I first started going to Capri in the Summer of 1986. I was a young man in my early 20s, and travel was so much different than it is now. First off, there was no internet back then, No Expedia, no Booking.com , there was no place to check out info on anything or anyplace. There was no Whatsapp to send texts and talk on the phone for Free anywhere in the World. You couldn’t look up and buy Airline Tickets by yourself, you had to go through a Travel Agent, or purchase a plane ticket directly from the airline. Your only info came from your own personal research from books and magazine articles, past experiences, and advice and info from friends.
Back then in 1986 and before, most people if they were traveling to Italy, to Capri, or anywhere in the World would buy Travel Guide Books like; Baedekers, Fodors, Frommer Guides, and any number of Travel Books available at the time. Rick Steves was just starting out back then, and I did buy his Europe Through The Back Door guide book, along with Europe on $40 a Day, which was my main source at the time. When it came to finding accommodations. Typically, for any place that you were traveling to : Rome, Paris, etc., there would be info on the main attractions to see, how to get around, restaurant suggestions, and a list of hotel accommodations in 3 price categories : of Budget Hotels, Moderate Priced, and Luxury Hotels.
With my Frommer’s Guide in hand, on this my second trip to Italy, I got my hotel in Rome from the Frommer’s recommendation, and I looked up budget hotels in Capri. There were I think only 2 under the budget range as I recall. I picked the Villa Tosca at $40 a night. So the way I did it back then, I had my list of budget , I got into town, and either went to the property or gave them a call from a cafe or on a payphone somewhere, when I got to my destination.
So the first time I went to Capri, I took the ferry boat, and when I arrived in Marina Grande, Capri, and got off the boat, and walked down the dock, and once I came across a payphone, I gave them a call at Villa Tosca. I asked if they had any rooms available? They did. They asked me where I was. I told them that I had juts gotten off the ferry boat and was down by the port. They told me to take the Funicular up to Capritown, and when I got off, just walk straight through the Piazza and then down toward the Hotel Quisisana The hotel was behind the Quisisana. Just walk the alleyway alongside the hotel and I would come across a sign that pointed to the Villa Tosca. And so I did.
When I got off of the Funicular, I spotted a cute little Lemonade Stand (Lemon Granita). It was hot out, and I couldn’t resist. I got a Lemonade. Best Lemonade I’ve ever had. It was cold and refreshing, and I Loved it. The Lemonade Stand is still there in the Piazzetta. The only difference is that instead of less than a dollar for a Lemonade, the now (2022) cost a Whopping $5 ..
I walked down toward the Quisisana. It came into view. A beautiful Grand Old Hotel. I walked down the pathway, and right before the Via Augustus. I saw the sign and followed the pathway. I came to Villa Tosca, which back then was a simple pensione. Today it is no longer called Villa Tosca. It is owned by the same family, but a few years back, the son turned it into a nice little boutique and the hotel changed the name to “La Tosca” (hotel). I gave them my Passport, then checked into my room. It was late afternoon. I left Rome in the morning, bound for Naples Central Station. I arrived about 3 hours later. I walked outside the train station, and found the bus that went to the Porto. I hopped on, and arrived about 15 minutes later. Got on the ferry and went to Capri, and now I’m at my little hotel. I took a shower, got dressed and went out. I saw the Faraglioni from my balcony. I went out on the main terrazzo of the hotel and just stared at them. The Faraglioni were beckining my to them, and I just started walking toward them. The walk along the Via Tragara was gorgeous. I passed all the beautiful villas along the way. Villas owned by Valentino, Armani, Sophia Loren and others with the means to own them. I loved it. When I got down to the end of the Via Tragara, I saw another Lemonade Stand. I got one. This little old lemonade stand is still there. Same story, a Lemonade has gone from $1 to 5. I could see the Faraglioni. They were Gorgeous. I walked down the path, getting one beautiful view after the other. I was mesmerized. One of the most beautiful sights of my life. I walked all the way down, taking pictures along the way.
The first beach I ever swam at was Marina Piccola, way back on that 1st trip in 1986. I met a couple girls from South Africa, and the 3 of us went to the beach there. It was great, and it started my Caari Ritual of going swimming on Capri (any beach) then catching a bus back to Capritown, getting off the bus, and heading straight to Bar Tiberio in the Piazza Umberto for some afternoon Aperitivo of Campari, Negroni s, Lemonade, or glass of local wine.
