Travel /
Campania

CAPRI WITH A LOCAL

“When arriving in Capri it is mandatory to take a seat in what has been defined “il salotto del mondo” (the world’s living room), the Piazzetta, the beating heart of the Island.”

 

What’s so special about Capri? While the stacks (Faraglioni) in the distance are the Island’s icons, it’s entire landscape makes for an incredibly unique setting.

 

My very first memories of my beloved Capri are happy family moments on the “aliscafo” (hydrofoil), jumping off a yellow painted wooden gozzo and splashing into fresh Mediterranean sea without floaties for the first time, the happiness of eating fresh gelato al cioccolato, and my very first pair of handmade Sandali Capresi. Of course an important piece of my heart and my most precious memories belong to Capri’s cuisine; ever since I can remember and until today, my recollections and stays are filled with the most wonderful delights, chocolate and almond torta caprese, ravioli capresi, uova alla monachina, pasta gamberi e zucchini, bacetti al cioccolato, danubbio and so many more tasty dishes…

 

Over the years I have learned so much more about this sacred piece of earth and have developed my own rituals: When arriving in Capri it is mandatory to take a seat in what has been defined “il salotto del mondo” (the world’s living room), the Piazzetta, the beating heart of the Island. Possibly preferring the Bar Tiberio or Gran Caffè where you can meet VIP’s from all over the world, it is not by chance that the Piazzetta was given its nickname. Now that you have taken your seat, look around and change gears; in Capri you never run, walk slowly and leave everything behind, relax and have a refreshing gin and tonic. After observing the people and new summer fashion head towards the best gelato on the island at Gelateria Buono Core and, as I do, get ready to daydream about all their flavors for the rest of your life, especially fantasia di Capri and Bignolata. (map)

Photo by Stephanie Draime & Eduardo Cerruti

 

BOUTIQUES

How can you not shop in Capri…

 

Sud Capri, is possibly the best shop on the island. With its unique pieces the boutique offers a buying experience with sewn garments. There are two shops, both of the lovely owner Daniele, I recommend the one in Via delle Botteghe which is very close to the Piazzetta and a wide selection.

 

Da Costanzo Capri, a pillar in terms of fashion, their sandals are truly unique starting from the most classical model to the most precious ones with stones and Swarovski crystals.

 

Bottega Capri, a”sandali capresi” institution since 1917. Bottega is the first shop that produced these traditional sandals and the one that dressed the feet of many from Jackie Onassis to Sophia Loren.

 

Delfina, lovely and romantic style you can find unique bathing suits, straw bags and colourful beach robes.

 

Laboratorio Capri, one of Capri’s most iconic shops; very chic and has amazing fabrics, everything is handmade in Capri, give a look to their wonderful blouses.

 

Blu, here you can find high-end unexpected international pieces.

 

La Parisienne, located on the Piazzetta it offers elegant dresses of all sorts, I would advise you to look for a night time dress for a special occasion.

 

Cathaleia Capri, young and fashionable shop in Capri’s center. This boutique offers a selection of well researched jewels, hats, costumes and dresses.

 

Chantecler Capri, is probably the most Capri inspired jewels you will ever find anywhere. Their “Campanelle” (little bells) are a must!

 

100% Capri, luxury linen shop, since men’s white shirts are an evergreen garment to have in your wardrobe.

 

Capri People, Pop into the shop for original sunglasses designed in Capri.

 

Capri Object by Daniela di Stefano, here you can find one of a kind pieces to decorate your house, my favorite ones are flowers shaped candles and terracotta sea urchins

 

Courtesy of Laboratorio Capri

 

BEAUTY & WELLNESS

If I’m in need of a little pampering here are the beauty and wellness spots to check-out:

 

Il Gatto Bianco Hotel and Spa, recommended for manicure, pedicure and waxing.

 

Rada Nails Capri, brand new tropical style great for manicure and pedicure.

 

Capri Palace Hotel and Spa, Capri’s most well-known beauty center.

 

Pronto Charme, old fashion and very typical hairdresser close to Capri’s Piazzetta, perfect for a blow-dry.

 

Profumeria Della Monica, best perfumery and make-up shop in town. This shop offers also a beautiful selection of bijoux.

 

BEACH CLUBS

During the daytime I love to take a dive and lunching by the sea at the following beach clubs:

 

Le Ondine Beach Club, with its white and light blue stripes this brand new beach club offers a lovely setting for couples. The cuisine is light and thanks to its location (close to the harbor) it can be very handy if coming only for a day trip.

 

Lo Smeraldo, half kilometer away from le Ondine there is Lo Smeraldo. Here the waters are crystal clear and the restaurant offers traditional local dishes. I recommend their pasta alle vongole and frittura di calamari.

