"Tiny, expensive, exclusive............." Top 5 Page for this destination Capri by leics

Capri Travel Guide: 309 reviews and 951 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 and Cons
  • Pros:Very pretty with some excellent Roman remains
  • Cons:Far too many people around....and expensive.
  • In a nutshell:Tiny, expensive, exclusive....and busy.
  • Last visit to Capri: Feb 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 26, 2011
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Reviews (12)

Comments (13)

  • sailshs's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    So cool to see - take lots of pics!

  • royalempress's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Enjoyed the Capri pages

  • Florida999's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    Nice capri page! I am surprised they still have real farmers on that island!!

  • Sambawalk's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2009 at 6:13 AM

    Good tips. I hope it is a good day trip to Capri!

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2009 at 9:07 AM

    I've just read an interesting book called Greene On Capri by Shirley Hazzard so was intrigued by your page. Graham used to sit in one of the cafes in the square when he was in residence.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2009 at 2:22 PM

    Interesting tips, even though, at the risk of being labelled a pedant, I notice you've given Tiberius a sex change! Cheers, ian

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    Beautiful page - can't wait to go back! We were blown away - literally - and ran back to the shelter of the ferry. Which season does matter here - winter was impossible. Grazie <(•¿•)>

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    Hi J! Capri does look expensive to visit and exclusive - but hope I'll see it someday, Norman :)

  • Maurizioago's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Nice page. I have to visit that town one day. Ciao!

  • leecouk12324's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2008 at 12:47 PM

    Maybe Portmeirion is much nicer - you should see my pics - I love the beach at Portmeirion


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