Discovering Capri on Foot: From the Mountains to the Sea

Capri

View of Capri's famous Faraglioni rocks.

Capri, an earthly paradise, an extraordinary beauty of towering and jagged cliffs, lush vegetation, secret caves, crystal clear water of all shades from green to blue. A very demanding beauty to be conquered by climbing or descending vertical coastlines and swimming in deep water.  In other words, a tiring vacation.

Among my memories from a short vacation in Capri, come some of its strenuous paths, all worth taking! To reach the Faraglioni from the center of the city, you take a dreamy route to Punta Tragara. Here you will go down 450 steps interrupted by easily walkable trails that reach deep waters where you can swim and see rocks rising from its depths. In order to admire the Faraglioni from high up, however, you must climb to Punta Cannone, a mix of small steps and uphill sections from which Piazza Umberto I can be accessed.

The most difficult and also dangerous but doable staircase is the vertical one which leads to the caves of Mater mania, cut into the side of a rock with a drop of 100 meters, intimidating to observe the bottom from the top. One step after another, taken carefully and with concentration, you  reach the bottom and the caves.

The beauty of Capri, besides the view, involves all your senses: the perfume of flowers, grass, and food arouse the sense of smell while hearing sounds and voices everywhere. What dishes for the palate! After a lot of climbing, up and down, a nice dinner is a must. And so I remember with particular pleasure, the restaurant Michel’angelo, located in a downtown alley. The kind owner, Luca D’Esposito, smiling and friendly with his guests, recommends dishes from the land or from the sea, all freshly prepared, that arrive one after another tantalizing sight, smell and taste. For those who want to eat outside at the most scenic places on the island, Michel’Angelo prepares meals-to-go.

In order to know all about the ancient and modern history of the island, the bookstore “La Conchiglia” (The Shell), right in the town center, easy to get to from Piazza Umberto I with no hills to climb up or go down, offers a huge selection of books on Capri. One can learn everything: environment and traditions, art and archeology, flora and fauna, myths and legends, stories of people and celebrities who lived there, ancient and modern paintings and photographs. Something to note is the pleasant sound of classical music playing in the background in the bookstore. Having requested a basic book, as a starting point to better understand the multiform and multi-sided culture of this place, I was offered “Capri, biografia di un’isola” (“Capri, a biography of an island”) by Humbert Kesel, defined as a 'neapolitanized' German writer. His book addresses the history of the island from its origins to contemporary times.  It is a smooth flowing book which is in-depth, authoritative and simple, qualities which are rarely combined together. For this reason, the reading is attractive and at times, even fun.  It helps one understand what  is being seen and it gives the right words to express feelings and memories.

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