Riserva di

Capri

Riserva di

Capri

An Island of Mythical Beauty

A small island off the coast of Naples, the charming Capri has been celebrated for centuries by writers and poets. Just like Homer’s Ulysses was drawn to the island by the voices of the Sirens, today the island’s natural beauty draws tourists, writers and photographers; and rightly so. Capri’s two main towns, Capri and Anacapri, reflect the sun’s golden warmth, while the surrounding sea, with its twinkling charm, cradles treasures of a time long gone.

Discover all the excellence in this Riserva

  • Places & Landscapes
  • Culture
  • Craft

Into the Blue

Capri's Blue Grotto

Into the Blue

Capri's Blue Grotto

The ‘Blue Grotto’ of Capri is a natural sea cavern, renowned for her mystical, glowing waters. 

Extending 60 metres into the cliff face, the cavern is accessible only through a tiny entrance, less than a metre high

Small wooden rowboats are carefully guided through this hole, transporting passengers into a dream-like grotto with the most beautiful blue waters.

The cave was ‘discovered,’ in 1826, by the German writer August Kopisch and the painter Ernst Fries, who found it with a local notary, Giuseppe Pagano. 

Local sailors had actually known and feared the cave for centuries, believing that its opalescent waters were home to magical spirits and monsters

Astonished by the silvery-blue water and the shimmering reflections of white sand from the depths below, the brave explorers returned to the island and coined the name: ‘Grotta Azzurra’ – a name which would be taken and applied to thousands of enthusiastic descriptions and postcards, making it the most revered natural treasure in Capri.

In reality, this ‘discovery’ was more of a ‘rediscovery’, for the human history of the grotto most likely dates as far back as the age of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Marble sculptures showing Neptune and Triton have been discovered at its depths and above the cavern lie the ruins of a small Roman villa (Villa Gradola), presumably intended to make visits to the cave comfortable and relaxing.

To reach the grotto, take a tour boat from Marina Grand and purchase tickets to enter separately, at the floating ticket office by the cave entrance. 

Tip: since the distinctive colour of the water is caused by sunlight, the most spectacular time to visit is during the midday hours, between 12:30pm and 2pm. Once inside, try placing your hand in the water and watch it ‘glow’ eerily in the light.

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A Lover's Refuge

Villa Lysis

A Lover's Refuge

Villa Lysis

On the slopes of a secluded cliff off the island of Capri stands the majestic Villa Lysis. Also known as Villa Fersen, the mansion is a splendid Art Noveaux building with Neoclassical motifs. 

It was exiled poet and steel industrialist Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen who had the villa constructed back in 1905 for himself and his lover, Nino Cesarini.

A Latin inscription above the front steps reads AMORI ET DOLORI SACRVM; “a shrine to love and sorrow”, while the name of the villa is a direct reference to the Socratic dialogue Lysis, debating the nature of homosexual love, all of which accentuates the Romantic view Fersen had of himself.

The interior offers grand bedrooms with panoramic terraces overlooking the Gulf of Naples and Mount Tiberio, and even an authentic opium room. The grounds boast a small neoclassical temple with ionic columns with a path leading directly to the sea, and are not far from the site where Roman Emperor Tiberius had his own Villa Jovis erected.

Following Fersen’s suicide in 1923, Villa Lysis was more or less abandoned, and by the 1980s it was practically in ruins. 

In 1985, the Italian state took possession of the villa, and a major restoration was carried out in the 1990s, leading to the opening of the estate to tourists. Today, the beautiful villa of love hosts exhibitions and is open for visits.



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A Lift to Heaven

Monte Solaro

A Lift to Heaven

Monte Solaro

The highest summit of the island of Capri is Monte Solaro, 589 metres above sea level. From the top of the mount it is possible to take in the beauty of this amazing Mediterranean island, with the Faraglioni below, the town of Capri and the entire Gulf of Naples and that of Salerno.


To reach the top, you can go by foot or by chairlift. 

If you are in the mood for a hike, and in good physical shape, you can either follow the so-called Passetiello path, which starts from Capri town, or the path that begins in Viale Axel Munthe in Anacapri. 

Needless to say, these paths are breathtakingly stunning but can also be enjoyed on the way back if you prefer to take the panoramic chairlift from Anacapri and save your strength! A definite must-see in the area is also the hermitage of Santa Maria a Cetrella, a church on Mount Solaro dating back to the 16th century.


