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A weekend in Capri: exclusive tips from an expert

17 . 05 . 2019 by Redazione
Iconic design places in Milan
Dream holidays: must-see destinations for 2019

If you are planning to spend a weekend in Capri, check out our exclusive guide full of important tips on what to see, do, where to eat and sleep. The journey will start on a Friday in the late afternoon and end on a Monday morning. The first stop: the port of Marina Grande, the seaside village of the island.

On your arrival, you will be greeted by tourists waiting to board the boat, while the salt scented, light air of the evening will bring a well-deserved break. At this time, the sea assumes darker shades and is speckled by the pale orange of the sunset that is about to leave space to the night.

To fill the gaze, rowing boats moored to the shore, at rest after a long day at sea and the colourful houses embraced by the mountain. The feeling? Happiness and an instantaneous lightheartedness that envelops the heart. This is the magic of Capri: conveying those who visit it into another dimension. A dimension where sacred and profane, beauty and worldliness meet without disturbing one another.

Iconic figures like Pablo Neruda, Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni and Aristotle Onassis seized the magnetic spirit of the island so much to return several times. Because falling in love with Capri is easy. What is hard is to say goodbye. You’ll find out. Now let’s start this exclusive weekend.

Friday night: How to get to the Piazzetta and hotel by bus or taxi
If you have lots of luggage and want to reach the hotel easily, head to the taxi area which is located on the left at the exit of the pier. You won’t miss it: the silhouettes of the Fiat Marea convertible cars will immediately draw your attention. If you prefer, take the bus to Capri town centre, the bust stop is located on your right along with the ticket office. Alternatively, choose the funicular tramway.

Where to stay in Capri town centre: luxury hotels for a super refined experience
Capri is almost entirely a pedestrian zone apart from a few roads that lead to the centre, Marina Piccola, Marina Grande and Anacapri, the village located in the highest part of the island at the foot of Monte Solaro.

Capri is almost entirely pedestrian-friendly and must be discovered on foot
A very important feature? Spending a weekend in Capri requires a careful planning of time and space. Better to choose accommodations that are not far from the Piazzetta, the pulsating heart of the island and a crossroads to reach other places of interest.

La Minerva
La Minerva is 10 minutes away from the Piazzetta and at the end of Via Camerelle, the shopping promenade. The luxury boutique hotel (18 rooms) is a true gem. Carved out of the old Caprese-style house of the Esposito family, it will welcome you with furnishings and architectural details typical of a Mediterranean villa. From the garden swimming pool and panoramic terraces, you cold admire the Faraglioni and the Bay of Marina Piccola. The atmosphere is typical of Capri, friendly and customer oriented.

La Scalinatella
Nominated by Condé Nast “the best hotel in the world”. La Scalinatella, a 5-star luxury boutique hotel, is managed by the Morgano family and is strategically located along via Tragara righ off via Camerelle. From the Fifties, it has been welcoming its guests with a Moorish and refined style that reflects the essence of the island. The first impression? To be in a Caprese villa immersed in greenery. White and blue dominate, ceilings are vaulted, the antique furnishings and hand-painted majolica embellish the 30 rooms featuring private terraces. To top it off: the two swimming pools overlooking the bay of Marina Piccola and the Certosa di San Giacomo.

Where to eat the first evening in Capri: Da Paolino lemon scented dining
After a relaxing break in the hotel, it’s time to think about the dinner. Our suggestion: go to Da Paolino, one of the symbols of Capri dining scene and indulge in an exclusive dinner under the most famous lemon grove in Italy. A destination loved by both locals and the international jet set, here you will taste traditional recipes prepared with fresh and quality ingredients. Do not miss the Bomba di Paolino (fried pizza dough stuffed with fresh ricotta and salami accompanied by Chiummenzana, tomato sauce and oregano typical of Capri) and Capri and lemon ravioli. Don’t leave without taking a look at the dessert buffet: a joy for the eyes and palate.

Saturday: Boat tour to discover the island
The next day, after a delicious and rich breakfast in the hotel, go to Marina Grande and take a boat trip around the island to get to know its most fascinating, majestic and wild side. A magical tour among caves, secret beaches and folk tales that sailors handed down from generation to generation. To capture the gaze, the colours of the sea with shades that change from emerald green and fade into turquoise to deep blue.

Start the journey from Marina Grande. Beyond the public beaches and Bagni di Tiberio beach club and restaurant framed by the remains of Villa di Palazzo a Mare, one of the twelve villas of Emperor Tiberius. Today, the traces of a glorious past are still visible: a nymphaeum, the ruins of a swimming pool, a small pier, tuff and red brick walls.  One of the main stops of the tour of the island is the Blue Grotto, known all over the world for the colour of its waters due to an underwater cavity filtering sunlight. Tiberius used it as a nymphaeum, but after the fall of the empire, it remained untouched for a long time. Locals thought it was haunted by spirits and devils. It was later rediscovered in 1826 by poet August Kopisch, painter Ernesto Fries and Caprese sailor Angelo Ferraro.

In order to enter the Blue Grotto, the sea must be calm, and you have to lie flat on rowboats, the only ones able to cross the narrow and low entrance. Once inside, oarsmen will reveal to you the secrets of this cavern that has aroused the curiosity of travelers of all times

Afterwards, continue along the north-western side (opposite Anacapri). Leave behind the beach of Gradola, Il Riccio restaurant and English and French fortifications on the rocks of the coast forming the Sentiero dei Fortini coastal path. Head towards Cala del Rio and take a dip, then go beyond the lighthouse of Punta Carena, the free beach nestled in the rocks and the nearby Lido del Faro.

