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capri, pearl of the mediterranean     la vita e´ bella

Josefina & Wolfgang Bleier
Austria, September 2008

Capri - what a lovely name. Incredibly beautiful, chic, and sometimes shockingly expensive; this is Capri, one of Italy's most fabulous resorts that has long been famed for its glamour and style. We think of the settings of glamorous films and novels, and lush greenness spotted by flowers on an island looming out of a turquoise sea. The seductive charm of this island off the Sorrentine Peninsula on the south side of the Gulf of Naples attracts travellers since centuries more than many other islands on earth. Once we've set foot on Capri, everyday life seemed a million miles away...

Capri flowers Capri can be easily reached from Naples. A speedy hydrofoil shuttle service takes passengers from "Molo Beverello" at Naple's harbour to Capri's harbour "Marina Grande" within forty minutes. Especially in the summer months the hydrofoil services Capri frequently. You can simply get to Molo Beverello, buy your ticket and take the next service. From Marina Grande it takes only a few minutes to the center of Capri village by taking the "Funicolare" cable railway, taxi or bus.
Already from a distance, the island appeared like paradise in the mist of the deep blue Mediterranean. As we came nearer, Capri unfolded its beauty that made us struggle for words to describe. A bit later, when we disembarked the boat at Marina Grande, we slowly grasped the mystery of Capri - god was simply very generous to create so much beauty on one tiny, small island. Magnifico. Our eyes fell on picturesque small houses tinted in pastel colours that embrace the Marina Grande, and wandered all the way up to the vine-coloured hills behind, where limewashed houses, wrapped in purple bougainvillea and lemon trees, scatter like sugar sprinkled on a cake. Small fishing boats weaved their way unnoticed through luxury yachts, each a little larger and more exquisite then the other, with the only signs of on-board life being the flags of origin flapping in the breeze of the sea. We stepped into a surreal scenery of Marina Grande and Capri beyond, framed by the distinctive shape of this tiny island. Since centuries Capri is the unrivalled European meeting point of the rich, the famous ...and the not-so-lucky.

Capri sunset Yes, Capri is also besieged by a stream of tourists that amounts to thousands a day in the high season from May till September.
But there is also another Capri, and it's easy to break away from the bustle. A Capri that you can absorb off the "shot and go" tourist paths, a Capri even on the chic Piazzetta where you can be with the rich and famous, or just with yourself like the locals who go there early morning or from late afternoon when the last ferry boats leave. A Capri that you can explore on hiking trails, which will lead you to impressive places of Capri's cultural heritage where one can enjoy the superb beauty of the island's nature and spectacular views of broken cliffs and the crystal-clear, turquoise sea. And last but not least, if you want to escape from the society life in Capri village, there is also Anacapri. It is the other village on this island, where one can mingle with locals and tourists in much less crowded places. Anacapri can be easily reached by Capri's cabriolet taxis, or by the Anacapri bus line. Both will take you there via the Via Provinciale Anacapri, a narrow coastal road high up along the steep cliffs where your knees will turn to jelly. Trust the driver and enjoy the spectacular views straight down to the Marina Grande at Capri's north coast.

Places that have attracted us most

The small, beautiful Piazza in the heart of the historical centre of Anacapri is a real gem. The flowered balcony of the Materita restaurant looks out over the square in front of the Church of Santa Sofia, a parvis surrounded by ornate ceramic benches where mainly locals take a rest.

Capri - Piazza Umberto
The famous, chic Piazzetta is the center of Capri village, which, from the white terrace of the Funicolare cable railway, opens out with a fabulous view of Monte Solaro. The Piazzetta is also the center of the island for tourists and locals alike. Most of those arriving on Capri find themselves in the narrow passages left between the cafe terraces where people meet to chat in the late afternoon or enjoy a nice evening.

Marina Piccola
Marina Piccola, a very beautiful part of Capri's south coast, offers one of the best views of the famous Faraglioni rocks. It is easy to reach from Capri after a 15 minutes walk on the "Via Mulo" walkway.

Capri sunsetMarina Grande
Unless you arrive by helicopter (just kidding!), Marina Grande is the place where Capri welcomes its visitors.

Punta Carena Lighthouse
Punta Carena is a lighthouse at the island's westernmost tip "Lido del Faro". The Punta Carena Lighthouse is the second most important and powerful lighthouse in Italy.

Arco Naturale
Arco Naturale, the remains of a grotto, is now an impressive natural arch in a huge rock made from erosion. It's a quiet place that can be reached after a 30 to 40 minutes walk from Capri on Via Arco Naturale. In the vicinity of Arco Naturale is the cosy Le Grottelle restaurant, which is built like a nest into a grotto. Meals are served on a lovely garden terrace with spectacular views of the Campanella point and the Amalfi coast. It is a reward for those arriving at the arch after climbing up the 120 steps at the end of the coastal walk.

