"Tiny, expensive, exclusive............." Top 5 Page for this destination Capri by leics
Capri Travel Guide: 304 reviews and 936 photos
.......and, I think, very much aware of its exclusivity.
I hadn't intended to visit Capri on this trip. But after an hour or so in Pompeii waiting for a non-existent bus up the volcano, only to discover via a helpful traffic warden (I think) that it was 'shut' I was a bit stuck for something to fill that day. So I went back to Sorrento and got the (rather expensive, imo) hydrofoil across to Capri.
To me, as to many Brits of a cetain age, the isle of Capri is ineradicably associated with Gracie Fields, a popular UK wartime singer (not that I was alive in the war!). It's where she lived, and throughout my childhood people would remark upon that fact: I think the idea of a Rochdale lass living in such an exotic location appealed and appalled.
Anyway, I decided to have a look, although I do not enjoy the whiff of money and exclusivity anywhere. Capri has been a resort for the rich for millennia: there are several Roman villas on the island. I decided the trip was worth making to see the only one open to the public. Villa Jovis was the 'retirement home' of Emperor Tiberius, a place where he enjoyed his ladies and his boys, and where enemies could easily be disposed of by 'accidentally' (or not) falling off the near-vertical cliffs.
The crossing (25 minutes or so) was calm enough, although we weren't allowed outside the boat (I prefer to be outside and cold on ferries). The port of Capri is at the base of very steep cliffs: if you don't want a long walk you'll need to get either the funicular (shut when I went) or a bus. I was sardined into the latter for the twisty climb up to Capri town, which is largely pedestrianised.
And, I have to say, I thought it somewhat twee and self-conscious. It reminded me a little of Portmeirion, and I'm certain Clough Williams-Ellis (who built Portmeirion) must have visited Capri on more than one occasion. The narrow alleyways, arches and ceramic street signs are very pretty indeed...........but I felt that this much/most has been deliberately created rather than naturally evolved. There must be, I feel, a 'hidden' real life on the island, for people live, work and farm there, but one would need more time than I had to find it.
But walking the lanes was interesting, as was peering into the gardens of private villas (that must be annoying for the owners!). I liked the way tiny trolley-thingies were used to take people/goods/luggage etc to and from, and I enjoyed finding a tiny but bog-standard 'supermercato' along the way. And, as I left Capri town further behind, I could see that there were many potentially lovely walks: I suspect Spring would be the best time to explore the wild flowers here, but there are stunning views all year round.
Once out of Capri town the way to Villa Jovis is not particularly well-signed (and it was mostly uphill too, which my guidebook had not told me!) but I found it eventually. It was worth the 45 minute walk (only 20 minutes or so coming back), although it's not in particularly good condition. Details and photos in the travelogue for this page.
So....what did I really think of Capri? It's difficult to be fair, because I was only there for an afternoon. But, although it's very pretty (not beautiful, pretty) and I think I'd enjoy exploring the lanes more, it didn't really appeal to me. I felt a little uncomfortable: a very obviously not-wealthy day-tripping outsider intruding into an exclusive club.
Having said that, it was the only place (this trip) where I heard a quiet whistle and exclamation of 'Bella!' as I passed by. Probably from some ancient roue, but a bit of a lift nevertheless!
- Pros:Very pretty with some excellent Roman remains
- Cons:Far too many people around....and expensive.
- In a nutshell:Tiny, expensive, exclusive....and busy.
A serious point here. I walked to the Arco Naturale, then took a downward path to visit the Grotto Matermania and... more travel advice
Capri is good for walking. I can't think of any other reason for staying there overnight, to be honest. Once you are... more travel advice
Written Feb 23, 2008
Written Feb 22, 2009
A walk to the Arco Naturale..and onward......
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