Author Daniel Bellino
I first started going to Bar Tiberio in the Summer of 1986, my second trip to Italy. The year before I went to Europe for the 1st time, visiting : Rome, Florence, San Gigmanano, Barcelon, The Costa Brava, Venice, and Naples, and Positano, but not Capri, which I’d go to the next year, along with Rome and Positano.
So my first trip to Capri. It was quite something. The Summer of 86. I stayed at Villa Tosca, at the time a nice , modest pensione that I found in my Frommer’s Guide, Europe on $40 a Day. I took the train from Rome down to Napoli Centrale Train Station. From there I took a bus to the port to catch a ferry to Capri. Back then they had cool old steamer boats that ferried you across to Capri. The boats were slower than the ones now, but better looking than the much faster ugly boats they have these days. The boats make it from Naples to Capri in about 35 minutes, while the old boats took an hour and 15 minutes. That first time, I sat outside on the upper deck of the boat and the ride was absolutely wonderful. I soaked in the Sun, and all that lay before me.
I arrive in Marina Grande Capri a little over an hour after we left the dock in Napoli. Again, it was a most beautiful boat ride. I made my way to a phone and called up Tosca. Yes they had a room. They told me to take the Funicular up to Capritown. When I got off the Funicular I was to walk straight through the Piazza and down to the Quisisana Hotel, where I would straddle the right hand side of the hotel in the alleyway next to it, that led down to the Via Augustus, were I would see a sign going into a pathway that would bring me to Villa Tosca.
Villa Tosca, is still owned by the same family, but the son has turned it from a modest pensione, to a cool little boutique hotel that is now called La Tosca. The vantage point of the hotel is primo, sitting in-between the Carthusian Monastary, The Qusisisana Hotel, and The Piazza Umberto, a 5 minute walk away. Very convenient, and in one of the most beautiful spots in the whole Isle of Capri, with a gorgeous view of The Monastary and The Farglioni Rocks in the near distance, “Absolutely Gorgeous. I made a great find.” Back then it cost me $40 a day to stay, which was about double the price of the pensione’s I was staying in at the time, in: Rome, but both Venice and Positano were more expensive as well. I was happy. I knew Capri was a bit more expensive than other places, but I was happy. Speaking of expensive, my last to times on this gorgeous island, the place has gotten insanely expensive. More on that later.
That first time, I was mystified at the beauty of the Faraglioni off in the distance. I had a great view from my little private terrazzo. Looking at them, as they sprouted from the sea, they seemed to be beckoning me, and they were. I had to go there. I took a show, put on my shorts and I was on my way. I asked directions, and walked over. I didn’t know at the time, but I was walking the length of the Via Tragara, where that pedestrian street ended, and then I would take the pathway down to the Rock, Da Luigi Beach Club, and La Fontelina.
Wow, talk about gorgeous? The views on my way down were spectacular. I let me not forget. There’s a cute little old Lemonade Stand there at the end of Via Tragara. I stopped and got my second Lemonade of the day. My 1st being at the piazzetta after I got off the Funicular. Both lemonade (Granita) stands are still there, as well as the one on Via Augustus by La Tosca. Anyway, I walked down, taking pictures along the way. I reached the bottom and walked over to the free beach near by. I did my first swimming on Capri. I would come back and swim around Capri many times. I Love it. I’m not a beach person, but when I go to Capri, and Positano, I do love swimming there.
I couldn’t beleive how many people from New York taht I met in Capri on that my first trip. I was swimming at Marina Piccolo and this girl started talking to me, and was excited when I told her I was from New York. She was there with her mother and grandma who lived in Naples. Her mother went to visit her mom, and they’d go to Capri every year. The girl Maria wanted me to meet them. She took me over to them and introduced us. It so happened that her mother and father owned
Benito II Restaurant on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, New York. We became friends and I’d often go down to eat at Benito. I’m glad I went into the Hotel Palma this one night. They have a beautiful garden in front of the hotel, and there are large French Doors at the beautiful lobby hotel. The doors stay open, and I could here live music from the bar inside. I went in. A girl was playing piano and singing lovely music. I sat down at the bar. I got my Negroni, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this guy Tony, who owned a little clothing store in New York where I had bought a couple things from him. We were both happy to see each other, we chit chatted and hung out. A girl came up to the bar that Tony knew. Her name was Alessandra, and she had a villa on Capri. She was from Naples origianally but now lived in New York, and she was a customer at the restaurant Caio Bella that I worked at, but I’d never seen her, as I was a cook there, and though I saw some of the customers, I didn’t see all of them as I was busy cooking in the kitchen. We became friends, and I hung out with her for the rest of the trip, going to her villa with others later in the night.