If I was at Da Luigi Beach Club, I’d take the boat from Da Luigi to Marina Piccolo, and pick up the bus to Capritown at the Little Chapel at Marina Piccola. I Love Da Luigi, not only one of my favorite swim spots on Capri, but one of my favorite places in the entire World to go swimming. It’s gorgeous. Right there smack-dab next to the famed Faraglioni Rocks of Capri. When I went there in 2015, I started a new ritual whereby I go to the Salumeria Capri (by the bus station Capritown) to get a nice Beach Lunch to bring with me to Da Luigi. I usually get a Arancini (Rice Ball) , some Eggplant Parmigiana, a bottle of Mineral Water, and a small bottle of local Red Wine, usually Aglianico. I love it. They make really good food at Saluneria Capri, and I go there often for Arancini, Panini, water and Wine when I’m on Capri.
I’m not normally a beach person, nut when I’m on Capri, I Love to go swimming. It is so refreshing, and I like it. When I go into the water, I usually stay in for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Same in Positano. I just swim out and float, and have a wonderful time. I love swimming out, and just lie floating on my back and look at the cliffs as the shoot out of the Sea, soaring to heights of 2,000 and 3,000 feet above the Sea. It’s quite a dramatic sight on Capri, or if I’m swimming in Positano, the views as you float in the water, looking back to the island, is mesmerizing. “I Love it”
I was surprised when I decided one day to swim at the beach at Marina Grande one day, I think it was 2019. I had always thought that it would be too crowded and maybe the water over there. It wasn’t. In fact it was quite clean, and I had a great time swimming there. I swam there, again on my most recent trip, in the Spring of 2022. It was the middle of May, and it was not hot out. It was a bit chilly, but I wanted to swim. “I’m not going to Capri, and not swim. Mo way.” I decided to head over to the Beach at Marina Grande. When I got there, there were people at the beach, but not even 1 person was swimming, no one at all. I staked out my territory, and put my swim trunks that were in my backpack on. I just took off my pants. I had underwear on, so I wasn’t indecent. I put on my trunks. There were 3 people together there hanging-out next to me. I asked them to watch my stuff. “OK,” they said. I started walking into the water with my new swim shoes. They guy told me, “Ne careful. Be careful of the Rock.” I knew what he meant, There are a lot of rocks there, and you have to be careful not to fall and hit yourself on the rock. You could really get hurt if you didn’t pay attention. You could get hurt bad. Yes there was a bit of danger. I was careful. The water felt slightly cold, and I almost didn’t go in, saying to myself, well, “It’s good enough if you just wade in the water.” But no, finally, I decided to go for it, and I jumped in fully. “It was wonderful.” Once I got in, the water was fine. It wasn’t cold at all. I loved it. I swam for a full 20 minutes before getting out. I knew it was 20 minutes, because I had my Sturghling Coca Cola GMT Dive Watch on. It worked. The watch was waterproof. I was willing to take a chance with that watch in the water, but not my much more expensive Bulova Dive Watch that I purchased recently, and is my new favorite watch since I got it. Love it. It’s a really beautiful watch dive watch, a Bulova Oceanographer, with a Red & Black Bezel, similar to a Rolex GMT Master.
The next day, (May 16,2022) I swam again. This time at Marina Piccola. A place I love to swim. I walked all the way down from my room at Casa Raiolo I walked down to Due Golfi, and then down the pathway to Marina Piccola. It took about 35 minutes, It was a nice walk, and I stopped and took another picture at the Capri Sign that’s down there. I took a nice picture there in 2015, and wanted to get another one here on my Capri Trip 2022. I asked a passerby to take my picture. He was an American and he took his time taking the picture. “Thanks whoever you are.” I staked my spot, asked some people to watch my stuff and went in. It was a bit chilly, but unlike yesterday, there were other people swimming in the water. I dove in. Damn, it was cold. Colder than yesterday. I thought maybe if I swam out to another spot further out, it might be warmer. I was right. I swam and floated around, had a great time, doing my usual thing. It was great. I swam for 20 minutes, with my Stuhrling Diver Watch on, then got out. Another great time swimming off Capri. “I’m The American Champ on Capri.” I don’t think many more Americans have spent more time swimming around Capri than me. “Seriously, it’s probably true.” Anyway?
This was my 4th time staying on The Isle of Capri, not including the one time I went just for the day in 2019. I had a great time swimming and hanging around Capri that day, taking the ferry back and forth from Naples, a thing most people who say they’ve been to Capri say. But that’s not seeing Capri. You have to stay a minimum of two days, and 3 would be better. You’ve not really seen Capri, if you haven’t stayed there. Yes I know it’s a bit expensive? But go anyway. Make it the splurge part of your trip. “I do.”
