THE BLUE ISLAND OF CAPRI
Twenty miles from Naples, rising abruptly out
of the azure gulf, is the little island of Capri, its shape something
like a gigantic hour glass. It seems to exercise a peculiar fascination
on all visitors to Naples, and few can withstand the temptation
of braving the not always pacific Bay of Naples, in order to visit
the island which has inspired so many writers.
The special feature of the Capri climate is the
softness and mildness of the atmosphere. Without being actually
relaxing, it is not so stimulating as the Riviera climate. It
is also very equable, and there is no unwholesome chill at sunset,
as in the former place, or even at Naples, only twenty miles off.
Capri is still drawing throngs of visitors. The
island is packed with daytrippers throughout the summer, so be
warned: If you're looking for tranquility, come in the spring
or fall (or in winter, if you don't mind visiting a tourist paradise
when many of the hotels are closed).
Capri's natural and manmade attractions are indisputable. The
island abounds in hills, cliffs, olive groves, vineyards, and
garden terraces overlooking the blue water of the Mediterranean.
Naples and Vesuvius loom in the distance, with white ferries and
hydrofoils zigzagging across the bay. Paths and steps offer countless
opportunities to explore the island on foot, while churches, historic
villas, and a ruin or two offer sightseeing opportunities for
the ambitious tourist.
Capri has two main villages:
Capri town, in the eastern half of the island. A funicular ascends
to the town center from the port of Marina Grande, where the ferries
and hydrofoils arrive. Anacapri, a steep climb uphill from Capri
by bus or taxi. Anacapri is at an elevation of 980 feet (299m)
and is less overtly upscale than its livelier sister city. It's
said to be popular with gays of a literary bent.
Because the island is only about 3 miles (2 km) long by a mile
(1.6 km) wide, it's easy to explore on foot and with the inexpensive
minibuses that connect the various residential areas and sights.
Don't bother bringing a car unless you're loaded with luggage
or have a fear of pierside parking lots on the mainland - especially
in high season, when the ferries are likely to be mobbed.