Campania - Capri
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Visit & See
The beautiful Isle of Capri, is
just off the
at the mouth
of the Gulf of Naples facing the breath of the Tyrrhenian Sea and
boasting natural beauties that bewitch any visitor even of the highest
prestige. Its innumerable sea caverns, rugged terrain of terraces
and precipices, the unspoilt beauty of Monte Solaro, all enhance the enchantment
that this Isle has upon everybody who visits it.
is the Isle's main town and is located in a commanding location above the two
characteristic arcades that merge into a labyrinth of narrow alleys
and streets, and the sea that can be heard, seen and even it's
perfume is perceptible from every part of this island, Capri works its own
special charm on every visitor and allows an unofficial rendezvous for a
colourful congregation of guests from all over the world, who can admire the
most breathtaking view that covers from
Ischia to the peninsula of
Charming local towns and extraordinary hospitality open the island's beauty to
many visitors from all over the world and it was the world's most famous
writers who stayed in Capri and who, enchanted by it's charm, favoured it's
rediscovery and popularity with international tourism.
Capri in fact has been sought out by numerous
writers and scholars. Of the many men of
letters from various countries who came to this Tyrrhenian island in search of
inspiration for their great works of literature the Swedish physician Axel Munthe
deserves special mention; needless to say, many other famous names from
world literature can also be found here.
neighbour of Capri
and captivating vacation resort
surrounded by Mediterranean country side of exceptional beauty it is set
at the feet of Monte Solaro, an unforgettable lookout point, that can only be
reached from this town with a chairlift or by foot trail. In early days these
two towns were not connected by any road but only by a stair case "Scala
Fenicia" that climbs steeply
to the "Castello di Barbarossa"
Nowadays the simple road network that runs along the main axis between Capri and
Anacapri has few side roads and can only be travelled by local residents; the
island has just been declared a pedestrian zone, especially as a means of
protecting the countryside.
town also features the most famous "Piazzetta", small town square, that
is the built-up area of Capri and is the tourist and fashionable meeting
point completely closed that looks like a courtyard; it is
surrounded by the public buildings placed in the former bishop's palace, by
shops and cafes and by the Torre dell' Orologio, that probably was the bell tower of the
old cathedral. It's background is the picturesque left side of St. Stephen
The square had to belong to the old inhabited centre of Capri (5th- 4th century
b.C.) as witnessed by some limestone pieces of walls in a square or
pseudo-polygonal shape, which are visible from the end of the terrace of the cable
railway and incorporated among medieval houses and walls, on the
northern-eastern side of the built-up area. Together with another wall tract at
the foot of Castiglione and with some Roman ruins, they formed the imposing
fortified wall of the Greek acropolis.
The medieval suburb dominates around the square, it is very interesting from the
historic-urban point of view and it is characterised by narrow and tortuous
alleys. Almost all the space is taken up by the tables of the numerous
cafes, bars and "ice cream houses, producing the feeling of a big, open air, wonderful drawing room.
once had no natural ports and was only accessible by a small beach, but in time
the two Marina Ports were built, the "Marina Grande" and the "Marina
Piccola". The first one was firstly built on the western coast with Roman
Origins, today lies more towards the east and docks the daily ferry boats and
hydrofoils coming from other resorts as well as yachts and most beautiful
sailing boats especially during summer months. The second port instead
originated as a group of coral fisherman's houses dominating two small beaches
made of gravel near an old docking bay with Roman origins. Since the '30s it
developed thanks to the attention it drew by sea tourism.
Visit & See
The "Parrocchiale di Santo
Stefano" (Parish Church of St. Stephan) was built in the 17th century on
the ruins of an earlier cathedral and is most amusing for all it's
visitors. Here you can find works of the Baroque Style Art, a great
example of this is the multicoloured marble floor in the Villa Jovis.
On a rise not far from Capri is "Santa Maria del Soccorso" with its beautiful
panorama of the Sorrento Peninsula and the ruins of Villa Jovis.