Yes, I’ve been going to the beautiful Isle of Capri since the mid 80s. I Love it. It’s one of the most beautiful spots on God’s Good Earth, absolutely gorgeous. Capri is “la Dolce Vita” at its most sweet-life la Dolce Vita possible. The island exudes the Sweet Life, from the opulent Villas on the Via Tragara, Fontelina, and Da Luigi Beach Clubs, The Quisisana and Hotel La Scalinatella, to Bar Tiberio and all the chic bars in the Piazza, to the shops of Gucci, Versace, Valentino, and all the rest, and yes the other doce, Dolce & Gabbana. Grab a seat at Bar Tiberio and watch the World go by, the beautiful people as they say, are in full force on Capri.
Yachts lay moored at the Faraglioni, at Marina Grande, and all around the island of Capri. During the Spring and Summer months, ferries ferry people to Capri, from; Naples, Positano, and Sorrento. Small craft boats take people on a boat ride around the isle, stopping for a stab at the famed Blue Grotto. If you’re luckier, you might have your own private boat for the day. Tour this island, stop for a swim anywhere you want. You can moor off the Green Grotto, the White one, or Grotto of Horror, it’s down next to Da Luigi Beach Club, a very serious people spot, where the so-called “Beautiful People” go. You can get a Chaise Lounge for 25 Euros, and be one of those beautiful people yourself. Everything is possible on Capri.
Jasmine fills the air. There are beautiful villas, most can only dream of. You can dream too. There’s nothing wrong with that, and the Jasmine scented air is free for all. So are the gorgeous views. “Feel like a Million Bucks,” you on The Isle of Capri.
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
TOP 10 THINGS to DO
1. Hanging out at the Piazza. Probably the most fun, and maybe the most popular thing to do on the Isle of Capri, is sort of doing nothing. Well almost nothing. Pick your favorite Bar (Cafe) in the Piazza Umberto. Find a good spot to sit, for maximum people watching. Order an Aperol Spritz, Cappuccino, Lemonade, Champagne, whatever? Sit back, relax, and have the time of your life. It’s hard to beat, hanging out in this World Famous Piazza, that has seen the likes of” Jacki “O” (Kennedy), Valentino, Sophia Loren, Giada and Dino De Laurentiis, Felini, and a string of Rock Stars and movie stars to long to mention here. Also Princes, Princesses, writers, artists, and all the Beautiful People of the World, you can be one too. All it takes is a few Euros and you’re part of the crowd. Just pick your favorite bar. Mine is Bar Tiberio, a place I’ve been going to since the Summer of 86, “I just Love it,” and so will you. Enjoy!
2. Swimming. Capri is one of the most beautiful spots in the World, and swimming there is one of the top attractions, and must things to do on any trip to the Isle of Capri. The beaches aren’t sandy, but they are beautiful. You can rent a chaise lounge at one of the Chic Spots, like Da Luigi Beach Club, and La Fontelina by the famed Faraglioni Rocks. There are free beaches at Marina Piccola and Marina Grande and a few other spots dotted around Capri. Just pick one, eat at a cafe or restaurant by the beach, or pack your own, and pick up a Panino (sandwich), Arancini (Rice Balls), some fruit, water, and wine from one of th local Salumerias, and have the time of your life. A beach day on Capri is one of the most wonderful things you can do in this entire World. Not everyone gets to go to Capri, so take advantage of your stay there, and have a beach day or too. You will remember it all your life.
3. A Boat Ride around Capri. Whether you have the means to rent a private boat for a day or half a day, or you simply take a nice 20 Euro, 1 hour tour around the island, a boat ride around the beautiful Isle of Capri is an absolute “Must Do,” while on the Isle of Capri. If you hire a private boat, your captain will take you to all the best spots, tell you the history of the island, and talk about points of interest, like celebrities who have had villas on the famous playground of the rich, and of movies like “It Started in Naples” with Sophia Loren and the late great movie star Clark Gable, and other movies shot on Capri. While on your private boat tour, you can drink Champagne and cocktails, and when you’re ready to swim, your captain will bring you to one of the famous grottos to swim into, or wherever you like.
