We continue our journey to the discovery of the island of Capri.
Remember? You left the city of Capri behind, its Piazzetta, the Faraglioni and its paths. Now let’s go to the higher part of the island, the most ancient and quite part. I am talking about Anacapri, that is Capri from above (the Greek prefix “ana” means exactly “over”. In the past it has been occupied by Greeks and Roman. It become in the course of the time the predelight shelter of artists and writers looking for inspiration.
In ancient times the city of Anacapri was connected to Capri and Marina Grande by the Phoenician steps, stands with more than 200 stairs adjacent to the gateway and to the country. Nowaday you can admire its rests. The gate is situated in the area of Capodimonte, near Villa San Michele.
In Anacapri the population lived mainly of agriculture and pastoralism and now it’s quitely similar. Even if, as you can imagine, the field of tourism is the main activity. In the Common of over, therefore affectionately called by the citizens, the seasons are still marked by celebrations tied to the earth and to the passing of the seasons.
There is a time for the olive trees, one to prepare the preserves and another one – in september – for the grape harvest. In this month they celebrate the Settembrata, the festivity of the grape. For an entire week the country returns back in the time with its ancient uses and customs: parades, gastronomic festivals, ancient games.
Well, let’s get to the point. You can catch up Anacapri moving from Pompeii by the Circumvesuviana train and then stop in Napoli Centrale. From Garibaldi square you can get to the port with one of the many buses or taxi out of the Station. In car instead it’s enough to catch the A3. To the Beverello pier and take one of the first hydrofoils directed to Capri. You will disembark on the port of Marina Grande. There are various ways in order to go up to Anacapri: a direct bus or the funicular in direction Capri and then a new bus to Anacapri.
Once there stop at Piazza Vittoria: here you will find yourself of forehead to a crossroad, you can choose if to visit the city centre along via Giuseppe Orlandi or Villa San Michele.
Then, what to see in Anacapri?
Villa San Michele
This Villa was the dwelling of the Swedish doctor Axel Munthe. He arrived to Capri in 1885 and decided to build his house on the rests of an ancient chapel dedicated to S. Michele.
My house must be opened to the sunlight, to the wind and the voices of the sea – like a Greek temple – and light, light, light everywhere!
With these words drawn from its autobiographic book: History of Saint Michele, Munthe perfectly emphasizes the feeling that sensations in admiring the landscape from the immense windows of the building: the entire Gulf of Naples.
The Villa today is a house museum rich of historical findings. It0s managed by the consulate of Sweden and this year it has gained the title it of most beautiful Garden in Italy. Little curiosity: caress the sfinge on the belvedere in the garden and express a desire, the legend says that it comes true. The sfinge of Villa S. Michele has entered in the collective imaginary thanks to a famous shot of the photographer Luigi Ghirri.
Historical centre: via Giuseppe Orlandi
The historical center of Anacapri is a pedestrian area, therefore you can cover it calmly on foot. You will find numerous typical stores of the tradition: there is who with patience and sweat of his own brow still produces the capresi sandals or who with clay and colors gives shape to handmade objects in ceramics.
By the way, Anacapri, but in general terms the island, is upholstered of maiolicate tiles, used for the civic numbers and they also compose informative maps. Have fun in reading the ancient capresi proverbs printed on the tiles.
Along the way stop to visit the Red House, a building with the walls entirely painted of rosso pompeiano. Built at the end of 1800 by the colonel John Clay MacKowen, of New Orleans. Soon it was furnished with findings coming from numerous localities of the island.
Come in and spend few minutes to observe the four roman statues found at the bottom of the Blue Cove. Still one thing, get on the turret and you will see cultivated fields, sea and many narrow lanes.
Continuing along the road take a look at the Church of Saint Michele, in baroque style, in was built in 1719 and 1698. Its main spot is the maiolicate floor representing when Adam was thrown out from Paradise. This work was realized by the master “riggiolaro” Leonardo Chiaiese.
After the Church of Saint Michele you can go to the Boffe, the ancient city centre. Here you’ll meet the many characteristic streets smelling of flowers. In this corner you can breathe the authentic spirit of Anacapri with the houses in caprese style.
The Grotta Azzurra
You can reach the Grotta Azzurra: on foot proceeding from the zone of the Boffe along the inner ways, but you risk to get lost. Better by the buses that park in Piazza Pace, or via sea leaving from the port of Marina Grande. The boats dedicated to the tour of the island will finally lead you to the entrance of the Grotta. Once in proximity of the cave you will have to lie down in the boat to enter.
The entrance is very tight but the blue water to its inside will make to forget every fear. During the Roman age The Grotta Azzurra was a nympheum. Legend has it that it was secretly connected to one of the ancient residences of Tiberius nearby.
Little far from the Grotta Azzurra there is Gradola, a small lido where you will be able to take a bath in the most limpid waters. The sea is deep enough, if you aren’t an expert swimmer then just enjoy the sun and relax.
Path of the blockhouses
The walk of the blockhouses can be taken from the lighthouse or form the Grotta Azzurra. I will indicate you the road to follow starting from this last locality. Arrive to Piazzetta di Orrico, come down from the stairs and visit the blockhouse. Then continue towards left in order catch up the constructions of Mesola and Pino.
This path is dipped in the Mediterranean forest, it will seem of being a equilibrist on the line of the horizon between sky and sea. Il tempo di percorrenza varia dalla 3-4 ore, munisciti di scarpe comode e bottiglie d’acqua.
Lighthouse of Punta Carena
You will arrive to the beacon, in this area take a bath in the waters of the small bay embraced by the rocks. For many inhabitants of the place this is a sacred place, in which the day begins to the first hours of the morning and ends to the sunset with an aperitif. This locality of sea owes its name to the Beacon that stands majestic on the western coast of the island.
Did you know that this gigantic guardian of the sea is the second in Italy for luminous capacity? And the supremacies do not end here. It’s one of the little beacons in our Country that still has a guardian and doesn’t work thanks to automatism.
If you want to enjoy a great landscape you have to go to Monte Solaro. Monte Solaro, towering 589 meters above sea level, is the highest point of the blue island. With a single glance you will embrace the Faraglioni, the inhabited centre of Capri, Sorrento, the Gulf of Naples and Salerno. You can get there on foot or by chairlift. The chairlift for Monte Solaro is near Piazza Victoria, to arrive to destination it employs approximately 14 minutes. You can be serene, does not cover great heights, therefore it can be a solution also for who suffers from vertigos.
In order to catch up Monte Solaro on foot you must enter the road to the shoulders of Piazza Pace near the cemetery, then to proceed in climb. You will employ approximately an hour. Arrived to Monte Solaro enjoy the panorama on the sea and pick the occasion in order to visit the Eremo di Cetrella.
What to see in Anacapri?
Our travel from Pompeii to Capri is concluded with the excursion to Anacapri. But don’t worry. Campania and its localities of sea have still much to tell. You want to know some information in advance before leaving? Download our Tourist Kit.