Before my first visit to Capri, I made the same association that a lot of people do. Capri = Blue Grotto. Rowing into that grotto is indeed a very neat experience. But it’s not why I’ve been back so many times, or why I’ve made sure that every visit lasts for at least two days.
Capri has been on bucket lists since Tiberius was emperor of Rome; the ruins of his villa are proof of that. It’s one of those rare places that has an ideal mix of civilization and natural beauty. It surprises me every time, and I can’t imagine how much the usual day-trippers from Naples or Sorrento miss.
In my book, the first commandment is: Check in to the Grand Hotel Quisisana. This buttery yellow palace is just steps from the Piazzetta, Capri’s see-and-be-seen main square. The hotel’s luxe pool is paparazzi-worthy. Sip a Campari on the front terrace at sunset, and you really know you made the right decision.
The best way back down is by foot, on the opposite slope. Ahead and far below are the Faraglioni, a trio of rock pillars that lurch out of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Yachts are attracted to them like moths to a flame. And from up above that creates quite the optical illusion: the water is so clear that you can see the boats’ shadows on the sea floor and it looks like they’re levitating above the waves.On the flip side, I love to hop into a roofless taxi and zip up to Anacapri, the isle’s only other town. The draw there is the six-minute chairlift ride to the top of Monte Solaro. At the start of the ride, your feet practically brush the clotheslines in the villagers’ back yards. By the top, you’ve become a close friend with the view across the entire Bay of Naples with Vesuvius looming over the whole scene.
Back down at sea level, I like to join that yacht set for lunch at a private beach club. No lines of turisti here. Just a languorous afternoon in classic Capri style. Later, if you’re a shopper, it’s the hour to browse Via Camerelle when the merchants have time to chat and pull out the special sweater that only arrived yesterday.
Our visits to Capri are always paired up with Positano, Amalfi, Vesuvius and Pompeii – more magnificence per hectare than you can imagine. But it’s Capri that first captured my heart and imagination. In a world full of new places to visit, this is the one that keeps calling me back.