Once on the top, refreshments can be had on one of the rocking chairs at the La Canzone del Cielo café, while reveling in nature’s beauty and perfecting your tan. Not far from here we find the Fortino di Bruto, a military fort built during the Napoleonic Wars, also worth a visit.

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Watch Your
Steps

The Capri Sandal

Watch Your Steps

The Capri Sandal

Those of you with a love for fashion may have already heard of one of Capri’s most popular handmade products – the Caprese sandal. Legend has it that among the first to wear a pair of leather sandals here was Roman Emperor Tiberius himself.

If you are hoping to find yourself a pair of gorgeous and authentic sandals to walk the cobbled streets of Capri, here are our recommendations for where to look:


Canfora: made in a shop found at the beginning of the luxurious shopping street, Via Camerelle. The simple style of this sandal has remained true to its origins in the workshop. 

The making process today is the same as it was when Amedeo Canfora first opened his shop in 1946: the crucial aspect is the sole, composed of several layers of Italian leather pressed together.

An iron core is inserted into the sole, to preserve its shape and texture, before the different layers are sewn together: this is the feature that differentiates Canfora sandals from other Caprese models, where the sole tends to be glued and not stitched. 

Cuccurullo: named after its founder, Giuseppe Cuccurullo, this workshop is located in the splendid setting of the Marina Grande port. 

Cuccurullo’s dream was to create new style, combining the comfort and practicality of a shoe for the seaside, with a need for elegance and beauty. 

More than 60 years have passed since he opened his workshop and hundreds of people have benefitted from his passion and skills, from fishermen to bureaucrats and showbiz stars, everyone can appreciate their originality and comfort. The shop is now in the hands of his two grandchildren, Joseph and Imma, who have worked to combine the old and authentic style with the ever-changing needs of the fashion world. 

Ragozzino: the passion and knowledge for tailoring found in this workshop has been passed down through generations since 1951. Located just a short walk from the Piazzetta, after the Santo Stefano cathedral, this shop is home to a range of sandals, all strictly handcrafted and tailored from Italian leather of the highest quality.



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When Your Heart Skips a Beat

Via Krupp

When Your Heart Skips a Beat

Via Krupp

Built in 1902, Via Krupp is Capri’s famous switchback footpath on the south coast of the island. 

Brainchild of German steel industrialist Friedrich Krupp, the path was designed by Emilio Mayer (an architect from Naples) and linked Marina Piccola - where Krupp usually moored his yacht - to his suite in the nearby Grand Hotel.

Secretly, the path also led to the Grotta di Fra Felice, a grotto Krupp used to keep homosexual love affairs and orgies secret. When his activities surfaced, Krupp was banned from Italy and never returned. 


Defined by many as a true work of art, Via Krupp was built on the “Fondo Certosa” (the Certosa Estate), which the industrialist had purchased for the project. 

A winding road which zig-zags its way to the sea, via Krupp covers a heart-stopping 100 meter drop. 

Currently closed due to the danger of falling rocks, the scenic pathway can be viewed from the overlook in the beautiful Augustus Gardens - your heart will skip a beat! 

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Discovering the Voices of the Sea

Villa San Michele

Discovering the Voices of the Sea

Villa San Michele

The marriage of stunning natural beauty and a literary success story contribute to the historical intrigue of the Villa San Michele, located on the island of Capri in Italy’s Campania region. 

Swedish physician and author Axel Munthe built the Villa in the early 1900’s on the site of a small, decrepit medieval chapel located just northwest of the town of Anacapri, 327 metres above sea level. 


The chapel had originally been dedicated to Saint Michael, or San Michele – the namesake of Munthe’s villa. After acquiring the ruined chapel and the surrounding land in 1895, Munthe discovered the remains of an Imperial Roman villa on the property. He then drew heavily from these ruins, along with his personal collection of Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian artefacts acquired in his travels, in the construction and decoration of the residence that stands today.

"My home shall be open for the sun and the wind and the voices of the sea – like a greek temple – and light, light, light everywhere!"


This was the vision Munthe had for his property, which was to highlight the magnificence of the surrounding natural landscape and provide an appropriately beautiful structure for the artefacts it housed.
However, the transformation of the chapel into the Villa San Michele took many years and faced innumerable obstacles.

Munthe documented his dreams for the villa and gardens, as well as the difficulty he had in achieving them, in his autobiography, The Story of San Michele. 

The book was an instant bestseller and is one of the most widely read of the 20th century, having been translated into 45 different languages.

