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VISIT CAPRI

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Capri

Panoramic view of the island Capri

In the ever-changing and vast panorama of the minor islands of Italy, Capri holds a position of absolute privilege. If on of the one hand every island has well defined characteristics and special particularities which help to give a tourist image, on the other hand the very mention of Capri – evokes an inextricable mixture of sensations which exalt the dimensions of a Mediterranean island par excellence. Capri is essentially a fairy tale, a dream lost in the extraordinary azure of an incredible sea, in the boundless panoramas which embrace other precious tesserae of that wonderful mosaic which is the Neapolitan and Salerno coast, between Capo Miseno and Amalfi. Everything which can be perceived by the sense finds its greatest elevation on this island; from the light, sublime complement and refined facets of colour which allow one to read, as in an open book, the endless wonders of the place; from the perfume of the flowers which constitute another jewel of the island and the vegetation which is a mixture of Mediterranean aspects and more precisely tropical ones: from the strong salt-laden breezes of a sea which is the very life of the island; from the disturbing voice of silence, broken only by the piercing cry of the seagulls and the breaking of the waves on the steep and precipitous rocks; from the possibility of touching with one’s own hands the ancient traces of an illustrious and fascinating history, together with numerous remains of a past which represents the most authentic cultural metrix of the place; from the rough, yet sublime taste of the refined cuisine of Capri, to the rich taste of its noble wines produced on rough but generous land.

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Anacapri

Panoramic view of Marina Grande from the Villa S. Michele in Anacapri

Splendidly set out along the gentle slopes which descend from the steep sides of Mount Solaro, the second most important centre on Capri is set out like on oil stain on the vast thickly-cultivated plateau, in a context of shimmering Mediterranean beauty. It was an elevated settlement during the Greek presence on the island and was a favourite haunt of the patricial Roma families who built numerous villas here; loved and frequented by Tiberius who spent many long periods at the imperial villa of Damecuta, it was also chosen by the illustrious Swedish humanist and medic Axel Munthe as a home. Munthe, in his The History of St. Michael has wonderfully captivated and handed down to the following generations, the image of this oneeric and fairytale-like enchanted island. Even today, in spite of transformations undergone due to the big number of tourists, Anacapri has managed to retain its characteristics as a typically elevated centre on a Mediterranean island. The white houses, with their decidedly Caprese architectural lines, are set out in their bright splendour (given to them by the whitewashed fronts, by the airy and luminous terraces, by the often curvilinear volutes of the roofs of the buildings). All around, a lush vegetation betrayed by the gardens, by the orchards and by the bowers can be seen, whilst the neighbouring districts are marked by the presence of myrtle, juniper, lentisk, broom and by various other species, alternating with the maritime pine and the Aleppo pine. Anacapri is an ideal holiday village and a renowned health resort which enjoys the benefits of an extraordinary mild and healthy climate. As a starting point for interesting naturalistic excursions and also history trips, it is clustered around the beautiful Parish Church of St. Sophia. This was built during Medieval times and s brightened up by the central cupola, by the small minor cupolas and by the majestic Clocktower. The elegant Baroque façade in two orders is vertically divided by pilaster strips.

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The Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto is counted as being one of the major tourist attractions of Capri. This Karst cavity, together with the equally famous Faraglioni has contributed in spreading the enigma of this island all over the world. The most traditional and evocative way of carrying out this excursion, which shouldn’t be missed during the course of a visit to Capri, is to take one of the tourist boats or motorboats from the Marina Grande. The visit to the Blue Grotto, which can only be undertaken of weather and sea conditions permit should take place, if at all possible, in the morning so that one can enjoy the play of light which reflects the marvellous chromatic effects of indescribable fascination and evocativeness. It would be very wise to avoid the guided tours with the inevitable overcrowding mass of tourists during certain periods of the year (National Holidays, long week-ends and the high season) as there will bound to be long queues at the embarkation points and outside the entrance to the Blue Grotto, as well as a marked decline in the evocative effect obtained inside the grotto, due to the presence of too many overcrowded boats of noisy tourists. The Blue Grotto which was a well-known and favourite place with the Romans, fell into oblivion and it became shrouded in fear, mystery and superstition blown out of all proportion by the inhabitants of the island who were convinced that the grotto was a meeting place for witches and that horrifying monsters lived there. It seems quite probable however that an increase of the bradysismic phenomenon almost closed off the access to the grotto. It was already the subject of much discussion with both scholars and map-readers as far back as the XVIIth century and was then rediscovered in 1826 by two daring and bold German travellers, the writer A. Kopisch and the painter E. Fries. Since those days a constant and endless stream of visitors and tourists have visited the place as well as a great number of Italian and foreign literary scholars, who have drawn inspiration from the place.

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The gardens of Augusto

The garden of Augusto

This green park, shaded by the pine trees and brightened up by the presence of many species of flowers, palm trees and other forest trees is a breathing space situated not far from the town centre. Its pleasant position which dominates the underlying complex of the Certosa of S. James, where the Via Krupp winds steeply up from the Marina Piccola, makes it an ideal resting place for tourists and travellers. From a nearby look out post one can look out into the marine horizon, a view which embraces one of the most important panoramic sights of the coast of Capri with its incredible variety of steep rocky inlets and which is marked by cliffs near which the imposing and fascinating outline of the Faraglioni rises up out of the waters.

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