It was Alessandra who got me to go to Bar Tiberio the first time. The first two times I went to Capri, I had a routine, wereby I’d go down to the beach somewhere around 10 or 10:30 in the morning. Hand-out, swim, and then around lunch time have lunch at a bar or trattoria down at Marina Piccolo. Go back to the beach, and then around 3;30, hop on a bus by the little chapel that would bring me up to Capritown, just a 200 foot walk to the Piazza where I went with Alessandra and a few others to Bar Tiberio for afternoon cocktails (Aperitivo). I usually had a Campari & Orange Jucie or a Negroni, and the waiter would bring us Potato Chips and Olives to nibble on with are cocktails. I did I love that, hanging out there at the bar in the Piazza, sipping Italian Cocktails, hanging with the beautiful people (as they say, and they were), relaxing, taking it all in, and loving every minute of it. “I felt like a King.” And I was.
The Famed FARAGLIONI I Was Talking About
Having an APEROL SPRITZ
Yes, I do Love the Bar Tiberio. It’s a great place to hang and have a good time. You’re in Capri, you have to feel good. I must say for those who might be on a limited budget, yes it’s not cheap. Not cheap, but well worth a splurge. To some, money is no object, so that don’t even think about it. Though I remember the price of my hotel (Tosca was $40 a day), I can’t remember the price of the drinks, probably about $4 or $5 for a Negroni or Campari back then. My APerol Spritz in 2022 cost
14 Euros, but it does come with a good amount of snacks which Cosantino my favorite waiter brought me. Cosantino took great care of me, the 6 times I went to Bar Tiberio on this particular trip. I was also drinking glasses of Falanghina (11 Euro), and I met a couple who were staying at the same hotel that I was, we wnt out for dinner at Risitorante Isadoro, then went to Tiberio afterwards and we got a bottle of Falanghina Fenicia that cost $45 a bottle. I had a Lasagan Bolognese (14 E) there one night. It was quite tasty.
So, if you’re into people watching and hanging out, sitting outside at a wonderful caffe on the beautiful Isle of Capri, Bar Tiberio is the way to go. Normally you go there just for drinks, anytime in the afternoon or evening. You can get breakfast in the morning, a Cappuccino and Italian Pastries if you like, and time of day. You can have Gelato, a Panino (Sandwich) Pizza, or Pasta or whatever you lie, they’ve got it all, but most of all it’s the physicality and ambiance, the cocktails, people watching, and waiters (who take great care of you) who matter the most.
On my last night there in 2022, after I had gone to the bathroom, I saw a guy sitting at a table inside. I wanted to get a picture at the Bar. I asked if he wouldn’t mind. He took a great picture of me (above). We were chatting, and I found out that his name was Francesco and his family owned the bar. I told him that I had started going to Bar Tiberio in the Smmmer of 1986, “probably before you were born,” I told Francesco. He told be that his parents bought the Bar in 1982, the year Francesco was born. “Oh” I said, “you were 4 years old when I started coming here” Francesco chuckled. We had a nice little chat. It was great meeting and talking with Francesco. I hope to see him again.
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
May 22, 2022
POSITANO The AMALFI COAST
TRAVEL GUIDE / COOKBOOK
FIND a ROOM on CAPRI
POSITANO The AMALFI COAST
The SUMMIT of Mt SOLARO
Looking down to The Faraglioni and Sorrento in the Distance
A CAPRI TAXI
MARINA PICCOLO 2022
The ONLY OLD TAXI LEFT