The Island of Capri is situated in the Golf of Naples. It is a exclusive VIP resort, a romanitic island, the ideal center for artists from around the world, and the world capital for the Caffè Society. It is everyone's dream.
For Capri one must begin with the arrival of Ottaviano, not yet Augusto, that in 29 AD landed there and was fascinated with the beauty of the island; he took it from Naples in exchange for Ischia. After Ottaviano, the Emperor Tiberius moved on the island for 10 years and governed the empire from there. The presence of the two Emperors on Capri greatly influenced the development of its architecture and its development as an urban center. The work of the great constructive capabilities of the Romans is evident in the port as seen with, the hydraulic system, the many factories, homes and the 12 imperial villas that still have remains. In the arc of the long history of Capri there were invasions and ransackings by the Saracrens (medieval) and then by the Ottomans (16th century) and finally in the 1800s passed into the hands of the Bourbons family which gave the island a great cultural connotation, especially after the union of Ferdinando IV with Maria Carolina d'Austria who was cultured and refined. So in the 1800s Capri began to be known worldwide. At the beginning it owed its fame to being a strategic point for ruling southern Italy and bitter fighting between the French under Napolean's reign, who succeeded the Bourbons, and the English. In this period many fortifications were built around the perimeter of the island at the expense of the roman ruins that had survived until that time. The fame of Capri continued to grow thanks to romantic interests for travel that brought the first of a long line of foreigners to the island. Capri soon came to dedicate itself to the art of leisure and hospitality. The first hotel of the island was opened by the Pagano notary who transformed their own house into Hotel Pagano. During this century they hosted artists from all over the world, mainly Germans, belonging to the penniless bohemian period. Only at the end of the 1800s, with the opening of hotel Quisisana, did Capri finally bring more noble, royal, political, and industrial tourism. In the middle of the 1900s there were regulars on the island like the writers Moravia, Ungaretti, Pratolini and other of the literary forefront like the futurists Marinetti, Prampolini, Depero, and Clavel that launched "The Manifest of Capri's Beauty" and the elected center for artists from around the world. Today Capri is one of the most desired and dreamt of places and is visited by tourists coming from every part of the world ( touristic-accommodation place to be able to stay: Villa Rebecca). Here you can see artists painting alone on the streets or writing and using the energy of the island to bring forth their works.
PLACES TO VISIT:
. The Little Square: it is the center of the island of Capri, whether it be tourists or inhabitants, it is the square where one can absolutely live and enjoy the real essence of the island. Here, in the historical bars, you can meet to have breakfast and simply chat, covered by the shade of umbrellas. There is a little Tourist kiosk located in the little square. Everything revolves around the square.
. The Blue Grotto: it is known all over the world for its uniqueness, the intense blue coloring on the inside and the splendid white silver of the objects immersed in its waters. There are two ways to get to the Blue Grotto: by land coming from Anacapri by bus or taxi, or by sea leaving from the Marina Grande with a motorboat that, goes around the island and stops at the entrance of the grotto. In order to enter the grotto you have to go in a small row boat, with 2 or 3 people maximum, lying down you can pass through the small and narrow opening in the rock. This is impossible on the days when the sea is too rough from wind or storms. The entrance of the Blue Grotto is a small opening in the rock wall of approximately 2 meters tall and with the seawater it leaves the opening with only one meter of space, for that reason you have to lie down in the boat. On the inside everything seems completely blue, a blue dome, that is 7 meters high and further in is 14 meters high; the cavity is 60 meters long and 25 meters wide at the most. It continues with the Gallery of Pillar (three connecting branches between the Name Room, called that because of the many visitors that sign the walls) and then the Passage of Corrosion all the way to the furthest accessible point called the Corrosion Room.
. The Peaks: they are three peaks that escaped the erosion of the coast from the sea and the atmosphere. They each have their own name: the one closest to the island is called Star (Stella), the second, separated from the first by line of the sea is Middle Peak, and the third, is Outside Peak or Scopolo, or rather the head or cape of the sea. On the Outside Peak live the famous Lucertola Azzurra of Faraglioni (a small blue lizard), Podarcis sicula coerulea, and it is the only place where is it can possibly be found. It is believed that after the separation of the peaks from the land that the lizards developed blue scales as a sort of defense mechanism because of the blue sky and sea. The peaks have an average height of 100 meters and the Middle Peak has a cavity in the center, the underpass known all over the world.