If you take one of several of the 1 hour boat tours, you will go all around the entire island, stopping at the Blue Grotto, for an optional visit inside. Your captain will bring you to all the points of interest on the island, and tell you all about them, including going under the arch of one of the Faraglioni Rocks, and tell every couple on board to Kiss, and “You will be in Love for The Rest of Your Life.”
4. The Grotta Azzura – Blue Grotto … Most will consider a visit to the Blue Grotto, the # 1 most famous attraction of all, on the Isle of Capri. We wouldn’t disagree, it’s been a famous attraction for more than 100 years, and it is quite beautiful, and most would say, you haven’t been to Capri, if you haven’t seen the Blue Grotto. If you have a private boat, your captain will bring you there if you like, and once there you have to hop into one of the little rowboats that will bring you inside of the Blue Grotto (14 Euro fee). It is quite beautiful, and something you should see at least once in your life. You will have the memory, and story, your whole life long.
If you don’t have a private boat, you can go on an hour Group Tour for 20 Euro. This does not include the 14 Euros in fees at the Blue Grotto itself, so it will cost you a total of 34 Euros for the around Capri Boat Tour and your visit to the Blue Grotto.
5. Anacapri. If you are staying on Capri for two days or more, and you are staying down in Capritown, by Marina Grande or nearby areas, going up to Anacapri, the higher part of Capri is, it’s a whole other World up there. For one, it’s a lot quieter, a whole lot less Chic Chic as they say, and less expensive to boot. You can reach the top of Mount Solaro from Anacapri, visit Villa San Michele, and the Church of San Michele Arcangelo is one of the most lovely little churches in the entire World. The ride from Capritown to Anacapri, whether in a Taxi, local bus, or on a rented Scooter is a thrill in and of itself, and the views up on Anacapri are some of the World’s most spectacular.
6. Church of San Michele Arcangelo. The Chiesa San Michele Arcangelo is without question one of the most beautiful little churches that you are likely to see, of any churches the World over. It’s quite unique in that there are no church pews in the church, as a result of the entire church floor is a magnificent Majolica Tile Floor of Paradise and the expulsion of Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden. The church is Roman Catholic and was built in 1719, in the Baroque Style.
The masterpiece majolica tile floor of Paradiso with Adam & Eve, animals such as Lions, Crocodiles, birds, flora and fauna, was executed by the artist Leonardo Chiaiese in Naples, and installed into the octagon shaped church of San Michele Arcangelo in Anacarpi at the Piazza San Nicola. There are many beautiful paintings in the church as well. The entrance fee is 2 Euro and well worth it. I’ve seen all the famous churches of Europe and more, and of the hundreds of beautiful churches that I’ve seen all over Italy and Europe, the church of San Michele Arcangelo, Ancapri, is one of my 6 most favorite churches in the World, it’s absolutely stunning, and a must see, if you happen to be in Capri. “See it.”
7. MONTE SOLARO, Anacapri … Monte Solaro is the most panoramic, highest spot on the Isle of Capri. The views from the summit are absolutely “Spectacular.” From the top, you get great views of the Fragalioni below, Sorrento, the whole Bay of Naples, and the Gialli Islands. There are two ways to get to the summit of Monte Solaro. You can either hike up on the trail that begins at the Piazza della Pace in Anacapri, or take the Chairlift at Piazza Vittoria. Ninety-Nine percent of the people will take the Chairlift, that whisk you to the top in a gorgeous 12 minute ride up to the summit. There is a Cafe at the top where you can relax with a refreshing drink and bite to eat if you like, but it’s all about photo opportunities and the spectacular views.
8. GIARDINI di AUGOSTO – Gardens of Augustus … The Garden of Augustus is a stunning spot on Capri. It is a beautiful botanical garden near the Carthusian Monastery (Perumerie). The Garden is small and does not require a lot of time to see. It is quite beautiful, with statues, many lovely flowers, trees, and plants. There are several terraces with spectacular views. You can see the famed Faraglioni Rocks, the winding Via Krupp, and Marina Piccola in the distance. The garden is situated in one of the most beautiful spots in all of Capri, and stopping at the cute little Lemon Stand, serving Lemon Granita, Lemonade, and gelato, is all part of the fun of a visit to the gardens and this area.