Today, visitors to the Villa San Michele can appreciate many of the original artefacts of Munthe’s collection, including an Egyptian sphinx, positioned in one of the villa’s most panoramic spots, that has become the symbol of the residence.

Even those who are unable to travel to the villa can be swept away by the fascinating descriptions in The Story of San Michele, and begin to understand something more about the thoughts and feelings of its visionary author, Axel Munthe.



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Sea Giants

Capri's Faraglioni

Sea Giants

Capri's Faraglioni

The term ‘faraglioni’ refers to the Italian name for stacks; towering rock formations occurring due to the erosion of ocean waves, which typically appear in coastal areas. 


Such as they do near Capri, where there are three situated off the island; the Faraglione di Terra (or Stella), which is still linked to the mainland, also the tallest of the three, the Faraglione di Mezzo, the smallest of the three and pierced by a stone archway, and finally the Faraglione di Fuori (or Scopolo, literally promontory), famous for its blue lizard, unique in its kind. 

There are no others in the world like Scopolo, whose rare colouring is probably due to the surrounding water.

The Faraglioni have inspired many a tourist and quite a few writers throughout the times, and remain a perfect background for vacation snapshots. You can choose to go to the Garden of Augustus, from where you have a most stunning view of the stacks, or maybe take a boat trip round the island, which probably offers the best vista.


If you choose to take a boat trip to see the Faraglioni, sail right through the stone archway of the Faraglione di Mezzo and exchange the traditional kiss for good luck!

Alternatively, you could also take a swim from one of the two beach resorts, la Fontelina or da Luigi. Just make sure you can tackle the trail that leads to the resorts, it’s quite steep, and starts from the Belvedere di Tragara – an alternative could be the shuttle service!


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Life in Seclusion

The Certosa of San Giacomo

Life in Seclusion

The Certosa of San Giacomo

The oldest on Capri island, the Certosa of San Giacomo is a Carthusian monastery erected in 1371 by Count Giacomo Arcucci of Capri, secretary to Joan I, queen of Naples. 

Built to give thanks for the birth of his first-born son, Jannuccio, and with favours from the queen, the Certosa was also granted lands, gifts and privileges, in order to safeguard its future legacy.


Unfortunately, the Certosa has suffered many misfortunes from the time of its erection and up to this very day. It was subject to the sacking and burning of pirates during the 1500s, which led to a major restoration that lasted till 1636. It was then used as barracks, as a hospital, and, until 1898, as a military prison for anarchists and soldiers.

The structure and architecture of the Certosa is typical of that of the island with its roofing and fanned vaults. 

The architect however remains unknown, as are the ones who oversaw the later enlargements the Certosa underwent. The buildings themselves are divided into three areas: an independent one, which is open to the public and houses the pharmacy and the women’s church; another intended to the lay brothers, with granaries, stables and workshops; and finally the area dedicated to the secluded life, with the Chiostro Grande (large cloister) with the cells for the monks, and the Chiostrino (little cloister) with the more monumental parts of the building, specifically the Church and the Refectory.

Today, the ex-monastery hosts various cultural events and even weddings, and is the home of a museum dedicated to the German painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, who died on the island in 1913.



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The Colours
of the Sea

Marina Grande Harbour

The Colours of the Sea

Marina Grande Harbour

The main harbour in Capri, Marina Grande is an ancient fishing port located on the northern side of the Tyrrhenian island. 

Although the Marina Piccola port - situated on Capri’s southern shore - was founded before the Marina Grande, the latter quickly gained strategical and commercial importance once built. 


Capri was the first point in which the Greek landed in Campania and the women of the area are still said to show Grecian features. 

Fortified and reinforced by emperor Tiberius, Marina Grande has been harbouring Capri’s boats since Augustan times.


The Marina Grande is one of the most typical spots on Capri, overlooking the port is a picturesque square with the island's characteristic coloured houses and small bars.

When there, look for the leitmotif colour of the facades of the Neapolitan coast: Pompeian red.

A tip: if you want to get a birds-eye view of the Marina Grande, take the chairlift to Monte Solaro, the port lies right beneath it. 

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A Garden in the Sky

Capri's Giardini d'Augusto

A Garden in the Sky

Capri's Giardini d'Augusto

The Giardini di Augusto – or Gardens of Augustus – on the Italian island of Capri were originally known as the Krupp Gardens for their German founder, Friedrich Alfred Krupp. 


