Capri is famous for its villas built by artists, millionaires, and poets who became willing prisoners of Capri during the Gilded Age. Elihu Vedder, Charles Coleman, Lord Algernon, and the Misses Wolcott-Perry were some of the people who constructed lavish Aesthetic Movement houses. Built by the American colonel J. C. MacKowen, this particular villa, near the center of Anacapri, was erected between 1876 and 1899. With walls hued in distinctive Pompeian red, the villa incorporates a noted 15th-century Aragonese tower. A historian and archaeologist, MacKowen wrote a guide to Capri and brought to light marble fragments and statues inside the Blue Grotto, thus revealing and validating its importance as a nymphaeum in Roman times. Local legend says that Anacapri's menfolk locked their women in Casa Rossa when they went to work in Naples, but the villa now houses a permanent exhibition called "The Painted Island," featuring 32 canvases from masters such as Brancaccio and Carelli, depicting images of Capri in the 19th and 20th centuries. A collection of oils by 20th-century Milan landscape artist Carlo Perindani was added in 2015.
Don't miss the views from the highest roof terrace in central Anacapri, taking in Monte Solaro and Ischia.