This typical example of Roman villas is commonly known as the "Palazzo di
Tiberio". Legend has it that Tiberius himself ruled the Roman Empire from this
villa, and the entire area abounds with sagas and legends about
the Roman Emperor.
The "Salto di Tiberio"
occupies a special place in the legends as a steep precipice, off which the
Emperor's enemies were pushed.
A short distance from Villa Jovis are the ruins of an old lighthouse, the
Torre del Faro.
The part of Capri known as Marina Grande is the island's most important
harbour, fully equipped whit modern port facilities. Moreover, Marina Grande is
a famous swimming and sunning resort.
The cog railway makes the trip to Capri in four minutes. There is also a well
paved road to Capri, along which are the "Chiesa di San Costanzo"
dating back to the 11th century and the "Scala Fenicia" that
steeply climbs up to the "Castello di Barbarossa" castle.
St. Costanzo church
St. James chartreuse
Impressive Archaeological aspects of Capri: "Ninfeo", "Augustus Gardens" and "Villa Jovis"
and "Diefenbach Museum"
Certosa di San Giacomo (Carthusian
Monastery of St. James) in Capri where there are valuable works of art and two
cloisters from the 15th-16th centuries
Villa Malaparte near the
An Itinerary to see and
admire some of the wonderful characters of this Isle could be:
going from "Marina Grande" to
"Palazzo a Mare" and the "Bagni di Tiberio", remnants of the Roman Empire
constructed by Emperor Tiberius
from Capri, a trip to "Belvedere
di Tragara" along the road that takes the same name
a great panorama to admire and
remember when back home is the views of the
Faraglioni and the Marina Piccola
"Belvedere di Tragara" continue in the direction of "Arco Naturale" up to the
"Grotta Matermania", a reminder of the ancient Cybil cult
A boat trip around the island,
especially in the summer season, can be a very enjoyable experience, showing
Capri from a completely different point if view and providing rare views
of the breathtaking beauty that makes Capri so famous.
all around the
world. They are the
result of a peculiar natural phenomenon, the collapsing of a sea cave in
fact that adapted to mother nature's effects like wind and rain. In fact the
term "Faraglione" is generic,
although nowadays it only seems to recall these fantastic features of
Capri, attracting all kinds of tourists to this island and to the rest of the
geological formation of high sheer cliffs
that have strongly been moulded by the sea and the wind
causing a partial or total isolation from mainland. The characteristic feature
of these cliffs that can be formed either by limestone or have volcanic origin,
is always the strong erosive action of the sea that models the rock into
bare, sharpened masses.
times when electricity was out of this world, the Faraglioni were used as a
rustic kind of lighthouse! In fact fires were burned on top of
these cliffs as well as other coastal high
places and spots to guide ships, especially during nights of a "new moon".
Greek and Roman sailors always used to sail along coasts whenever possible as
their boat construction techniques were unsuitable for deep sea navigation. This, however, exposed them to
high dangers of running aground on sandbanks
or hitting rocks in fact shipwrecks were not uncommon. The inventive
people of those times decided to adopt signals on the rocks and cliffs that lay off the coast
guiding the ships off mainland and almost safely ashore. The name "Faraglioni" is
in fact derived from ancient Greek and other Roman place names
containing the little word "pharos" that means lighthouse.
Faraglioni are three:
The first one,
joined to the coast, is called "Stella", meaning Star, or also
"Faraglione di terra" 109 meters high.
The second, the
smallest, is simply called "Faraglione di mezzo", Middle Faraglione, 81
And last but
also known as "Faraglione di fuori", Outward Faraglione, of 104 meters in
These sea rocks are
also famous for hosting a rare variety of lizard, the "Blue lizard" ("lacerta
coerulea muralis" or "faraglionensis"), called like this for the peculiar bluish
colour all over its body. This lizard was once thought only to live on
Capri's Faraglioni, although nowadays they also seem to be present on
similar rocks along
situated on The
Massullo Point, territory of Capri near the Faraglioni, is a notorious
building originally owned by Curt Suckert,
a writer and journalist
known locally as Curzio Malaparte who, during a visit to Capri in 1936, bought
this land near the Faraglioni rocks from the Vuotto family to build a summer home.
