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Travel: Capri Island, Italy Oct 4th/2023

A continuation of a trip that started on Oct 3rd

Napoli - Oct 3rd (part 1)

Capri Island

It took us 45 years (when in our 20th..) to return to this enchanting, but highly touristic island. situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrento Peninsula on the south side of the Napoli gulf,

Each way from Napoli to Capri and back cost about 22 Euro p/p ,

It is easy to get to the port 
where the Ferry service depart every hour.

the ride is 50 minutes)

Get the ticket back to Napoli in Capri, when you decide to depart. That gives you flexibility instead of being locked to a specific return time

Bus to the port. SNAV Ferry to Capri

The family debated whether to book an organized group day trip from

Napoli to Capri with a reliable company and guidance, while being picked up from the hotel and being succumbed to a a fix dictated schedule for the entire day,

If interested in a group day tour, this is a good recommendation

Viator Grupe Tour -

Capri, Anacapri and Blue Grotto in a Day Trip- Small Group (Euro 165p/p)

Fiore Antonio - private Speed Boat tour

The other option was to rather keep an independent flexible schedule by planning the entire day trip on our own, which won more votes in our family..

So after boarding the ferry from Napoli sea-port, and upon anchoring at Capri's busily harbor, we luckily run into Antonio and his private tour boat service.

He was waiting to catch "free-spirited" tourists like us, coming off the ferry with no reserved boat plans, so he can offer his services. (200 Euro for 2 sailing hours)

This 80 years old Capri 's native sea man - a bit resembling Pinokio's Papa Jeppeto

was very simpatico and we enjoyed the sale and his sharing all his knowledge .

Fiore Antonio - Private Speed Boat tour/guide (for 10 people)

+39 3511742519

It is better to call and book him (or his son) beforehand to guarantee an available boat , especially on weekends,

The island has two harbors, Marina Piccola the little harbor and Marina Grande - the main port of the island - where we embarked.

As the ferry neared Capri's harbor, it became apparent from the unfolding scenery that things in the island have changed dramatically, between our distant visit of the past, and now.

The busy Grande Marina

Loosely populated then, the island is now densely populated (14,000 ),

The natural harbor got enlarged, is now fully constructed, and became very congested with large in size and in volume.

Boats, yachts and ferries, constantly maneuvered in and out, loading and unloading.

The exotic horses and buggies, that then pulled the incidental tourists on unpaved trails, to the top of the hill and the squares with the few trinket stalls totally disappeared.

Instead, more paved roads throughout the island allow now transport in expensive taxi rides. Bus and private luxury car services , along with a funicular and chairlift.. replaced the, charm of the non-motorized transportation, of the past long gone.

And this Covid Free signed welcomed us

The 12 minutes ride uphill to Monte Solaro  -the highest point on the Island of Capri (589 meters above sea level) can be the fastest, and easily reached using the chairlift

Non-resident vehicles are still prohibited (from Easter to the beginning of November) and regardless are not particularly of use as the centers of the island are completely closed to traffic and there is very little public parking available.

Many fancy boutique hotels ,elegant expensive brand name stores, coffee places, restaurants, and heavenly Gelatterias, replaced the small guest houses and vendor stalls. of the past.

But most notable was the volume of tourists that has swelled like the waves, when pouring in droves off the boats and into the island's shore, mobbing it relentlessly.

Although we visited in the middle of the week, still the island was mobbed.

Capri is visited by more than 2 million people a year...

Sailing in Antonio's Boat

Following the Red arrows from the Marina Grande to Marina Piccolla and back

We were assured that sailing to the famous Grotta Azzurra (Blue Cave) is not worth the time and the extended wait in long lines, So we opted for the 2.5 hours sailing tour of several other fantastic Grottas with most bluish water, where the sunlight shining through an underwater cavity is reflected back upward through the seawater below the cavern, giving the water a blue glow that illuminates the cavern.

Encountering Gennarino Scugnizzo

Unless our guide Antonio hadn't pointed toward him we would have missed this small figure of a bronze statue, sited on a large boulder (called Lo Capo) on the eastern end of Capri, where he waves at passing tourists and islanders on boats, as they head to Marina Grande, or along the coast, He is known as Gennarino Scugnizzo,

Faraglioni -legendary trio of sea giants rock formation

Stella, di Mezzo(arch) and di Fuori: -

Dramatic Rock formations, rock arches, quaint coves, on view while sailing along the island's steep tall shores were amazing, as was the free swimming in the sea, on a day with best weather.

All definitely worth this special family experience.

Vila Malaparte on top of the Rock above Punta Massullo

The island of Capri has been inhabited since the 8th BC, when the Greeks and Phoenicians settled there. The main town of Capri that shares the Island's name has been a resort since the time of the Roman Republic.