. La Migliera: the passage of the Migliera, or Migliara, winds through the typical cultivations, especially vineyards, through old forests and meadows in the direction of the island of Ischia.
. Marina Grande: after getting off the ferry or hydrofoil you will arrive in the Marina Grande, the only port on the island.
. Marina Piccola: 15 minutes from the little square on the south side of Capri there is the basin of the Marina Piccola with the peaks. The beach here is very high fashion and rich in plants.
. The Chartreuse: the construction of this Monastery dates back to the 1300s and is structured in three blocked buildings: one that was unrelated to the life of the convent with a pharmacy and a church for women; one for converted brothers and foreign visitors with adjoining barns, the stables and laboratories where the brothers worked; and the last block, for a life of seclusion with cells in the Great Cloister and other areas in the Small Cloister. The Great Cloister reflects a renaissance style with semicircular arcs on the stone pillars, the center area is follows a geometric design with green spaces. The Small Cloister has delicate semicircular arcs on marble roman columns. Currently it is used for a classical school of the Diefenbach Museum of concerts and displays. Displayed in the rooms of the Museum, you will find two statues that were found underwater in the back of the Blue Grotto in 1964.
. Villa Jovis: located at the end of Viale Amedeo Maiuri where one can notice some paved marble steps coming from the roman villa. Villa Jovis, built in the 1st century AD, is attributed to Tiberius; located on a cliff over the sea, constructed ample cisterns and tanks created to support the lack of continuous water sources on Capri. Villa Jovis was organized in sectors connected by hallways, stairs and underground passageways. In settentrione there was the apartment of the Emperor with a view of the Gulf of Naples; in the east there was a part for high representation; the hot springs were in the south and in the west the sleeping quarters and the services. Tiberius's Villa was 5500 square meters and rose up in height, an unusual structure for the times, but necessary for its particular location. At the end of the road that leads to the villa there is the famous statue of "Salto di Tiberio" (Gap of Tiberius), the place where, according to popular legend, was used by the Emperor to make the disobedient servants and unwanted guests fall. The furnishings and the decorative structure were prevalent throughout the course of the centuries, brought to museums or reused to decorate royal palaces, and in some cases were sold by weight like the marble floor. On the inside of the complex archeology of Capri's Villa Jovis is the small church of Santa Maria of Aid. In the front space of the church there is a statue of the Virgin that is also visible from the sea.
. Via Kruup: it was planned and brought to fruition by the engineer Emilio Mayer, cutting the rock all the way to the sea with a bending, narrow path to seem superimposed. It was constructed in the first years of the 1900s, it superseded a height scale of 100 meters. Looking down from it or going along it gives an amazing effect that enables it to be a true and real work of art. It is lined by typical Mediterranean vegetation that randomly grows there.
. The Augustine Garden: there is an example of Capri style botanical organization. It combines the presence of the islands flowers and plants with a breathtaking panoramic view. The creation of the gardens dates back to the 30s when the terraces were created (still present today) on which the gardens are structured.
. Via Tagara: in the back of Via Camerelle turning to the left there is a steep but short ascent up to Via Tagara, built in the Roman times. The street is flat and well kept, lined with trees, luxurious restaurants and extravagant villas: Tragara ends with an impressive view of the peaks from a terrace, from which you can also see a part of the Amalfi coast and the basin of the Marina Piccola.
. Pizzolungo: from the Tragara vista you can access the Pizzolungo path that brings you to the Natural Arc. This is one of the most impressive journeys of Capri. It is very pleasant in the summer and spectacular in the winter when you are stunned before the force of the icy wind and storms that create an unique panorama with colors that have hypnotized artist after artist. Along the walk, which does not provide restoring points, you will run into about 775 steps alternating with flat sections. Every once and a while you can rest by sitting on benches or resting at one of the many beautiful vistas. The path continues until you reach a narrow and steep stair that brings you to the Grotto of Matromania or Matermania.
. Grotto of Matermania: is a long cavaity around 30 meters long and 20 meters wide and with an average height of about 10 meters. From the artifacts found on the inside it is unclear as to which ancient god they might have been dedicated to, even though it is certain that is was a sacred place.
. Natural Arc: is an amazing Paleolithic sculpture, was originally in an underground cavitiy but after a landslide was revealed. The incoherency of the rocks has determined the continuous crumbling until it has become what you see today: a stretch of about 12 meters across and 18 meters high from the ground, it seems to have the features of a natural bridge between two pillars of rock. The Natural Arc is located above sea level and its semicircular spaces frames a fabulous panorama.