Despite local opposition Malaparte completed his project between 1938 and 1939.
Designed by the architect Adalberto Libera and worked on by Amitrano with
contributions from Malaparte himself, this now famous work is integrated
with the landscape, its outline rests on the rock.
This Villa is
known to have accommodated famous people like
Moravia, Togliatti, Jean
Cocteau and Albert Camus.
Upon Malaparte's death it was donated to the People's
Republic of China. It later became the centre for a cultural
foundation and on occasion is used for conferences and art exhibitions.
History and Backgrounds
Of all the islands
of the Parthenopean Gulf, Capri is the only one not of volcanic origin in this
almost exclusively volcanic area.
Capri has been settled since the Late Stone Age, as archaeological excavations
at the beginning of this century have confirmed.
At the time the Phlegrean volcanoes were at their most active state,
Capri and the
Peninsula in fact formed a solid block that gradually broke apart
under the pressure of the organic forces during the ensuing geological
periods, leaving Capri as Island.
Soaring up from the
depths of the sea, Capri's
limestone composition is revealed in the island's slopes and its steep but
unusually lovely dolomite walls, not to mention its numerous natural grottoes
, together with the cliffs in the southeast, have made the Isle of Capri
Capri's elevation above sea level is very unstable, as you can tell from the slow
but unrelenting fluctuation in the island's shoreline. In the course of many
centuries this fluctuation caused a drop in the water level in the famous
"Grotta Azzurra" (Blue Grotto) and the "Bagni di Tiberio" (Tiberius' Baths). This
is proved, beyond no doubt, by architectural findings from the Roman times in both places.
The origin of the name "Capri" is a hotly disputed subject: while Strabo called
the island Caprea or Island of the Coarse Stones, Varro named the island Capreae
after its odd profile and its characteristic fauna, predominately wild goats.
Other theories contend that this name is not correct and regard "Capros" (wild
boar) as the origin of the present "Capri". At any rate, it is certain that the
island was a Greek colony, even though it is hard to pinpoint the exact date it
In 29 BC Caesar Augustus visited the island, that he bought from the
Neapolitans in exchange of Capri's neighbour the "Isle of Ischia".
The island attained its greatest glory under Caesar Augustus' successor,
Tiberius, lived on Capri about 26 b.C, where he ruled the
Roman Empire from, for the last ten years of his reign. His stay on the island
is reflected in numerous names that still appear on today's maps.
of at least three
of the twelve villas built by Tiberius are still visible, whilst all
traces of the other nine have been lost. Originally erected in twelve to honour
the twelve main Roman Gods, traces of the long lost nine buildings mite
still be found as they could very well be hidden in camouflage and difficult to
recognize among the great abundance of Roman ruins that cover this
The most famous of the three
remaining villas erected by the Roman Emperor,
whom legend has
sheathed in mystery and ruthless violence, undoubtedly is the "Villa Jovis"
(Jupiter's Villa), which commands a view of the entire Gulf of Naples from its
location a top the Capo.
It is said to have been the residence of the Emperor Tiberius himself. The remains of
another villa are located in "Damecuta", while other findings dating back
Imperial Rome can still be found near "Case Palazzo a Mare", the site of the
di Tiberio" (Tiberius' Baths).
death the island fell into inexorable decline, shared with the fate of Naples
and the most important ruling families. It was attacked by
barbarians and pirates, and was repeatedly struck by earthquakes that played a
major part in wiping out the traces of the island's ancient heritage.
The Lombards and Normans alternately took possession of the island, only to be
followed by Aragon and Anjou succession, until it finally came under
Spanish control, who dominated the entire Neapolitan area for a
considerable period of time.
In the 17th century, the island's residents succumbed to the plague. Thereafter,
the Bourbons took over the island, followed by struggles between the English and
the French over Capri's strategic location.
Prior to the unification of Italy, Capri belonged to Naples. From the beginning
of the previous century until today.