Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Italy: Capri

As if they were sea lions, young people lounge in the Capri sun. There are sandy beaches as well as rocks.

Capri is one of three islands off the coast of Naples. The others are the larger Ischia and the smaller Procida. Capri, at the tip of the Sorrentine peninsula, is the one with 2,000 years of cachet.  Caesar Augustus called it the City of Sweet Idleness. Most guidebooks will mention the aristocrats and movie stars who have basked in the sun here or swam in the Tyrrhenian Sea at one of the island's lidos.

After soaking in ancient history and art in Rome and Naples, we were ready for idleness, sun and sea. Our lodging, the Capri Inn, is just uphill a bit from Marina Grande, where the ferry from Naples docks, and overlooks a public beach.  Steps down to that beach start at a bus stop in front of the Capri Inn where we caught a bus to try another beach on the other side of the island at Marina Piccola (little marina). At the public beach we took our own towels and did without an umbrella. At Marina Piccola, we went to a lido -- a more or less private beach where we rented loungers, an umbrella and had access to a snack bar and a restaurant. At both beaches the water was extremely clear and the waves were gentle pulses. 

From Marina Grande, a funicular railroad goes up the mountain to the town of Capri. At the end of the line is the Funicular Bar, where you can do some people watching over the rim of your Aperol spritz or enjoy a great view of the Bay of Naples. The town seems made for wealthy impulse shoppers with seemingly every luxury brand having its own boutique.  Well-groomed people prowl narrow pedestrian-only lanes dotted with restaurants and inns. It's a pleasant place to explore if you want to put some miles on your new Christian Louboutins. 

Small buses connect Marina Grande, Capri, Marina Piccola and Anacapri, about 900 feet above sea level and the higher of the two towns. Anacapri is much lower-key than Capri, though it also is a fun place to explore on foot.  A chairlift from Anacapri's central piazza lifts you to the top of 1,932-foot Monte Solaro, which offers 360 degrees of sea views, including looking down at the Faraglioni, huge rocks where Odysseus is said to have sailed. 

Open-air taxis provide another way to get around Capri. These expensive rides are in cars or vans with the roofs removed (though often replaced with a canvas awning to provide shade). We used them for only two short rides, between the ferry dock and the Capri Inn when we wanted help with our luggage. 

We had dinner one night in the town of Capri and two nights at fish restaurants in Marina Grande. Prices were not astronomical but Capri is not an inexpensive place. Three nights gave us two full days to enjoy the island, and that was enough.

On the ferry leaving Naples. 

The view from our room's balcony included this sandy public beach,
across the street and down several flights of stairs.

Another view from our balcony, this one showing the road
that goes down to Marina Grande. Its little harbor
is protected by an L-shaped jetty.

Open-air taxi are symbols of Capri, but they are also extremely expensive. A trip between Marina Grande and
the town of Capri can cost 50 euros and up. 

Aperol spritzes at the Funicular Bar in Capri. 
Houses and apartment buildings climb
 the mountain that is the Isle of Capri.

Sunrise over the Bay of Naples as seen from our room at the Capri Inn.

The Faraglioni rocks on the southern coast of Capri, viewed from Monte Solara. 

The Faraglioni as photographed with a zoom
 lens from the beach at Marina Piccola.
The chairlift that connects Anacapri
and the top of Monte Solara. It's
about a 12-minute ride.

The lido at Marina Piccola. The pebbly rocks weren't great for bare feet.
Hotels line part of the road between Marina Grande and Capri.

A street in the town of Capri. That's a produce superstore
on the left.
Sandals for sale in Anacapri. 

Another street in Capri. The doors on the right open into clothing shops. 

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