Turns out, the Italians pronounce Capri like “Crappy” but with the R before the Y, like if you were drunk and slurring it, not Capreee!, like you’re on some kind of ride. And, as it turns out, Capri is not crappy at all. Not in the slightest.
Pardon me whilst I wax poetic for a bit.
Capri — what a beautiful place. I don’t know where my fascination with islands comes from, but as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to them. The solitude, the remoteness — the safety in confinement — or maybe it’s just that the world is condensed into this small, floating package that I can see and understand. The whole of humanity, shrunken down, small enough for me.
The waters around Capri were a rich blue like Hawaii, but they were Carribean-like in the coastal shallows. Different, though. More acquamarine, turquoise, cerulean — all of the shades of blue at once, studded with boulders and plinths of tan-toned stone, splashed with collars of white, crashing surf.
Capri is a mountainous island, soaring out of the sea with vigorous cliffs. But unlike the exclusively rocky Greek isles, Capri is quite lush in places. Like the mainland, it’s stitched with orange and lemon trees, palms, olive, redbud, and the occasional pine. Their pines are different than ours and Tuscany’s — less conical, less uniform, more organic and sprawling, like the oaks back home.
We arrived in Capri by ferry, road up from the Marina to Capri Town on the funicular (think cable car/train hybrid) and then went off in search of Emperor Tiberius’ villa, Villa Jovis, located on the second highest peak of the island.
This four-mile walk along the ridges and through the villa-hoods of Capri was fantastic, some were rustic, some modest, some magical. Think about wandering through the neighborhoods of Charleston, peaking through gates at gardens.
That was Capri, but with all kinds of unfamiliar plants and architecture, lots of white, lots of citrus, artichokes, and geraniums. The “street” was very narrow, maybe three folks could walk abreast, with no traffic save the occasional walker, usually a “nonna” wrapped in a coat, legs in opaque stockings, making a cane-assisted ascent of Capri.
We were rewarded for our walk to Villa Jovis with a virtually private tour of the ruins. No one was around, so we got to explore in quiet, wandering under arches, down tunnels, up crumbling stairs onto plazas overlooking the sea, with distant Vesusvias in th background. It was a magical place — it’s no wonder Tiberius ruled the empire from here during his last ten years in charge. I’d never want to leave, either!
Oh, and there were also goats! Just random goats, hopping around. Some were super cute, while a few others looked like they got bludgeoned with the ugly stick a few times. I guess one too many falls down a Capri cliff’l do that to a goat.
From there, back down the mountain to Capri Town, then on a crazy bus ride up to Anacapri, a smaller, less developed town. More wandering, a delicious if breezy lunch, then off to find a bus to the Blue Grotto.
But instead of finding bus tickets, David found chairlift tickets. Before I knew what was happening, I was herded into a line, then plopped into a lawn chair suspended by a cable, then I was rising up the side of the mountain. The pictures speak for themselves.
Then they take you in to this magical place where the water is illuminated from below. But this guy rowed over and said of lot of things (I speak American, so I was clueless).
A French couple translated — the tide was too high, so he couldn’t take us. Aww, boo. But it was fine. We’ll just hit in the next time we come and visit Mariah, Nick, and the twins at their Capri Villa.
Then it was back home, where we had a really interesting, if not especially flashy or photogenic dinner. It was actually one of the most poignant experiences we had in Italy, but it’s a lot to get into here without photo support, so if you really want to know, ask me or David about the dinner where the diners clapped for the chef.