On July 10, I left my home in Cortona for a solo trip to Capri. With a turkey and cheese sandwich tucked in my backpack and all the essentials for a 5 day getaway, I wait for the train to take me to Naples. From there, I will board the high speed hydrofoil to Capri. But first I must stop for a Neapolitan pizza.
This girl's got priorities.
Pizzeria Trianon, Via Pietro Colletta 44/46, Napoli
A 20 minute walk from the Napoli Train station brings you to this little gem of a pizzeria. If you don't get accosted or robbed on the way (I recommend a taxi ) you will be rewarded with Pizzeria Trianon. It dates back to 1923 and spans three floors. You need to get there early, or as I did, at 2:30 for a seat. Within minutes of seating, I was served a classic Margherita with a small bottle of their white wine. You need a fork and knife to eat this pizza, as with all Neapolitan pies, they have the unique Neapolitan 'wet pie' phenomena. This is due to the sweet tomatoes and oil mixed with the fresh mozzarella cheese to give it a creamy texture. I'm used to getting my pizza well done and crispy so this took a little getting used to. I thought I would eat just half and save room for dinner, but it was so addicting, I finished it off.
I had plenty of time to walk down to the port to catch my ferry. On second thought, I think I'll call for a taxi.
Benvenuto a Capri
View from my room at Hotel Gatto Bianco
I checked into Hotel Gatto Bianco on Via Vittorio Emanuele, 32, Capri. What a gem. The hotel is located in the heart of Capri and dates back to the mid 1800's. Thank god they've renovated since then. It was frequented by Sophia Loren and Jackie Onassis in their day. I booked it mainly because I loved the name, White Cat Hotel. They have a wonderful breakfast buffet and ice cold ac for Americans. My only complaint is the shower is extremely tight, even for me. But this gives me incentive not to eat too much.
The most recent Gatto Bianco
An Aperol Spritz any time of day
3 parts prosecco, 2 parts aperol, 1 splash of soda an and an orange slice...aaahh...la dolce vita
Some of my favorite restaurants :
Le Grottelle, Via Arco Naturale, Capri:
This restaurant was a 25 minute hike from the center of Capri, so I definitely worked up an appetite by the time I got here. The pasta with seafood was delicious and perfect with a few glasses of Pinot Grigio. I loved seeing mama in the kitchen and pop out front. The mosquitoes also love this restaurant.
Da Giorgio, Via Roma, Capri:
The sunset views from the panoramic windows at this restaurant are spectacular. The portion of octopus in my seafood pasta was almost as stunning. If only they would turn off the Doors music, it would have been perfect.
Da Paolino Lemontrees, Via Palazzo a Mare,11, Capri:
My girlfriend recommended this restaurant as she had been there on her honeymoon. There's huge lemons hanging over the tables in this outdoor patio restaurant. The child at the next table picked off 2 softball- sized lemons that looked like science experiments. It was charming, though a bit stifling hot with no breeze. I love lemons and enjoyed a limoncello aperitif with prosecco, a tomato and arugula salad with lemon dressing and risotto with lemon, shrimp and lite cream. The restaurant also gives a complimentary homemade limoncello for dessert.
The Sights of Capri:
Taking the chairlift from Anacapri to Monte Solaro
I don't have a bucket list. But if I did, this would be on it. For 12 minutes, I was in bliss, with the wind in my hair, the birds singing around me and breathtaking views of Anacapri below. All this while being whisked 1,500 feet up Monte Solaro and closer to heaven. The best 11 euro I have ever spent.
A pretty tourist enjoying her ride
View from the top of Monte Solaro
This peak is the highest point in Capri. At the top is the Fortino di Bruto, a blockhouse which was used in battles between Britain and France in the early 19th century...
Emperor Tiberius designed this, his main villa, as a palace, fortress and barracks at the top of a cliff 334 meters above sea level. From 27 AD to 37 AD Tiberius ruled the Roman empire from here. I'm sure his parties were epic, though his guests had to first trek up Monte Tiberio to get there.