. Mount Solaro: at about an hour and half walk from the center of Anacapri you will see the summit of Mount Solaro, also reachable by a 12 minute chairlift. Here you can find the remains of a little fort "Fortino di Bruto" built in the beginning of the 800s in the time of the battles between the French and English. It is the highest part of Capri at about 589 meters above sea level, and it has a 360° panorama view of the whole island. You can see the mountains of Calabria, the Appennini and the Amalfi coast in the distance, then the Sorrentine Peninsula, the Gulf of Naples, and the Islands of Procida and Ischia.
. Cetrella: the Cetrella is located not very far from the top of Mount Solaro at an altitude of about 476 meters. In the 15th century the hermitage of Santa Maria a Cetralla was built on its own real cliff overhanging the Marina Piccola. It is made up of a small church, bells, a sacristy, with a low dome, and a terrace covered with a wisteria pergola, furnished with benches and a long rustic wood table. The panorama might be the most beautiful. The Island of Capri extends sweetly under you with its colors and different shades of the rocks, the sea and the sky, and with a silence only broken by the wind. The spacious panorama of the entire Gulf of Naples, from Capo Miseno to Punta Campanella, from Vesuvius, Procida and Ischia, that lose the depth and texture wrapped up in the shade of the blue sea.
. Castello Barbarossa: on the northern cliffs of Anacapri, on one of the edges of the mass of Mount Solaro, emerge the cliffs of Castello Barbarossa, whose name was given by the ferocious Turkish corsair Khair-ad-din that captured it in 1535. The castle Barbarossa is located at about 412 meters above sea level. The opinions of the period of its construction are not in agreement, and for this reason, it oscillates between the 10th and 11th century. At one time this area was a great place for hunting birds in flight. The WWF periodically organizes guided tours of Castle Barbarossa and nature walks through its property.
. Punta Carena: is located on the south end of the island of Capri and the Limmo Peninsula, its name derived from the latin limen and means border.
. The Forts: the Path of the Forts connects to the Faro di Punta Carena area with the Blue Grotto area via the coast, the path runs between rock framings, sculptural capes and deep basins like fiords in the Turkish waters. It has recently been reconstructed so that the three forts can be connected by it: Orrico, Pino and Mesola. They were built to protect the western area of the island from invader's attacks, and they were then abandoned for many years, and are only restored with their original features.
. Villa San Michele: In Anacapri was the house of the Swedish Doctor Axel Munthe. It was built on the old ruins of a chapel dedicated to San Michele, belonging today to the Axel Munthe foundation and is a museum. In the Villa San Michele there are some conserved artifacts that Munthe had discovered on Capri, Anacapri and elsewhere, and sometimes donated by friends. We find fragments of tombs, busts, roman pavements, marble and columns. In the garden there is a Greek tomb and a granite sphinx that looks over the vista of the entire island.
. Villa Damecuta: is one of the 12 imperial roman villas and is located in Anacapri. There are a few ruins that remain and it cannot be certain if it was inhabited only by Tiberius or also Augusto. The few traces that remain show that there was a long arcaded loggia, open towards the Gulf of Naples and 80 meters long, that ended with an ample semicircular vista. It is thought that in 79 AD the villa of Damecuta was abandoned following the eruption of Vesuvius. In the destruction, in the Middle Ages, a look-out tower was constructed.
. La Casa Rossa (The Red House): founded by the American colonist John Cay H. Mackowen, joint right away in Italy after the American civil war and established himself in Anacapri until 1899. From Piazza Vittoria, following the pedestrian street on the left of the Monument of the Fallen, you can see the Casa Rossa, painted in Pompeian red. It was built with multiple architectural styles, it has mullioned windows and battlements, on the inside one can notice the structure of a squared tower and the arcaded courtyard. Inside the house there is a permanent painting called "L'isola Dipinta" (the painted island). The extremely precious painting shows images of Capri in its local traditions and habits between the 18th and 19th centuries. Thirty-two are the canvases of Italian foreign masters like Barret, De Montalant, Carabain, Hay, Casciaro, Vianelli, Carelli, Giordano, Federico, Brancaccio, Corrodi, Lovatti, and Benton. Three roman statues, discovered in 1964 and 1974 in the Blue Grotto, were put on display here in 2008.