9. VILLA JOVIS, Hike to Tiberius’s Roman Villa …. Villa Jovis is a Roman Palace built and occupied by the Roman Emperor Tiberius. The villa was completed in the Year 27 AD … The Emperor Tiberius moved from Rome to Villa Jovis on Capri in the year 37 AD, from a lingering fear of assassination. The villa is situated on a very secluded part of the island, and TIberius’s quarters on the north eastern part of the palace were very difficult to reach, and were well guarded. It is believed that Tiberius engaged in Wild Sexual Debauchery at the villa, though some historians regard these tales as highly sensationalized. Who knows? The stories however are how the Roman peoples perceived Tiberius. You must hike from the Piazza Umberto to get to Villa Jovis, which takes 45 – 60 to walk. Entrance fee, 7 Euros.
10. VILLA San MICHELE … Villa San Michele is the life’s world of Swedish physician and author Axel Munthe. Villa San Michele is a museum that is filled with important art works, antique furniture, and historical artifacts. The villa / museum is located in Anacapri on one the most lovely spots on the island of Capri. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and pathways that lead to some of Capri’s most spectacular views. There’s a copy of the Egyptian Sphinx and other fine sculptors. Going to Villa San Michele makes for a most delightful visit, inside the villa itself, strolling the gardens, and relaxing at time at the Casa Cafe Oliv for cocktails, lunch or simply a steamy Cappuccino, and look out over Capri, to Sorrento, the Bay of Naples and beyond.
“Celebrity Treatment with World-Class Service”
This property is a 6-minute walk from the beach. With a garden, 2 swimming pools and gym, Hotel Quisisana is on the island of Capri. It also features a terrace and free Wi-Fi. Sauna area and spa center are available.
Air-conditioned rooms feature a TV with satellite channels and private bathroom with free toiletries. Some rooms have garden views and others offer pool views.
Guests can enjoy local food at the restaurant and drinks at the bar. Breakfast is served daily including hot drinks, croissants and cold meats.
Quisisana Hotel is 1.5 miles from the main port of the island, Marina Grande. La Piazzetta, the most famous square, is a 5-minute walk away.
HOTEL QUISISANA, CAPRI
La SCALINATELLA “Celebrity Treatment with World Class Service”
Set on the Island of Capri, this 5-star hotel features 2 summer outdoor pools with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. All elegant rooms include satellite TV, free Wi-Fi and air conditioning.
La Scalinatella is just 1,300 feet from Capri’s Piazzetta square, famous for its fashionable street cafés. Boats to mainland Italy leave from Marina Grande harbor, 0.6 mi away.
Rooms at the Scalinatella have Capri-style décor and cool tiled floors. Some rooms feature a separate lounge and a furnished terrace with sea views.
A continental breakfast is served daily. The restaurant opens for lunch, serving island specialties prepared from local seasonal produce.
Hotel La Scalinatella, Via Tragara 8, Capri
Casa Raiola by CapriRooms offers accommodations in Capri and it is housed on the 3rd floor of an 18th-century building. It offers free WiFi throughout and air-conditioning.
Every room at this bed and breakfast is air conditioned and is fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some units have a seating area where you can relax, and a terrace or balcony. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom with a bidet and shower, with bathrobes provided. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer.
Via Vittorio Emmanuele 23, Capri
- L’Angolo Del Gusto—We ate a long, leisurely lunch at this place and it was incredible. They have a small patio overlooking the Church of Saint Sofia. We got two pasta dishes to share and both were delicious. When they say their tiramisu is the best around, they mean it!
- Bar Piccollo—If you want a shot at seeing someone famous, this is the place to be. Located in a great spot in La Piazzetta, it’s a great stop for a break, an Aperol spritz, and people-watching.
- Le Grottelle—For some of the best views of Arco Naturale, this is well worth the 15-minute walk from downtown Capri. The menu is pretty extensive, but must-trys include the garlic spaghetti and the fish of the day. They also have fresh mozzerella and an amazing wine list.
- Aurora—If you feel like splurging on some good food, this small restaurant is high dollar, but well worth the money. It’s a small restaurant with tables in the pedestrian alley, a true Italian restaurant. Their menu centers around truffle pizzas and fresh seafood delicacies.
- Ristorante Buca di Bacco- This is the place to go if you’re more interested in classic Italian pizzas than pasta or other foods. The wine list is huge, served by glass and by the bottle. Eat like a local with a Pizza Alla Daviola and a large glass of red wine. They also serve salads, mussels, and fresh soup.
- Ristorante Monzu—This is a more romantic restaurant, but it’s still a great place to dine solor with some friends. You can choose from a tasting menu with 7 courses or eat from the traditional restaurant menu. Grab a seat in the outdoor area for an amazing view of the coast and sip on a cocktail or glass of wine.