Imperial Villas Amidst The Deep Blue Sea

Posted On November 30, 2009 

The Capri Island can quite possibly take you back to your child hood years and if you are much of a dreamer, you might be lead into believing that you are a part of a fairy tale, on a far away island with villas, historical monuments, museums amidst deep blue sea.


Spread over an area of 10.4 square kilometers in the Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy, the Capri Island belongs to the region of Campania in the province of Naples. It is also the largest city of this region.

Perhaps the name Capri comes from Greek “Kapros”, meaning wild boar as the Greeks were the first of the colonialists to inhabit the Island of Capri.

Capri Island


Like in any other island, Capri is good for a trip at any time of the year. The maximum winter temperatures do not go down much. The rains, common in this season, combined with sea breezes can however make the temperatures drop down. Rains end around Easter and arrive again in November.

The summer season is the peak time for tourists in Capri Island.

While many of the attractions wear a deserted look in winters, there are some events and attractions going all throughout the year.

How to reach Capri Island

The Island of Capri is well connected with important domestic and international destinations though the airport at Naples. For instance, the British Airways flies to Naples from Gatwick three times daily. The airport in Naples is called Capodichino Airport. There are plenty of bus services as well as taxis that take you to Piazza Municipo or the Beverello Harbour from the airport.

There are tram services too here in Naples. You can take one from the Naples Central Station from Piazza Garibaldi to reach the Piazza Municipo. Beverello Harbour, close to it is where the hydrofoils and jetfoils land for the island in the Gulf of Naples. There are taxis too that you can take from the station.

There are car ferries as well that take your vehicles to Capri Island from Calata Porta di Massa Harbour. There are buses that can take you to Calata Porta di Massa Harbour.

There are good motorways from Rome to Naples. Bringing your car however, to the Island of Capri may not be a good idea as the roads on the island are few and narrow.

There are a number of jetfoils and ferries that depart from Marina Piccola from the town of Sorrento to the Capri Island.

Attractions in Capri Island

There is plenty for you to see and do in Capri Island.

tragara roadThe Tragara is a pretty road that leads to eponymous Belvedere and the Faraglioni. The place is a reminiscent of the era of Greek colonization. The Villa La Certosella was once a lavish Roman residential complex. The only intact part of this complex is its marble floor which was reassembled and used in the Chapel of the Rosario in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in 1892.

The Monte Solaro stands 589 meters high. The view from its summit gives magnificent views of the Capri Island, the Bay of Naples, the Bay of Salerno and Ischia. You either climb up the mountain or use a chairlift to get there. On your way down, it would be a good idea to tour hermitage of Cetrella. The Cetrella, founded by Carthusian monks, date back to the 14th century.

Before the Cetrella is the house of Scottish writer Compton Mackenzie, which has been recently restores as a centre of study of local flora and fauna. It has a library and a garden with local species of plants.

Detouring in the Mountain will take you about an hour or so.

The Punta Carena and Faro, the lighthouse built centuries ago is the second largest lighthouse of Italy after the Genoa’s lighthouse. Located to the west of island, it serves as a seaside resort as well as a landing place.

The Casa Rosa is bright coloured house built between 1876 and 1898 by the American Colonel JC Mackowen. Today, it Italy Casa Rosahosts a number of painting exhibitions that depict the island as it has been between the 19th and the 20th century. Another cultural centre that was originally built as a residence is the Villa Lusis, also known as Villa Fersen, after the French Count Jaques d’Adelsward Fersen who built it in 1905. The villa has a romantic ambience with a classic temple style stairway. It reflects a blend of modern and European architecture.

The Capri Philosophy Park or the Parco Filosofico in Italian is an interesting tourist site in this island, located at the outskirts of the town of Anacapri. It was founded in 2000 by Swedish professor Gunnar Adler and his wife and has small tablets with quotes by 60 of the philosophers from the west.

The 60 meter long and 25 meter wide cave La Groutta Azzurra or the Blue Grotto is another must-see site of this island. You need to take one of those small rowing boats to get inside the cave’s narrow opening. There are statues of pagan gods at the cave’s bottom that belong to the Roman times. It was popularized as a tourist destination in 1826 by German painter August Kopisch, his friend Ernst Fires and a fisherman Angelo Ferraro. Until then, it was considered as a haunted place.

The Arco Naturale and the Pizzolungo is the only remain of the large cave that penetrated the mountains. Other caves here worth a visit are the Matermania Grotto that is a natural cave which was transformed during Roman times into a luxurious Nymphaneum of which only the remains of the wall is leftover. Behind the Gardens of Augustus is the Arsenal Grotto.

At Punta Masullo is Villa Malaparte, built by architect Adalberto Libera. At Mount Tibero is another significant Villa – Villa Jovis, dating back to First century AD and discovered in the 18th century under the rule of Charles de Bourbon. It covers about 7000 square kilometers. The villa’s centre was used to house cisterns designed to collect rainwater. Many of the findings of the villa are preserved at the Archaeological Museum of Naples, the St. Stefano Church and St. Salvatore church.

Augustus GardensThe Augustus Gardens is near Via Krupp. Few steps from the Gardens are the Certosa of San Giacomo or the Carthusian cemetery founded by Count Giacomo Arucci in 1371. It reflects the traditional architecture. The Charterhouse of St Giacomo was gain found by Count Giacomo Arucci. Today, it houses a number of large Roman Age statues recovered form Blue Grotta in 1964, canvasses by German painter Wilhelm Diefenbach and a communal library. The ruins of Villa Damecuta are another of the 12 imperial villas in the island of Capri. It shows its rich décor.

The island has a number of towers and forts around, built to defend the Island. The three forts of Pino, Orrico and Campetiello were built by the English in 1806. In addition, there were the Damecuta fort and the La Guardia towers that stood as a defense system of the Island.

The Pino fort is in the Anacapri district, on the west coast of Capri Island. It has an underground cistern to collect rainwater. Another fort here is the Mesola fort, next to which is the Orrico Fort.

The La Migliera route was built in the Roman times to link Capodimonte to Migliera belvedere and with ruins of imperial buildings around, it makes for a good walk.

In Anacapri is another attraction in its north-eats, 327 meters above the sea level – the villa San Michele, an ancient Roman Imperial villa, whose ruins were preserved by Axel Muthe who resided here from 1896 to 1910, and is now found in its garden. Some of them are the tavolo cosmatesco, a table built in the Cosmati style.

What you should also enjoy here is the calmness of the Mediterranean Sea that surrounds the Capri Island.

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