I remember first hearing about Capri, It was surely when I worked in the Austrian ski-town of Seefeld in Tirol. A very lovely guest of mine that I saw in the spa regularly, always told me about her Italian dream, Anacapri. The lifestyle, the people, the hospitality, the food, just absolutely everything, she was mesmerized. I was so young then and living in a town that had snow 200 days a year, be assured, I found Thailand or the Caribbean much more appealing as travel destinations but I followed her suggestion anyway and ever since, Capri has a very special place in my heart.
“There is a terrace that overlooks the Bay of Naples, and when the sun sinks slowly into the sea the island of Ischia is silhouetted against a blaze of splendour. It is one of the most lovely sights in the world.” -William Somerset Maugham’s The Lotus Eater
When I think of Capri (KAH-pree), I think of the perfect Italian island. Small yet big enough to be home to two fabulous villages, Capri and Anacapri. It got its fame from rugged landscapes, upscale hotels with the best views of the water, limoncello and handmade leather sandals. Let’s go!
Arrival to Capri is by water, or by helicopter. I’ve only ever arrived by water though. We arrived by hydrofoil from Sorrento after about a 30-minute ride. Capri is located closest in the bay of Naples, its still fairly close to the mainland, so the travel to Capri is easy and the waters are mainly calm. (Not so much the case when you travel to Ischia, another adorable Italian island further north, but that’s a story for another post!)
We stayed in early June at the Caesar Augustus on Via Giuseppe Orlandi. A resort where the view is the most incredible feature, which truly does not mean that the accommodations and the food aren’t incredible also, they are! We can’t forget the infinity pool neither.
Spending time in Capri is enchanting, it has been a retreat for many poets, artists and European royals over the past few centuries in search of solitude and inspiration. My favorite time of the season on Capri is early summer, it’s warm with a soft breeze but the island is still calm and charming. Capri can be run over, especially in the mid of summer, if you can avoid it, I suggest you do. Unless you’re a local, you are unable to take your car to the island due to its size. It’s the charm of the island though so you must enjoy it.
36 hours in Capri:
You should give Capri 3 nights, you have to, it’s too pretty not to! You arrive later in the afternoon and most likely your hotel can arrange for a shuttle. Staying in Anacapri is my favorite! It’s calm, gorgeous and you can get away from the touristy village of Capri.
It’s time to toast with a Limoncello on the terrace overlooking the stunning ocean, take it all in. The sunsets from Anacapri are mesmerizing. Orange-dreamsicle-and-then-some kind of sunsets.
Day 1: Sleep in and take some time for a true Italian breakfast (Colazione), scalding hot espresso, cappuccino or caffe latte (A ‘latte’ will only get you a glass of milk in Italy so be aware), and some amazingly rich sweets: Strudel di mele (my favorite) a brioche-filled goodness that is translated to apple strudel. Having lived in Austria for awhile, if I can eat strudel for breakfast then I will! Also Ciambella, which is a krapfen/bunt cake/doughnut kind of goodness, Crostada Amarena, a sour cherry breakfast tart or go for a Cornetto – the Italian take on croissants, you won’t be sorry with trying either! Colazione is somewhat on the go, Italians can sit for dinner for hours but not too much for breakky.
Head over to Villa San Michele on 34 viale A. Munthe where 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), built between Anacapri and Capri. It’s an absolute must and one of my favorite sites in Anacapri.
For lunch head to Anacapri and in the afternoon take the chairlift to Monte Solaro. The views from up there are far and incredible. You can see the Vesuvio and the bay of Naples. On the way up, about a 15-minute ride, you can see amazing gardens and orchards that are underway in private homes.
For dinner on the first night, head over to La Terrazza di Lucullo, which is the restaurant at the Caesar Augustus. It’s suspended right over the ocean, you can see the Vesuvio and you must take dinner during sunset. This has to be one of the most romantic places for dinner in the world. The food is incredibly fresh, farm-to-table (they do have their own garden) and the catch is superb. Also, the gelato is a must. Naturally.
Day 2: Start with Calazione of your choice, you know what to do. Head to Capri, either by bus or taxi (I truly prefer taxi, I always do). Capri has the word ‘picturesque’ figured out, think whitewashed stone buildings and tiny, car-free streets, it feels more like a film set than real life. A diminutive model of upmarket Mediterranean chic, it’s a pristine mix of luxury hotels, bars, fancy restaurants and designer boutiques (hint!). You must explore the atmospheric and ancient side streets, the crowds – I promise – quickly thin. And the walk west out of town to Villa Jovis can’t be missed.
For lunch head to Terrazza Brunella on 24 via Tragara for the best insalata Caprese in town: buffalo mozzarella, super-ripe tomatoes and basil and (again) a beautiful view over the south coast of the idyll.
Head back out and get shopping, along via Camerelle and via Sopramonte. Peruse flagship stores for Prada, Pucci (who invented the original Capri pants) and Ferragamo. Don’t forget to pick up an ice-cream or a pastry at Buonocore Gelateria on 35 via Vittorio Emanuele before heading back to the hotel for dinner.
Back in Anacapri, just off Piazza Vittoria is Eureka on 55 via Giuseppe Orlandi, the best and most authentic of Capri’s ceramic shops. And if you know one thing about me, it’s my love for pottery. I wholeheartedly embrace this as one of my Gypsy-isms.
You cannot leave Capri without a pair of quintessential leather sandles, handmade! My favorite shoemaker is Antonio Viva, his larger-than-life personality and a true passion for his trade make L’Arte del Sandalo Caprese the ultimate Capri shoe experience. Antonio tends his shop from the morning until dusk and he will make your personalized sandals in 15-minutes. Any style, any color. He is a genius.
Take dinner in Anacapri and watch that sun set again, preferably with a Bellini in hand.
Day 3: Possibly you ask yourself “why am I leaving”? But not yet, there is Colazione to start your day and truly, we have not yet had time to soak up Capri’s sun and lounge poolside. After all, the Italian La Dolce Vita is a real thing. Ready, set, sun.
Salute! Spero di rivedervi presto, Capri!