Capri Was Once a Cult Destination for the Rich and Famous:
With its swanky shops and legends of aristocrats, film stars and celebrities living lives of luxury and pleasure on the island, Capri is an island with a reputation for glamour and style. It was a popular destination during the Roman times and is still very popular with both local and overseas tourists today. Some 15,000 visitors invade the island each day during the peak summer months to enjoy its magnificent landscape and some may even harbour a secret hope for an chance encounter with someone famous.
The Heydays of Capri
As early as the days of the Roman Empire, Capri has been a desirable place and even Emperor Augustus chose this small island as his second home. His successor Tiberius also chose to live on the island and even ran the Roman Empire from Capri, until his death.
Capri was a destination on the Grand Tour and in the latter half of the 19th century, the island became a haven for the many artists and writers who made Capri their hideaway. The books and paintings by these artistic types created such fascination with Capri that the even the stars and celebrities started coming to Capri, giving the island its glamorous and ritzy image.
Glamorous and Glitzy Capri
The first time I visited Capri some ten years ago, I did think it was a glamorous and upmarket destination. It’s a telling sign when there are so many luxury brand shops on the tiny island and sitting at the outdoor cafes on the Piazetta (Piazza Umberto I) were very well-dressed and decidedly wealthy-looking patrons. Up till today, shops like Canfora sandals still boast of their celebrity clients which included Sofia Loren, Jacqueline Onassis and Naomi Campbell.
Today, Capri is full of day-trippers and the atmosphere is very different. Where well-heeled ladies, covered with glittery jewelry, once relaxed nursing their drink in the outdoor cafes, there are now flocks of sweaty tourists in a hurry to get their food and drinks served because their time on the island is limited. If the rich and famous still come here, they must only come out to play when the hoards of day-trippers have left the island.
The boat trip from Sorrento to Capri was quite a quick one and on arrival at the Marina Grande the plan was to go on an excursion to the Blue Grotto, Capri’s main attraction. Unfortunately it was high tide and the water was too choppy, so the Blue Grotto tours weren’t operating.
Plan B was put into action, and this involved going to Anacapri to take the chairlift to Monte Solaro for a most fabulous view of Anacapri, Capri and the Bay of Naples. From the Marina Grande you can take the funicular up to Capri town. But as we’ve already done the funicular ride on our previous trip, this time round we took the stylish open-top taxi up the winding road to Capri town where we transferred to a mini-van for the trip to Anacapri. The chairlift ride was very enjoyable and the views from Monte Solaro were magnificent. So, don’t miss this if you’re going to Capri.
Other Things to do in Capri
In Capri town or Anacapri, those with a mission to do some shopping in Capri can browse in the elegant shops or take your credit cards for a spin.
There are many cafes and restaurants where you can take a break and enjoy some people-watching, even if they are not celebrities.
If you aren’t bothered with celebrity-spotting, Capri’s stunning scenery is a great attraction and it is possible to get away from the hoards of tourists. Emperor Tiberius chose the secluded north-eastern tip of the island, with magnificent views of the Bay of Naples, to build his grand palace, the Villa Jovis. To walk to Villa Jovis from the Piazzetta is about a 40 minute walk. There are many other coastal walks that you can do and this will really get you away from the crowds.
Apart from the Blue Grotto, you can also do trips around the island and to see the famous Faraglioni Rocks. The boat operators and ticket sellers are down at the Marina Grande.
Hotels in Capri
Capri has many 5-star hotels that cater to the island’s rich and trendy guests. However, it is possible to find some economy hotels as well. For the complete list of Capri hotels, see Here.