By Goya Verity
Italy beckons us all: whether we are tempted by the cuisine, enticed by its cultures and monuments, or simply attracted to the charming, tanned locals. This summer, Naples, the capital of the Campania region, called my name. One must dedicate the best part of the week to exploring Naples and the Amalfi Coast to unlock and understand the character of this part of Italy.
Staying in Naples was a perfect launchpad to access the surrounding area including Sorrento, Positano, and the archaeological site of Pompeii, but Capri called my name even louder. We departed on a small ferry at midday from the port of Naples and in under an hour we were mooring in the port of Capri — small white and blue houses and shops were huddled together on the rock face and below the hustle of the ‘lungomare’, the ice-cream vendors, and passengers boarding and disembarking from their boats from the purest turquoise water which tickled the hulls of the bobbling boats. This colour was deep in its purity that brought a hypnotic, calming effect to the island.
There is a reason Capri is considered one of the pearls of the Mediterranean: the virginity of Capri, the quiet balance of its microcosm and humility while being able to boast some of the world’s greatest beauty made me impatient to explore the island.
First, a Caprese salad. A Caprese salad from Capri Island DOC is an imperative for visitors of this haven. This is an easy affair with plentiful restaurant terraces that look out on breathtaking panoramic views featuring volcano Vesuvius in Naples on the hot horizon. Eating pizza in this region is imperative since Naples is synonymous with and home to this culinary icon, though food in general in Italy is highly palatable.
Given that Capri is small, walking is a quaint option, but I opted for the luxury travel of an open-top taxi. These taxis are old “vintage” cars with coloured leather seats (ours was mint green). I say ‘luxury travel’ because its rusticity is chic for all the impeccably dressed, sunglass-wearing Italian ladies who wish to travel to Piccola Marina, ‘little harbour’ — one of the beaches of Capri’s cove-studded coastline which flaunts a famous rock formation which has been the poster image for so many tourist advertisements. The taxi hair-pined up and descended this luscious landscape winding down through the whitewashed walls of summer houses and through the jungle and colour of the Bougainville flowers with the bay below, bejewelled with yachts which glistened and rippled like a mirage.
It is hard to find a comprehensive guide of what to do in Capri, besides taking advantage of its natural marine beauty, but that is part of its charm: beaching, eating, reading, writing — Capri is a place for all things chic which can be easily reached once you are firmly nested in Naples.
The Gardens of Augustus and Villa Jovis are two archaeological sites for the more avid tourists, but you will find most of them swimming in the blue grotto or buying local produce and souvenirs. Capri, the pastel-coloured fishing island, is the perfect destination, be it romantic, for solo travellers, family fun, and even Italians wanting to do some national tourism. Either way, a shot of local limoncello will nicely conclude some of the most memorable days of your life when spent in Capri.
Image credit: Rosemaria via Pixabay