Tacitus records that there were twelve Imperial villas in Capri.

However, the first person to really appreciate Capri was the Emperor Tiberius, the man who took control of Rome after Augustus. He built a series of villas at Capri, the most famous of which is the Villa Jovis, one of the best-preserved Roman villas in Italy.

In 27 AD, Tiberius permanently moved to Capri, running the Empire from there until his death in 37 AD

Ride to the Top of the Island

Riding the funicular from the Marina in the bottom, to the hill's top dropped us off at Capri's central area - the Piazzetta.

Views on the way up the hill

La Piazzetta - Little Square

The hub of social life, this small most famous public square of the island of Capri, is located in the historic center, since Roman times.

It is most crowded yet is a quaint elegant and fun to visit square.

The square is nicknamed, "the little theater of the world" and has been considered the center of the town and the meeting point of the island by both residents and others.

The main element of the square are the clock tower, courtyard of City Hall and

The square was already well developed as the center of local life when, in 1900, it was home to produce markets of vegetables and fish and meat.

From the square few narrow and congested pedestrian routs lead to amazing vista points, along streets with elegant boutiques

The views from the top of the island toward the bluish tranquil sea-water below, as are the rock formations, Napoli's skyline and that of the volcanic Vesuvius Mt. are amazing.

Some of other main features of the island include Belvedere of Tragara - a high panoramic promenade lined with villas, the limestone crags called sea giants that project above the sea ( faraglioni), the town of Anacapri, the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas, and the vistas of various towns surrounding.

in addition to the breathtaking scenery, the villas and the glamorous boutiques, there are a number of excellent small museums, interesting both for their collections and for their settings in churches or historical residences which were often once the island homes of famed artists and intellectuals.

During the 19th C, the island became one of the most sought-after destinations for artists and travelers undertaking the Grand Tour visitors that included royalty, philosophers and French composers

Prior to the First World War the island was extremely popular with wealthy gay men. John Ellingham Brooks and Somerset Maugham shared a villa there. 

Friedrich Alfred Krupp, was a wealthy German industrialist often referred to as the "Munitions King".  who was accused of homosexual orgies and eventually committed suicide.

Axel Munthe was a well-traveled Swedish writer and physician who first visited Capri in 1885 while on a journey to improve his health. He was so enamored by the island, made frequent trips to Capri in between his professional activities, and decided to build a home there. on the ruins of an ancient Chapel dedicated to San Michele,

Villa San Michele, out of an old chapel in Anacapri.

Inside his home he kept various antiquities and fossils that he had found on the island. These artifacts have made Villa San Michele one of Capri's main tourist attractions. Munthe also volunteered to help those affected by cholera epidemics in Naples and earthquakes in Messina. Despite later suffering from a severe eye disease that eventually left him blind,

He wrote "The History of San Michele", detailing his construction of the house in Anacapri.

The Villa now belongs to the Swedish state.

Italian novelist Alberto Moravia lived on the island of Capri for many years, starting in the early 1930s when he and his wife Elsa Morante hosted French author André Gide in their house overlooking the sea.

In 1908, Lenin was hosted by Maxim Gorky, (1909-11) the Russian author, at his house Villa Behring, - later known also as Villa Spinola and Hotel Ercolano

Karl Wilheim Diefenbach was a painter born in 1851 who came to Capri in the early 20th century to escape attacks by the press. And also, one of my favorite - Chilean poet Pablo Neruda ,who was a renowned figure in international literature and also held important diplomatic and political roles, such as his term as a senator for the Chilean Communist Party in 1945, exiled in Capri in 1952 where he wrote "The Captain’s verses" – awarding him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

While the guys opted to sit at a coffee place to drink some beer ,we the girls chose to continue strolling , through the enchaining allies and "inhaled" more of the stunning panoramic views of the coast.on display on and off the island..

Strolling through the Garden of Augustus

Close to the center, but away from the glitzy shops and fancy hotels, are the beautiful lush Gardens of Augustus and only steps away from the Charterhouse of San Giacomo,

The Gardens of Augustus are comprised of a series of panoramic flower-decked terraces overlooking the Faraglioni on the one side and the Bay of Marina Piccola and Via Krupp on the other.

The gardens dates back to the early 20th when German industrialist, Friedrich Alfred Krupp, established the gardens and had a path built down to the shore below, where his yacht often moored during his summer visits to the island.

The gardens were donated to Capri following Krupp's death in 1902. Initially known as the Krupp Gardens, The name was changed in 1918 when they were renamed the Gardens of Augustus.

We stuck to the upper part of the gardens only, as climbing back this steep path with a

4 years old, was not appealing to us,

Satiated with Capri's upper part sights, back with the funicular, we enjoyed a bit more the shore by the Marina Grande, before heading on the ferry back to Napoli


To be continued....


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