My CAPRI by Travel Writer Italian Cookbook Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Capri
The Faraglioni
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CAPRI
 
From Summit of MONTE SOLARO
 
 
 
 
MY CAPRI
 
 
 
I first started gong 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 , to check out info on anything or anyplace, no Whatsapp to send text 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. You 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 Guide 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 too : 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 had, 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 was I think only 2 under the budget range as I recall. I picked the Villa Tosca at $40 a night. So they way I did it back then, I had my list of budget , I get into town, and either go to the property or give 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 straithgt 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 it, 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 hotel and 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 had seen the Faraglioni from my balcony. I went out on the main terrazzo of the hotel and just starred 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 Piccolo, 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 Piccolo. 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 Eggpant 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 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 Piccolo. 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 Piccolo. 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 Sturghling 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.”
 
 
 
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
 
 
 
 
 
CAPRI
From POSITANO
And SORRENTO
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POSITANO The AMALFI COAST

CAPRI  SORRENTO  NAPLES

TRAVEL GUIDE / COOKBOOK
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Best Selling Italian Cookbook Author
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
BAR TIBERIO
CAPRI
2022
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FIND a ROOM in CAPRI
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Me on CAPRI
Boat from Da Luigi Beach Club to Marina Piccola
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POSITANO
“The SNEAKERS”
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TAKE a BOAT TOUR
CAPRI
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CAPRI BOAT TOUR
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From POSITANO (or SORRENTO)  “FULL DAY BOAT TOUR”
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  • Swim and snorkel on the island of Capri
  • Enjoy a full-day trip to Capri with an expert guide
  • Tour the island by boat and on foot
See everything the island of Capri has to offer on a full-day excursion by boat with an expert guide. Enjoy a small-group experience along with the perfect combination of a guided tour and free time to explore.

Get picked up at the Parking Mandara in Positano and head to the port of Piano di Sorrento.

Set off on a comfortable and elegant boat along the Sorrento coast to Capri.

Along the way, you’ll pass the ancient fishing village, Marina Grande, and the ruins of a Roman villa near Bagni della Regina Giovanna. You’ll also get to admire lovely rock formations and waterfalls.

Upon arrival to Capri, tour the island first by boat, making stops at the Marvelous Grotto, the White Grotto, and the Green Grotto, admiring the Natural Arch, the Villa Curzio Malaparte, the Faraglioni rocks, and the Lighthouse of Punta Carena along the way.

Enjoy a couple of stops for swimming and snorkeling, and a relaxing break with snacks and drinks on board. Next, it’s time to tour the island on foot, with 3 to 5 hours to do as you please.

Your departure from Capri will be bittersweet – literally because you’re invited to a Limoncello tasting before you board the boat.

  • Pickup and drop-off from meeting point
  • Professional, English-speaking skipper – Dry snacks, Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, Snorkeling equipment    –  Visit to the Blue Grotto

Update on Positano Naples

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BACK on CAPRI

And a APEROL SPRITZ at BAR TIBERIUS

PIAZZA UMBERTO CAPRI

Back to Italy 2019; Rome, Salerno, Naples, Capri, Ischia, and Positano, the Amalfi Coast, vacation and research trip to put the finishing touch on my upcoming book Positano The Amalfi Coast – Travel Guide / Regional Cookbook. Had a great time, and learned a few new things and going staying in two places I’ve never stayed at before, Salerno and Ischia. I’d spent some time in Salerno last year with my cousins Tony, Marta, and Mimmo, but I stayed there for 2 days this year and did a little exploring. I stayed at a wonderful hotel, the Plaza Hotel, which I had a wonderful time at, and I highly recommend staying there. It’s a super nice hotel with nice rooms and excellent service from owner Gaetano and his staff. The hotel is situated in an excellent location to make it an affordable base to stay if you’re looking to do Positano, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast, and you don’t have $350 a night or more to stay in Positano or Capri, but you want to spend time visiting and eating in those spots, then staying at the Hotel Plaza at about $95 a night for two, including a tasty and robust breakfast, his hotel is one of the best choices you could possibly make to explore Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and the outer islands of Campania. Besides being such a great hotel, the location could not be more ideal. The Hotel Plaza is located 200 feet from the Salerno Train Station that can get you a train to Naples in just 30 minutes and just 1 1/2 hours to Rome. The hotel is just 3 blocks to the Marine Terminal where you can get frequent ferry boats to Positano, Amalfi, Cetara, Minori, and other points on the Amalfi Coast. Very convenient.

