Over the last few months I’ve tried to feature southern Italian travel destinations outside of my beloved Calabria-and few places in the bel paese are more beloved than Capri. If you are considering a visit to this chic and stylish island, here are a few ideas to add to your itinerary by avid Italy traveler, Katie Greenaway.
Villa San Michele and the Axel Munthe Museum
Villa San Michele was the home of Dr. Axel Munthe, a Swedish physician who dreamed of living in Anacapri in southern Italy. Famed more as an author than a physician, his most famous book was the 1929, The Story of St. Michele, a book he spent much of his life writing that details his life and his home, Villa San Michele. The 45+ translations of The Story of St. Michele and the unending flow of visitors to the villa is a testament to Munthe’s fame.
This enchanting castle overlooks a cliff on the northeast part of Anacapri and is named for one of Capri’s most fearsome invaders-the Algerian prince Kair-ed-Din, or “Barbarossa,” who attacked the castle in 1535. The castle was the largest construction of the Byzantine times and was built with material obtained from Roman ruins. The central part of the castle still remains today. A small ornithological research and observation center has been set up in some rooms of the castle, which is run by the Swedish “Axel Munthe” Foundation.
La Grotta Azzurra
The discovery of this romantic hideaway among the rocks around Capri is credited to two German tourists who visited the island in 1826-Augustus Kopisch, a writer and Ernst Fries, a painter. The Grotta was already locally known as “Grotta Gradola,” a place the people of Capri considered bewitched because of the frolicking monsters and witches that were thought to lurk in the waters.
The area sank 15-20 meters (50-65 feet) below present sea level and blocked every opening through which light might directly enter the cave. On one side the sunlight penetrating from below through the sea water springs out and is reflected onto the sides and the vault of the azzurro-colored grotto. On the other side, this light from the white sandy bottom of the grotto reflects off of the water so that any object that is dipped in it drips and vibrates with a silvery light.
How to Arrive:
* 10 minute motorboat ride from Marina Grande
* 15 minute bus ride to terminal in Viale Tommaso de Tommaso (in Anacapri)
* 50 minute walk along Viale Tommaso de Tommaso, Via Pagliaro and Via Grotta Azzurra
Have you ever been to Capri? What would you recommend travelers add to their lists of “must-sees?”
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