 

Bagni di Tiberio, with its crystalline bay this ancient “bagno” is reachable in 5 minutes by boat (transfer departs every 15 minutes from the harbor). Strongly recommended also for its restaurant, try a uovo alla monachina (stuffed and fried egg, delicious!)

 

Il Riccio, overlooking the famous Grotto Azzurra (Blue Grotto) is probably the most photographed beach club in the Mediterranean Sea, thanks to its “stanza delle tentazioni” (temptation room) which offers all kinds of desserts for which this place has become famous. This can be easily considered the most fashionable and exclusive beach club in Capri.

 

La Fontelina, a few strokes away from the Faraglioni is this rocky beach with its striped umbrellas. I strongly recommend, if you are an adventurer, take a long walk to reach it. Alternatively there is a boat service from Marina Piccola, not as adventurous but just as satisfying as this beach club is sure to make you fall in love with the island.

 

Torre Saracena, located in Marina Piccola this beach has an exquisite kitchen and is a bit more discreet. Their pasta gamberi e zucchine and fried montanare are superb

 

Photo by Stephen Ringer

 

RESTAURANTS

We have finally arrived to one of my favorite parts, we are talking about restaurants:

 

Mammà, this restaurant offers a tasteful trip amongst classical dishes reimagined by its two Michelin star chefs… try Ziti Pasta with Neapolitan Ragù.

 

Le Grottelle, located close to Arco Naturale this restaurant is 15 minutes walk from the Piazza and immersed in the Island’s nature. Their Pizzas and pastas justify the stroll for reaching it.

 

La Capannina, pillar of Capri this restaurant offers a very tranquil atmosphere in the center of Capri. Their ravioli and torta caprese are a true representation of the Neapolitan cuisine.

 

Da Paolino, one of the most iconic restaurants of the whole island Paolino is absorbed in lemon trees which create a unique atmosphere. Oven cooked fish is very good but check the prices before ordering!

 

Ristorante Il Riccio in Anacapri make sure to visit the desert room and order their fresh prawns!

 

Aurora, considered the VIP’s restaurant, offers a vast choice of delicious dishes. I remember playing in the kitchen with the pizza dough. Until today one of their famous dishes, which MUST be ordered, is Pizza all’acqua.

 

To party there is one place and one place only..ANEMA E CORE 

 

 

EXPERIENCE

If you’d prefer hiking or museums rather than the seaside here are the places you must visit:

 

Villa Lysis, (40 minutes walk from the Piazza) this ancient house dedicated to the youth of love, albeit taboo love, now hosts a museum with temporary exhibitions. The Belvedere terrace is one of Capri’s most beautiful ones and the history of these walls is truly incredible.

 

Villa Jovis, (45 minute walk from the Piazzetta) these ancient ruins used to be Emperor Tiberius’s home, a truly human masterpiece considering where it was built.

 

Giardini di Augusto and Via Krupp, just a few meters away from the Piazzetta these gardens offer an incredible panorama on Via Krupp, one of Capri’s most famous roads.

 

La Certosa di San Giacomo, Capri’s most ancient monastery and high school. During summertime it hosts events and concerts. Strongly recommend to visit it is very close to the center.

 

Villa San Michele, Axel Munthe Museum, located in Anacapri this Museum offers ancient artifacts and a wonderful view of the Gulf of Naples.

 

Monte Solaro, In between an aperitivo and un raviolo caprese, make sure to include a hike to Monte Solaro, dolce far niente wouldn’t be #dolcefarniente without a bit of work here and there. For the faint of heart take the gondola up and if you are scared of heights this is the best view to fight your fears.

 

Il Sentiero dei Fortini, an incredible walk which stretches from the Grotta azzurra (blue grotto) up to the lighthouse of Punta Carena

 

Via Krupp

Villa San Michele

Photo by Eleonora D'Angelo

 

SLEEP

And finally if you’d ask me where to sleep after all these activities:

 

Villa Douglas private villa if you want the ultimate views and privacy minutes away from the Piazzetta

 

Hotel Punta Tragara

 

La Scalinatella

 

Capri Palace

 

JK

 

Tiberio Palace

 

Hotel Luna

 

Qvisisana

 

Hotel Gatto Bianco

 

Hotel Canasta

 

These are only a few tips I could tell you about as this Island has so much to offer. The Capresi are used to welcoming and greeting people from all over the world, they are always polite to foreigners and ready to make them happy. All of this friendly and relaxed atmosphere makes this tiny island one of the safest and happiest places in the world… see you in Capri!

 

Lots of love,

Ilaria Barendson