Grotta Azzurra
Even if it belongs to the beaten tourist track, one should see the vivid light-blue water of Grotta Azzurra. No word or image can ever describe the magic of this cove. The scenery inside the cove is almost surreal. The shine and transparency of light blue water creates an impression like navigating through a clear sky, as if the boats float in an fantastic universe.

The Gardens of Augustus
From the flowery Gardens of Augustus one can overlook big parts of Capri's charming south coast. From there Via Krupp zig-zags its way down to Marina Piccola. Even a road can be a work of art.

Carthusia Profumi
Carthusia Profumi is a limited production of original Capri perfumes, of which the origins reach back to the year 1380. Made from genuine products of Capri, men's face lotion unfolds a whiff of rosemary, and the seductive scents of Capri's flowers in women's perfumes will make men's head turn. Guaranteed!

ripe tomatoFood - it's "passione"
Any dish ending in 'caprese' is likely to have originated here. Capri has plenty of superb restaurants that offer delicious dishes for every taste, assembled with the minimum of fuzz "just as Nonna used to make". Here are some of them:
For a good dinner one should not miss to visit the pleasant "Il Cucciola" restaurant that nestles in the gardens of the west part of Capri, half way between Anacapri and Demacuta. They serve fresh, delicious seafood on a romantic terrace with a splendid view of Naples and Ischia - and you will love to see the sunset - €€€. From the flowered balcony of the "Materita" restaurant in the historical center of Anacapri one can overlook the hustle and bustle on the square in front of the Church of Santa Sofia - €€. In the "Scialapopol" trattoria in Capri you may come across some rich and famous, while eating delicious antipasti together with a crisp white wine - €€. In the vicinity of Arco Naturale you will find the cosy restaurant "Le Grottelle", a cosy restaurant built like a nest into a grotto. Meals are served on a garden terrace with great views of the Campanella point and the Amalfi coast - €€. "Terrazza Ciro a Mare" at Marina Piccola offers tasty seafood on a terrace next to the sea, with a perfect view of the Faraglioni rocks - €€€. The superb "Add'o Riccio" family-run restaurant serves finest sea food and fish specialties in an exquisite seaside location just minutes away from the Blue Grotto - €€€. Should you ever run out of time or budget, a simple Pannini with Prosciutto, Parmigiano and Ruccola salad tastes delicious - €.

Places we still have to see, once we return

Villa San Michele - Axel Munthe
The villa San Michele is located on the north-eastern side of Anacapri, 327 metres above sea level. Here was an ancient Roman imperial villa, the ruins of which were preserved by Axel Munthe, a Swedish physician and psychiatrist who is best known as the author of "The Story of San Michele". San Michele was Munthe's residence between 1896 and 1910.

Villa Jovis
The most important of the island's twelve imperial villas, Villa Jovis was built in the First Century AD and discovered in the Eighteenth Century.

Monte Solaro
Monte Solaro is the highest point on the island at 589 metres above sea level. One can either walk there by taking the narrow street at the beginning of Viale Axel Munthe, or take the chairlift from Anacapri. The chairlift station is near the Piazza Vittoria from where one can reach the hilltop quickly to enjoy great views of Anacapri and the gulf of Naples.

Island boat tour
Renting a private boat with a captain who takes you to the turquoise waters is the only way to explore some of the most beautiful parts of the island. In fact, the most beautiful stretches of the Capri coastline are completely inaccessible by land. Capri's secluded bays are perfect for swimming or sun bathing - far away from the tiny public pebble beaches.


A stay on Capri is a feast for the senses. The beauty of scenery, its pristine waters, the scents of the flowers and excellent cuisine have refined our perception of well-being..., la vita e´ bella.
Unfortunatel all good things must come to an end, and our stay on Capri had to come to an end as well. Leaving the Pearl of the Mediterranean made us feel a bit sad, and we left Capri with some mixed feelings: how will we get along in the world out there? ...and when will be the next time to return?

Ciao, Bella!

Links & Information

Capri Tour Guides Hotels & Villas Restaurants Events & Places to see Orsa Maggiore (4) Il Cucciolo Anacapri
100% pure Capri (where we've stayed) (+39 081 8371917) Capri center (Piazzetta)
Scialapopol Marina Grande
Useful information Piccola Marina Hotel (4) (Capri center, Via Gradoni) Marina Piccola
How to get there Casa Morgano (5) Terrazza Ciro a Mare Punta Carena Lighthouse
Ferry & Hydrofoil Caesar Augustus (5) Add'o Riccio Arco Naturale
Map & Weather Punta Tragara (5) Materita Grotta Azzurra
Capri Boat Tour Capri Palace Hotel & SPA Le Grottelle The Gardens of Augustus, Via Krupp
(if budget allows) Carthusia Profumi
Villa San Michele - Axel Munthe
Villa Jovis
Monte Solaro


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