Capri is one of the pearls of Mediterranean Sea. It has always been much loved, since ancient times. Emperor Tiberius stayed in Capri, too. If you decide to visit Campania, you cannot absolutely lose this isle.
The conformation of the isle is variegated: there are two mountains, Tiberio Mount (334 m) and Solaro Mount (589 m). There are several plateaus, like the one with Anacapri, and four hamlets: Marina Grande, Marina Piccola, Capri e Anacapri.
The most famous features of Capri are the “faraglioni”, great blocks of rocks in the sea; the steep rocks; the small beaches; the caves, among them the great “Azzurra cave”. All these elements have always been celebrated by painters, artists, writers and attract tourists in any period of the year.
The inner part of the isle is also very interesting: the narrow avenues and paths of the isles give the possibility to see wonderful and unforgettable panoramas; to relax and to enjoy the peace of the almost uncontaminated nature of Capri.
There are many hotels in Capri: from luxury hotels to cheaper ones. Tourists can choose bed and breakfast, hotels, and residences. They can also decide to rent a room.
According to some scholars Capri takes its name from the Greek word kapros that means wild pig, other scholars believe that the name is derived from Caprea which means “isle of the rough stones”.
In fact till the beginning of the last century Capri was in no way the “happy isle” that we know today as there was no modern water supply or other comforts. Only towards the end of the first half of the XX century Capri started to be a famous resort for tourists, poets and artists from all over the world. In prehistoric times the isle was inhabited since the Neolithic age.
Then it was inhabited by the Phoenicians and the Greeks who erected on the isle a building called “efebo” to educate the youth. During the Roman period Capri grew in importance thanks to the emperor Cesare Ottaviano who preferred this isle to Ischia.
Once the Roman Empire collapsed, Capri was subjugated to the Neapolitan domination. During the reign of Federico II Capri became a feud of Eliseo Arcucci, and with the advent of the Anjou the isle obtained many privileges and funds were donated to build the Certosa di San Giacomo.
King Ladislao decided that all the inhabitants of the isle were exempted from taxation.
These favours were cancelled by Alfonso of Aragon who imposed many prohibitions and separated the Capri and Anacapri communities. During the seventeenth century the plague killed more than half of the population. Ferdinando IV of Bourbon founded in Capri the agricultural and nautical school and a silk industry.
As he was also interested in archaeology he gave the direction of the works to the Austrian Nobert Hadrawa who found many ruins of imperial villas.
Monuments of Capri
From an artistic and historical point of view Palazzo a Mare is very interesting. This was one of the residences of the emperor Cesare Ottaviano who named the isle “city of doing sweet nothing”.
Today only a few ruins can be admired because the Austrian Hadrawa plundered the Palace of its artistic goods and because the French during the XVIII century transformed the Palace in a blockhouse during the war against the English.
From Palazzo a Mare it is possible to reach the so called Bagni di Tiberio. After Punta di Gramola there is the wonderful and famous Blue Grotto with its reflections of lights and shades; the Green Grotto is fascinating, too.
Among the holy buildings the most important is probably the church of San Costanzo, erected between the XI and XII century. This was Capri’s cathedral until the title was assigned to the church of Santo Stefano in1596.
Near the church of San Costanzo there are the remains of the emperor Cristina’s tomb. The heart of the social life in Capri is without doubt Piazza Umberto I, also known as the “Piazzetta”.
From here it is possible to admire a wonderful view of the Gulf of Naples, the Torre dell’ Orologio, and the baroque church of Santo Stefano which contains the tomb of Vincenzo and Giacomo Arcucci and the remains of Saint Agata. From the Piazzetta it is easy to reach Palazzo Vescovile which is now the residence of the Town Hall. Other important buildings are Palazzo Cerio which houses the important library “Centro Caprese”, Palazzo Bonacci and Palazzo Canale.
Opposite Palazzo Cerio there are high walls which mark the fourteenth century village. Here we find the ruins of the Monastery of Santa Teresa and the church of SS. Salvatore erected during the seventeenth century.
On the highest part of the village stands Castello del Castiglione. The oldest church of the village is the fourteenth century church of Sant’ Anna.
Along Via Tiberio we may see wonderful villas such as Villa Fersen, Villa Jovis which was the residence of the Emperor Tiberius and Parco Astorita from where the sight goes from the Faraglioni rocks to Sorrento. The Faraglioni rocks are higher than 100 metres and on one of them lives a very rare blue lizard called “scopolo”.
On the promontory Fasullo there is another famous villa which belonged to the writer Curzio Malaparte.
Walking along Via Camerelle there is the Charterhouse of San Giacomo. It was built in 1363 by Giacomo Arcucci, who was the secretary of the Queen Giovanna Anjou.
Today the charterhouse is the residence of the local library and of a high school while Sala Diefenbach has been transformed into a museum.
Not far from the charterhouse there is the Park of Augustus and Via Krupp which leads to one of the best known beaches of Capri: Marina Piccola.
Ignazio Cerio Museum
Address: P.tta Ignazio Cerio, 5 - Capri
Tel: +39 081 8376681
Photo of Capri
Photo of the island of Capri