of debauched orgies. Those who displeased the emperor were flung to their deaths from the cliffs. The island is world famous and is very touristy, especially when swamped with tourists in July & August, but other times of year it is calmer and more relaxing.
The town of Anacapri and its surrounding villas and hikes
Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra) – The Blue Grotto is a beautiful cave at the water’s edge with a tiny opening to the sea that opens and closes with the tide, used as a bath since the Roman times. The entrance is small and depending on the tide there is just enough space for only a small rowboat to get through. Dark at the entrance, one has to enter 20-30 yards and then turn around to view the beautiful sight of the light from the entrance flowing through the water lit turquoise from below by the sun. Hence the sight of the “Blue Grotto”. You’ll be amazed at the turquoise hues glimmering in the water and against the rocks. The grotto often closes due to tides and waves, and it may take a while for your boat to get in, with many other boats trying to do the same. It may also be advisable to check the tides beforehand to avoid disappointment. The trip on the passenger boat from Marina Grande to outside the Blue Grotto cavern costs about €9, then €12.50 per person for the rowboat to take you in through the tiny entrance which includes the entrance ticket to the cave and demands forom the oarsman for a tip, with a round trip of about 1 to 3 hours. There are also cruises that circumnavigate Capri and stop at the Blue Grotto allowing passengers to board a row boat and enter the grotto Alternatively, one can take a bus to Anacapri, walking 100m (inquire locally), then taking another bus to the Grotta Azzurra. This has the advantage of cutting on the cost from Marina Grande, as well as placing you near Anacapri where much else is to be seen. There is also a trail starting from Anacapri through the woods. Use Google Map (Satelite view) to try and find the trail and there are signs located intermittently. The grotto is open from 9:00 to one hour before sunset daily. If the grotto closes suddenly (hopefully while you are outside it), consider a €12 cruise around the magnificent Faraglioni Rocks instead. The Blue Grotto is one of those ‘love it’ or ‘loathe it’ places. At peaks times the queue of tour bosats and those arriving by land can be 1 to 2 hours long and the total time in the cave is only a few minutes. Some will wonder what all the fuss is about (it’s a cave with a small pool of blue water) and will begrudge the cost and time involved in seeing it. Others adore the place. As your trip finishes, your boat rower will likely ask for a tip (as if you haven’t paid enough for the 20 min service).
Villa Jovis – splendid residence of the Emperor Tiberius, start from Piazzetta Umberto I and turn into Via delle Botteghe, continuing straight on through Via Fuorlovado, Via Croce and, finally, Via Tiberio. After visiting the villa, you could dedicate some time to other attractions in the vicinity, such as the Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, the Cave of Tiberius and the Lighthouse Tower.
Sunrise – If you take the early ferry from Naples (the one at 6.45AM), then as you travel to Capri, the sun rises over the mountains. The sky turns from deep violet to pink to orange to gold. It is an amazingly beautiful sight, certainly worth waking up at the ungodly hour!
Villa San Michele – Localed in Anacapri. Swedish physician Axel Munthe built it at the turn of the 20th Century on the grounds of one of Tiberius’s ancient villas. The gardens have stupendous views of the island, the Sorrentine Peninsula and Mount Vesuvius. The villa and its grounds sit on a ledge at the top of the so-called Phoenician Steps (Scala Fenicia in italian), built between Anacapri and Capri very probably by the first Greek settlers (the stairs are very steep and not for everybody). The good doctor actually wrote a book about the building of the villa and it makes good reading (The Story of San Michele). You’ll find the book in many languages at the villa gift store for about EUR 10. The Villa makes a very nice visit and along the road to get here you’ll find nice stores that sell the Limoncello liquor that is quite good (specially cold). There is a small entrance fee, but it’s well worth it.
Church of San Michele Arcangelo – Also in Anacapri, this church is a very nice example of baroque style on the island. Even though the church is nice by itself, the prize is the tile floor which is a mosaic depicting the expulsion of Adam & Eve from paradise, by artist Leonardo Chiaiese. You’ll have to walk on wooden planks on the sides.