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Capri’s most scenic spots

Punita Malhotra

Contributor

The first glance of the yachts docked in the harbour pronounce ‘idyllic island’. The blue waters contrasting against a pristine white-painted town climbing up a stony cliff gives a taste of Mediterranean life right away. Once an ancient Roman hideaway, Capri eventually grew into a 19th-century art capital, competing with the likes of Paris. Even today, it brings to mind the imagery of jet-setter parties and celebrity hideaways. Among its various, much-loved icons are lemon trees, bougainvillaea draped walls, warm sun, vintage cabriolets and statue-studded gardens. Paradise truly comes to earth with Capricciosa Pizza and Limoncello.

Piazzetta Umberto

Sun-soaking and people-watching are the two favourite experiences in this delightful square. Hours fly by luxuriating with a glass of wine or a delectable snack under the shade of umbrellas. An ideal choice would be a crisp plate of Capricciosa Pizza washed down with the refreshing local drink, Limoncello. Dessert lovers can satisfy cravings at the historic Cafe Morgano and join the queue for the famous Buonocore gelato. This hub of town under the clear blue skies leads into many hidden corners, and shady alleys, where endless distractions await the aimless wanderer. White-fronted boutiques and haven-like villas dot the area, showing off their flower-draped walls and statue-studded gardens.

Gardens of Augustus

Capri’s famed Gardens of Augustus are named after Caesar Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire, who picked Capri as a hideaway for his hedonistic pursuits. The site is worth visiting for its exotic gardens, overflowing with flower terraces and fountains. The Majolica-tiled walls add an exotic touch that stays with you till much later. But the other, overriding reason to visit the Gardens of Augustus is the unparalleled views of the iconic Faraglioni Rocks. This trio of rock formations jutting out from the clear turquoise waters of the vast sea is a photographer’s dream come true. Feel the purity of joy.

Via Krupp

Near the entrance of the Gardens of Augustus, behind a gate that many visitors would overlook otherwise, is a secret path down to the rocky shore. From that height, the trail of Via Krupp seems dizzying, winding down in zigzag fashion all along a sheer cliffside. The walk, though, is far from scary. Wind in your hair, as you leave your footsteps on the colourful mosaic-adorned Via Krupp, you can touch the soul of Capri. Eternity seems like a very familiar experience. 

Villa Jovis

You wouldn’t even notice how that you hiked for almost an hour gawping enviably at expensive villas. Each of these pieces of real estate seems like a slice of paradise with their lush lawns, fine grillwork, murmuring fountains and marble sculptures. It is an apt preamble for the destination…the first Roman imperial palace and largest of the twelve imperial villas on the island, belonging to Roman Emperor Tiberius. Built during the 1st century AD, the 7,000 square feet of ruins are strewn with marble work, terraces, gardens and baths. The lighthouse at the top was used by Tiberius to communicate with the coast and with Rome. A sheer 977-feet cliff drop marks the spot from where ‘miscreants’ were thrown down to the rocks with the ‘sentence of death’. The views of blue infinity are to die for.

Blue Grotto

Capri harbour offers ferry tours to the famous Blue Grotto. In a short 10 minutes, you can be transported into a small wooden boat to a meter-high cave mouth and whisked into a 190-feet long and 82-feet wide water cave. In the pitch darkness, you experience the magic of floating on sparkling blue waters as if lit up by neon lights from below. The gondoliers singing praises for Santa Lucia adds to the mystique of the sparkling illumination. Emperor Tiberius would have spent many mornings soaking in this personal swimming pool. Secret passageways once led from here to the palace in the city. Now that is luxury. 

Villa San Michel

An hour fades away like a moment during the uphill hairpin drive to Anacapri. The relatively peaceful side of the island is on the tourist radar for Villa San Michel, home of 19th-century Swedish author and physician Axel Munthe. But this villa is a villa like no other. Positioned on the edge of a hilltop, this secluded personal haven resembles a Greek temple, with expansive landscaped gardens, a pretty pergola, and several artworks and statues dotting the complex. The instagrammable views of the carved Medusa head looking over the Sorrentine Peninsula and Mount Vesuvius are surreal. Hikers can make time to conquer the 921 Phoenician Steps. This used to be the only way to transport freshwater and goods up to Anacapri. Ancient history is embedded in these stony steps.

Faro

You won’t know what the hype of Faro Beach is all about till you’ve spent an evening there. At first glance, it is just a quiet beach with a rocky coast and a red-and-white lighthouse but dig deeper. Punta Carena Lighthouse is the second-largest lighthouse in all of Italy and has been standing guard at Faro since 1867. The seclusion of the area has an unreal charm which seeps into your heart slowly. Nothingness has a new meaning, as you sip a drink in the shack bar and watch waves lap the cove. Crimson melting sun, molten liquid gold and ceaseless frothy waves make you realise why this tiny island attracted Flashback 2,000 years, to the time when the spectacular scenery of this tiny island attracted Greek and Roman aristocrats 2,000 years ago.

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