The road to Capri is blue and salty. I start the journey from the charming town of Amalfi and I’m being told it takes about 2 hours to reach the island. Being the boating fanatic that I am, 2 hours seems a bit short for me to admire the rugged landscape while gently being rocked by the friendly water. There is no other way to reach the island except by sea although there are several options for every pocket: by ferry, book a tour with transportation included, rent a private boat with a skipper or sail by yourself.
As the wind messes up my hair and I taste the salty drops of water that land on my lips, I am excited to finally see for myself the famous island that was the decor of so many legendary movies! The image of Brigitte Bardot and those cute capri pants comes quickly to my mind and I can’t help but smile with content.
Positano greets us half way through our journey. The cliffside village is just waking up, stretching its shoulders into the bright morning sun. I promise myself I will visit it upon my return.
As we navigate along the coastline, there’s quite alot of traffic. For a brief moment, the cliffs remind me of the Norwegian fjords.
Situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Capri is an Italian island off the southern coast in the Gulf of Naples, near Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Famed for its landscape, upscale hotels and shopping (from designer fashion to limoncello and beautifully handcrafted leather sandals), the island opens up to me like a small paradise. When we reach our destination, Marina Grande (Big Harbor), it feels as if the trip lasted only 5 minutes. The brightly colored boats are welcoming us neatly lined up in the marina. We dock and I look a bit around: not much to do in the harbor: a few souvenir shops and the cable car booth. The way to the city center is one very steep ride up (260 meters) and, as I’m mellowed by the sun, I decide to take the cable car up and come down by foot.
In less than 3 minutes the cable car takes me to the Piazzetta. This has always been the island’s center of life. In the past, it served as a market place where fish and vegetables were sold until 1938 when the young islander Raffaele Vuotto placed a few tables outside his bar in the Piazzetta. From that moment on, the square became a fashionable meeting place for both locals and visitors.
Overlooking the sea, a larger than life Carole Feuerman sculpture dominates the square. It is called “Survival of Serena” and the inscription is telling me its story: the sculpture is part of Carole’s swimming series based on her childhood beach excursions in Long Island, where she observed the patterns formed y water on her skin and how harmonious seemed the act of a body dipping into and out of the water. Carole sees water as an enduring symbol for life: water cleanses and purifies; water touches all people, animals and things; water connects one land to another; water moistens and revives.
The island is quite rich in history: in the middle ages it was ravaged by pirates and in the 1800’s it was fought for by the French and British who took turns to occupy it. During the later half of the 19th century, Capri became a popular resort for European artists, writers and other celebrities.
The views are breathtaking and I feel so much peace wandering on the narrow and sometimes steep streets trying to soak in the island’s beauty as much as I can. Close to the center, the Gardens of Augustus are comprised of a series of panoramic flower-decked terraces overlooking on one side the Faraglioni (the tree spurs of rocks that rise up from the sea in the picture above) and on the other the Bay of Marina Piccola and Via Krupp (the winding road that you can see in the picture below). The story of Via Krupp says that in the early 20th century, German industrialist Krupp commissioned the engineer Emilio Mayerto to design and build a pathway which would link Marina Piccola, where he habitually moored his yacht each summer, with the area surrounding the Gardens of Augustus. To scale the roughly 100 meter drop, the engineer cut a series of hairpin bends into the rock, set so close together that they appear almost to overlap. Sadly, the road was closed due to a danger of rocks falling otherwise I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to reach Marina Piccola via such an iconic route!
There are no cars on the streets of Capri, only pedestrians admiring the beautiful views and stopping for a bite to eat at the numerous restaurants on the island.
To be quite honest, I have never tasted a lemonade as good as the one made on Amalfi coast so I stop to grab one with every chance I get. Besides the rich, perfumed flavor I am also hoping to boost my immune system by giving it an overdose of vitamin C.
The Charterhouse of St. Giacomo built in 1371 is the oldest historic building on the island and hosts a high school and the Diefenbach Museum. During summer, it functions as a venue for concerts and cultural events.
The white of the houses, the blue of the sea and the sky are so soothing for my eyes, that I cannot stop taking pictures.
As with all the places I visit, I ask myself the question: “Could you ever live here?”
Can you guess my answer? Before leaving, I take another good look at the scenery: this is the image that will forever be embedded into my memory whenever I’ll think about Capri.
Back on the boat, we have to be careful while exiting the marina as the waters are crowded, mostly by one-day tourists. Positano welcomes us again, half way to Amalfi. It lures me and, as promised, I stop for a quick bite.
The village is extremely crowed and hot in August this is why I recommend visiting it off season.
I have blogged about Positano here therefore in this post I will only leave you with a couple of images in the hope that they will stir your interest to hop on a plane and see it for yourselves.
On the way back to Amalfi, we can see some of the hundreds fires that swept the coast this summer. Supposedly they were started by the Italian mafia. I am fascinated to watch a skillful heli pilot getting water from the sea and pouring it onto the fire.
Just a few minutes more and we’re docking in Amalfi which I can call home during my stay in Italy. As always, I hope this post has helped you choose Capri as your next traveling destination. Drop me a note in case you need more traveling tips and I’ll be happy to help.
Have a blessed day!