Isla de Capri
Guilty as charged!
As I told our Italian driver on the way to our Airbnb in Massa Lubrense, "Tomorrow we will travel to Capri", I suddenly realized I had butchered the Italian language. His response to my poor pronunciation, with a smile was unyielding. “No ‘Capree’, ‘Cah-pree’” he retorted! ”’Cah-pree’, ‘Cah-pree’, he said for emphasis. I smiled and thanked him, as my companions had a good laugh. If I was corrected once, I was corrected 10 times as the mispronunciation became a one of many recurring jokes on our trip!
Full of natural beauty and extraordinary history, the Isla de Capri was one of the most fantastic adventures on our trip to Italy. After seeing the island in the sunset for several days from our Casa per Ferie in Massa Lubrense, we finally crossed to the island.
We traveled on a private boat with four other couples from the port in Massa Lubrense. We could’ve gone on a larger ferry from Sorrento for around € 40 each. However, for € 60 we received a 10 hour, personal tour by water of the island, with drinks, a lunch of Caprese sandwich and chips, and an English speaking guide and pilot, that were very knowledgeable. Be advised that prices very in different seasons and from different departure ports.
As we approached the Isle of Capri, the historic and scenic town came into focus. The weather was beautiful, the seas were extraordinarily clear, and with anticipation the captain pulled into numerous nooks and crannies underneath 500 foot cliffs. Here we found beautifully clear water with reflective light from the white sea bottom, providing a fantastic azzurro glow. Bypassing the Blue Grotto, which takes several hours and another specially designed boat excursion, we visited other caves and inlets, which are considered to be just as beautiful and less crowded.
We continued around the island until we came to the Green Grotto. The opening in the cliff wall was just large enough for our skilled skipper to maneuver for extraordinary viewing. Just outside the Green Grotto, several of the guest could not resist and jumped into the 60 degree water. Too cold for this Florida Man.
After the brief swim and enjoying our lunch on-board, we made our way past the Punta Carena Lighthouse, to the Marina Piccola, a beautiful and quaint port on the southern side of Capri. From the rocks at the port, we viewed one of Sophia Lorene's homes and one of many photo shoots. Marina Piccola is on the southside of the island while the Marina Grande is on the north side, adjacent to the town of Capri.
We caught a ride in a specially designed open air cab and went on a harrowing ride up the steep roads cut into the cliffs. After passing through part of the town of Capri, we eventually made our way towards the top of the Island. Here we discovered Anacapri, or Ancient Greek for "above Capri". At nearly 1000 feet above sea level, a tourist could spend a several days in this lovely village, as it has much to offer in the way of recreation, boutique hotels, restaurants, and historical sites. I can not overestimate the number of paths and goat trails to explore on the island.
Anacapri was delightful, it was hard to believe that this area was a place of banishment during the Roman Empire. Wonderful architecture and interesting history are everywhere, with the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo or Church San Michele particularly noteworthy. Built in 1719 and located on Piazza San Nicola, it has distinctive octagonal shape and Baroque style. The church is considered a "monument" due to its notable tin-glazed pottery floor mosaic.
Another great experience is the Anacapri Cable Car carrying you gently, to the top of the island (1932 feet). With fantastic views, the fifteen minute ride costs around € 9, but you are held captive unless you walk or pay for the ride back - € 12. If you do walk, it can take over an hour, so pay attention to the time if you are on Capri for the day. The ride begins just off the Piazza dela Vittoria in the center of Anacapri, where you can find an iced limoncello or gelato on a hot day.
After returning to the Marina Piccola, we enjoyed a wine and Aperol Spritz at the Ristorante Bagni Internazionali - Ciro a Mare, with an animated and enjoyable waiter. While waiting for our boat, we soaked in some of the most beautiful island views, looking to the southeast at the cliffs and rock outcroppings.
We boarded the boat and made our way to the the Faraglioni rocks. These outcroppings are thee distinct jutting rocks that emerge from the sea. Like icebergs, only a fraction of their size is exposed. One of the rocks, named Faraglione di Mezzo (half or middle) has a large opening big enough for our boat to pass through, where we enjoyed the Caprese tradition of having a kiss under the arch.
After a full and wonderful day, we returned to Massa Lubrense knowing we had just enjoyed one of the greatest day trips ever. Note: if you desire to see the Blue Grotto, make sure you have time and it is a deliberate stop on your trip to Isla de Capri.