Besides staying in Salerno, I finally made it to Ischia, a place I’d been wanting to go to for years. The reason I’d never gone before, is that I love Capri so much, that I had a hard time not going, so year after year I’d be back on my beloved Isle of Capri. Well I did like Ischia, it’s a beautiful place, but having spent 4 days on this lovely volcanic island, I still prefer Capri, which is more compact and easier to get around to the beaches and most popular sights and such. My favorite things about Ischia were watching a couple fishermen bring in their fresh catch of the day, swimming, drinking Biancolella with every meal, and finishing the meal with the a wonderful new Amaro I discovered, the locally made Amaro Rucolino which is made with its own secret recipe of roots and herbs and the main flavor ingredient being locally grown Arugala (Rocket). I just loved it, and brought 2 bottles of it to bring back home to New York.

While staying on Ischia, I took the short 20 minute ferry boat to the Island of Procida, another new discovery. I quite a nice time in Prociada where the shot the movies Il Positano about famed Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda, and The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Palthrow.

I had a nice tasty lunch of Alici Fritti at the Trattoria / Pizzeria Piazzetta on Procida were I had a lovely time chit-chatting with a couple English ladies sitting at the table next to mine outside on the piazza, with our gorgeous view of Procida. Quite a nice time.

One day, I walked the 3 short blocks from the Hotel Plaza to the Marine Terminal of Salerno and caught a ferry boat to Positano to go visit my friend Mario and his wife who were staying at the Hotel Poseidon in Positano. It’s a beautiful 50 minute boat ride from Salerno to Positano, that cost just 12 Euro. Glad to be back in Positano, I stopped at the Delacatessen for an Aracini and fresh fruit before making my way up to see my buddy Mario and his wife Esperanza. It’s a nice little walk up the pathway and then onto the Via Pasitea where the Hotel Poseidon is located at # 148 Via Pasitea. This hotel is perfectly situated at one of the nicest spots in Positano, with a spectacular view of the town on its large terrace where you get one of the best views in town. The Hotel Poseidon has a nice pool on their terrazzo, along with a bar, and one of Positano’s best restaurants, the Tridente.

I had one of the best times on my whole vacation hanging out with my friends Mario and Esperanza that day on the Terrazzo of the Poseidon Hotel. We swam in the beautiful pool, drank Campari, and Aperol Spritz’s and had the most wonderful time, hanging out poolside in Positano, with our gorgeous view of the most famous and treasured town of The Amalfi Coast Italy. Yes it was a very day hanging out with Mario and his lovely wife. A day I will always treasure and always remember.

On this trip I visited some of Underground Napoli (Naples) which was quite interesting. There was a Roman Market and other buildings that were built over older Greek Ruins. It was quite interesting to see. 

I started my trip in Rome, were I stayed for 2 days before taking a fast train from Roma Termini Station down to Salerno (1 1/2 hours). Once I got off the train in Salerno, and out of the train station, it was a nice easy 300 foot walk to the wonderful Hotel Plaza just across the street from the train station. Again, I reiterate, the Plaza Hotel is a great place to see to base your trip to the otherwise expensive Amalfi Coast of Italy. This hotel is lovely and a wonderful place to stay. Ask for Gaetano and tell him “Daniel from new York,” sent you. And have a Great Time!

Daniel

 

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