Krupp purchased the land, along with several other territories on Capri, in the early 20th century with the intention of building a villa. His project however never reached completion, and in 1918 the local administration renamed the gardens in honour of the first Roman Emperor.

These splendid gardens highlight the rich and varied flora of the island and feature 180-degree views of the surrounding sea

The Giardini di Augusto are a must-see destination even for those who have a limited amount of time to spend on Capri. Indeed, the walk to the site takes the visitor through the heart of the town of Capri and provides clear views of the Bay of Marina Piccola, Mount Solaro, the famously steep and winding Via Krupp and the Faraglioni, the characteristic ocean stacks off the coast of the island.



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A Walk for the Mind

A Relaxing Trail to Discover Capri

A Walk for the Mind

A Relaxing Trail to Discover Capri

A walk along Capri’s footpaths is a must for anyone visiting the island. The Migliera trail, starting from Piazza della Pace in Anacapri - the island's quieter and more peaceful town -, winds over the west coast of the island, covering vineyards, rocky cliffs and unexpected views of blue. 


Just over a kilometre long, the path ends at the Belvedere del Tuono, one of the best viewing points on Capri. From the belvedere, the Punta Carena Lighthouse can be seen in all of its splendour.


For those whose souls seek meditation, a visit to the Parco Filosofico (Philosophical Park) - which you can reach from the Migliera trail - is a good idea. 

Dotted with majolica tiles quoting famous philosophers, the meditational park has two trails: the idealism trail and the realism one

Created by Swedish Professor Gunnar Adler-Karlsson, the park represents Karlsson’s belief of improving a land he loves. The park’s vegetation is left to grow naturally, embracing the thoughts of western and eastern philosophers. 


… Happy walking and happy pondering!

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The Emperor's Palace

Villa Jovis

The Emperor's Palace

Villa Jovis

The Villa Jovis, or Villa of Jupiter, situated on the summit of the Monte Tiberio on the Italian island of Capri, was the final residence of the Emperor Tiberius, as well as the house of the Roman government between the years 26 and 37 A.D. 

Indeed, as the most grandiose Roman villa on the island, the structure reflects the pomp and prominence of its original inhabitant. 

The site was re-discovered in the 18th century by the archaeologist Norbert Hadrawa, and was subsequently ravaged by excavations that depleted the villa of what little remained of any value, including its original marble floors. The excavation and restoration of the Villa Jovis began once again in 1932, under the direction of the Italian archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri, and was finished in 1935.

At the height of its beauty, Tiberius’ residence was a massive expanse covering 1.7 acres of land, with a difference of elevation of 40 meters between its various terraces.


Because of its elevation 354 meters above sea level, it was difficult to procure water in the area, thus the original construction included a cistern with a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters to collect rainfall. Of the original structure, only eight levels of walls and staircases remain today, but Maiuri’s excavation confirmed that the Villa Jovis was a magnificent example of the splendour of 1st-century Roman Architecture.

In his conception and construction of the property, Tiberius clearly prioritized seclusion, perhaps because of his persistent fears of assassination. 

During the 1st century, it was rumoured that Villa Jovis was the site of lavish celebrations, and there was intense speculation about the debauchery in which Tiberius engaged in the privacy of his palace, away from public scrutiny. 

Historians have since called these depictions into question, and many describe Tiberius as an introverted and taciturn individual who preferred the long periods of solitude and quiet that the Villa Jovis afforded him. Perfidious or withdrawn as Tiberius may have been, Villa Jovis would have been an appropriate setting for this larger than life historical figure.

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Anacapri's Hermitage

Santa Maria a Cetrella

Object of pilgrimages by local fishermen, the small Church of Santa Maria a Cetrella stands on Monte Solaro, above the charming town of Anacapri.

A 19th Century Outpost

Fortino di Bruto

Originally a 19th century fort used during the military campaigns between the French and the English, the ruins of the Fortino di Bruto lie on Monte Solaro.

Ulysses' Bay

Marina Piccola

Marina Piccola is where Ulysses is said to have been abducted by the Sirens. Today, the bay is a great spot to go for a swim against the backdrop of the Faraglioni.

The Quiet Capri

Anacapri

Located on the west side of the island of Capri, Anacapri is a beautiful and tranquil town - for those looking for peace, it is the perfect alternative to jet-set Capri.

Anacapri's Hermitage

Santa Maria a Cetrella

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A 19th Century Outpost

Fortino di Bruto

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Ulysses' Bay

Marina Piccola

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