Reach the south side for a visit to the Green Grotto. You will be welcomed by the bay of Marina Piccola with its public beaches that are now part of the collective imagination including Lo Scoglio delle Sirene and La Canzone del Mare.

Finally, the Faraglioni will stand out towards the sky. These three guardians of the Sea are the privileged backdrop of every boat ride, auspicious figures for all lovers. The reason? It is said that kissing under the arch of the Faraglione di Mezzo is forever. These silvery rocks are also the natural habitat of the blue lizard, only typical of the Faraglioni.

Lunch break at La Fontelina beach club overlooking the Faraglioni
Dine overlooking the sea with its Faraglioni at La Fontelina Beach Club; you will notice the white and blue striped umbrellas and deckchairs reminiscent of the fabulous Fifties and Sixties. The cuisine is typical of Capri both fish and meat based. Try the seafood linguine and aubergine meatballs. La Fontelina can also be reached on foot along a path that starts from Punta Tragara.

At the end of the tour of the island, a stop in the hotel is a must for resting to then continue with an aperitif in one of the bars in the Piazzetta: Il Piccolo, Tiberio, Caffè Caso, Gran Caffè and Alberto will be an invitation to enjoy the magic that one can breathe in Piazza Umberto I. Comfortably sitting at the tables in what is known as “The Small Theatre of the World”, hours, minutes and seconds will have no meaning whatsoever and you will have the impression of living a moment suspended in time.

Do you prefer an aperitif with a view? Opt for the Funicolare bar nearby: The Gulf of Naples, interspersed with the colonnade, will conquer the gaze. Or reach the Capri Rooftop in via Matteotti after Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The lounge bar is located on the Hotel Luna rooftop; here you will almost touch the Faraglioni.

Dinner in the medieval quarter
And at dinner? In the town center, there are several possibilities. On the stairs of the Piazzetta, you can taste the starred cuisine of the Mammà restaurant, near the medieval quarter of the island. The dishes are those of the local tradition, rich and genuine. In Via L’abate there is another gem: the Gennaro Amitrano restaurant, where you will be able to experience the combination of innovation and tradition.

Do you feel like a less formal but still elegant environment? Stop at Villa Verde in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, just a few steps from the Anema e Core tavern. Or go to the Aurora restaurant and try the water pizza. Opposite, there is the champagne bar designed to entertain guests before dinner and in case of long queues. As a dessert, the Buonocore artisan ice cream will gently seal this early part of the evening.

The Caprese nightlife is for dance and have fun and has a name and surname: Guido Lembo, patron and showman at the Anema and Core tavern. With his repertoire of unconventional Neapolitan songs, the Caprese chansonnier makes his audience go wild. With him, his son Gianluigi, the new entertainer who is following in his father’s footsteps.

 

Sunday hiking and shopping
Sunday is the day to visit the monuments around the Piazzetta and shopping: exit the hotel and take a stroll along via Tragara, an evocative street that overlooks the Faraglioni. Then go to the Certosa di San Giacomo, the oldest monastery in Capri built in 1371. Today, it hosts a museum dedicated to German painter Karl Diefenbach.

Craftmanship and big brands
It’s time to go shopping. In Capri the choice is wide: from artisan products to Italian designer must-haves. The island has this great gift: it knows how to fulfill the desires of its guests and transforms shopping into a memorable experience.

Head to via Ignazio Cerio, a street that leads to via Camerelle. Here you will find Laboratorio Capri, a craftmanship jewel and fashion workshop. The idea was born in 2010 from the creative flair of Michele Esposito who decided to transform the Gigino tailoring shop – inherited from his father – into a workshop where quality, innovation and concept meet Caprese typical style.

The creations made by Laboratorio Capri are an expression of local tradition which doesn’t renounce contemporary suggestions. Sartorial proposals include collections of strictly handmade clothing, handbags and accessories. You can discover the exclusive products of Laboratorio Capri at Rinascente in Florence, in June.

Continue shopping in Via Camerelle which, together with Corso Vittorio Emanuele makes up the reign of designer brands: from Roberto Cavalli to Salvatore FerragamoGiorgio Armani, Valentino, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. If you want to buy an original gift for your loved ones, visit Capri Watch, the iconic Caprese brand whose watches recall the maiolic details of the free-standing bell tower in the Piazzetta .

A few steps forward, you will meet the Amedeo Canfora workshop, one of the first to open in Via Camerelle in 1946 and symbol of custom-made Caprese sandals. The shop was Jackie Kennedy’s favourite destination. The first lady had the shop opened at midnight purely for herself. The reason? This way she was able to peacefully choose among the various styles.

Continue along the alley skirting the Quisisana hotel and arrive at Viale Matteotti. Here, intoxicating fragrances will open the door to the main perfume workshop in the island. The essences are conceived and created by Carthusia with local flowers.

Not far from Carthusia are the Augustus Gardens, a complex of colourful and scented terraces. From here, you can admire the Faraglioni and via Krupp, a switchback paved footpath along the sea.

Do you need any more shopping tips? La Parisienne in the Piazzetta to buy Capri pants, kaftans and patterned silk dresses. Another gem: Le Farella in via Fuorlovado for handmade knitwear made with cashmere, silk and merino wool.

The weekend is about to end. If you want to bring back a piece of the island, the Gelateria Buonocore is a must where you can enjoy a slice of Caprese cake and lemon Caprilù cookies. Don’t forget to stroll by via Roma and get a hold of a bottle of the famous Limoncello di Capri.

(Marilena D’Ambro)

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