On the road to Villa Jovis, a 45 minute walk from Capri.
The main residence
Private Beach Clubs:
Lido del Faro, Localita Punta Carena, Anacapri
The bus from Anacapri is the best way to get down to Faro Beach. Though the day I went, I was on a crowded bus with 25 teenagers. I started to think it may not be such a good idea after all.
Until I arrived at Lido del Faro, which is a Beach Club with lounge chairs, towels and umbrellas. You have private access into the sea and can swim, eat and jump off a cliff, not necessarily in that order.
a leap of faith and loss of a bikini top
Fontelina Beach and Restaurant, Via Faraglioni,Capri
I took the long way to get to the Fontelina Beach Club from the center of Capri. This hike took me an hour. Fontelina Beach Club is voted one of the Best Beach Clubs in the world for 2016 by Conde Nast Traveler. It's very difficult to get a reservation, though if you arrive early enough you may get in.
As luck would have it, I got the last beach chair available.
Fontelina is a smaller beach club than Lido del Faro. They only have deck chairs or mattresses available to rent, not chaise lounges. If you want to be amongst rich Americans staying at the Hotel Quisisana or on a rented yacht, this is your place. You can drop anchor by the Faraglioni rocks and have your tender bring you to Fontelina's small dock to swim or have lunch.
I prefer the vibe at Lido del Faro better, as it caters more to locals, has a larger swimming area and chaise lounges to nap on.
On the way to Fontelina Beach Club
Faraglioni- an oceanic rock formation:
Blue Grotto, Sea Cave in Anacapri
A must see on my trip to Capri is a visit to the Grotta Azzurra, Blue Grotto. It was even better having a boat captain that looked like Bruce Springsteen. I was told to go early before the cruise ship passengers infiltrate the island. I bought a ticket at the marina and by 9 am Captain Bruce and I were on our way, along with 25 Asian tourists. It was surreal to be visiting this landmark in Italy with a commentary in Chinese.
Once we arrived, we switched over to a small dinghy that would take us into the grotto. Our new captain serenaded us, myself and a couple on their honeymoon, with 'O Solo Mio' for 4 minutes while being captivated by the beauty and colors inside.
Once back on the ship with Capt. Bruce, he told me the day before it was so crowded that the passengers on his boat had to wait 2 hours before they could enter. The thought of being on a boat with the Boss bobbing around in the sea wasn't so terrible. " Tramps like us, baby we were born to run...."
Motor scooters and Sandal Shopping
I have a motorcycle license and own a motor scooter in Cortona so felt this was the best way to see the island. The steep roads and hairpin turns are not for the feint of heart. I headed up to Anacapri for a little shopping. Along the way, I stopped at the Hotel San Michele to soak in the view and take some photos. A priest was sitting on the patio having breakfast and offered to take the picture. I sat with him and chatted for awhile. His name was Father Antonio and he was from Puglia and visiting friends in Capri. He excitedly showed me photos on his cellphone of him with the Pope, before wishing me a 'Buon Viaggio'
L' Arte del Sandalo Caprese, Via G. Orlandi, 75, Anacapri:
I wanted to stop in one of the many shoe stores in Capri and have a pair of sandals custom made but frankly I was worried they may not have my size, a 42, or womens 11. I thought they may point me over to the mens section to find a 'big' size. I'm happy to report that wasn't the case at this store in Anacapri. Antonio was busy working on sandals out front and by the amount of people waiting inside , I knew this was a find.
I decided on a red coral sandal with just a little bling, or rhinestones. I loved them so much, I went back the next day and bought a pair for my girlfriend.
Best Gelato in Capri- Buonocore Gelateria, Via Vittorio Emmanuele, 35, Capri:
This gelato place rocks and the line is always long. It's conveniently located across the street from my hotel. Another reason to love the Hotel Gatto Bianco.
Arrivederci Capri. You will be in my heart always. Until my next visit.