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oasisboston Jun 10th, 2008 07:19 AM

Capri: Take a Tour? A nice hotel? Easiest Way to Arrive?
 
Hello everyone,

I had my heart set on going to Florence this summer during my month long excursion in Italy this upcoming July. Most of my time will be spent in Pescara on the beach with my mom, but I wanted to take her to Florence for 2 nights, where I was lucky enough to study 5 years ago.

But then I started to learn about the potential heat and humidity we would encounter if we visited Florence in July, so I've been contemplating another destination to visit outside Pescara for 2 nights.

I've always wanted to see Capri, and I hear it is amazing not only during the day but also at night. I would love to hear anyone's thoughts about Capri. If indeed it is worth 2 nights in late July, and if so, how would one go about arriving on the island, and maybe also some hotel suggestions. I was just on hotels.com and found a hotel called "Relais Maresca" which is on Capri island itself and has a pretty decent rate currently for late July.

I know a popular route is to stay in Positano and do a day trip in Capri, but right now I'm leaning towards staying on Capri for 2 nights and maybe skipping Positano entirely, or doing it only for the day? Not sure.

Anyways, I have lots of questions and curiosities in regards to Capri. All answers are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

PS.

My mom is mentioning doing a paid "tour" of Capri. Is this necessary? Or worth it? Or can we just get to Capri and figure it out from there?

rbnwdln Jun 10th, 2008 09:15 AM

Don't know the hotel, but I agree that the thing to do is stay on Capri. We stay in Positano and ferry to Capri, but I would love to be able to stay over someday. The evening is the best time, when day-trippers like us leave.....

TuckH Jun 10th, 2008 09:21 AM

I have no idea how you'd get there from Pescara, but 2 nights on the Isle of Capri would be ideal!

There's no need for a tour. And I don't think it's necessary to go to Positano - Capri has it all...

julia1 Jun 10th, 2008 09:59 AM

Despite the heavy influx of day-trippers, the three islands in the Bay of Naples, Capri, Ischia and Procida, are lovely, almost achingly so. It is entirely possible to get away from the hordes, who tend to cluster around the ports and the few must-see sights. Walk a short distance into the hills or catch a bus to the other side of the island and you will leave them all behind. And if you can arrange to spend a night on an island, or two, or three, all the better, for you will find the charm and beauty indescribably sweet.

Capri is enchanting. The same is true for all of these islands, but Capri is the most beautiful of these most beautiful sisters. With more than 800 species of plants endemic to the island, it is truly a Garden of Eden. It also may be the most exploited island you'll ever find but, as with the others, put some distance between yourself and the overrun marinas and piazzas and shopping streets and wait until all the camera-clutching tourists disappear on the late afternoon ferries. Then it will be just you and the Capriots and the few others who remain. You must remember to pronounce the name of this lovely place as the inhabitants do: it is CAP-ri, with the emphasis on the first syllable, not Ca-PRI, like the ladies' cropped trousers.

I have published a book about Capri and the Bay of Naples and the above is taken from the text of the book. Here are some photos to whet your appetite, if you’re interested: http://www.gardentouring.fotopic.net/c812668.html

You reach Capri by ferry or aliscalfi from Naples or Sorrento. As you approach, Capri soars dramatically upward from the aquamarine sea. Marina Grande, nestled under the cliffs, is both a ferry port and a fishing village. Capri town itself is settled into a saddle along the ridge on the eastern half of the island, spilling down the slopes toward Marina Grande to the north and Marina Piccola to the south. There is a funivia to whisk you up from Marina Grande, where the ferries land, to Capri town, which you will likely have to queue for in July. The funivia deposits you right next to the Piazza Umberto I, referred to as the Piazzetta by the locals, with its cheerful campanile and clock. Or you can queue for the buses, which are likely to be very crowded, or arrange with one of the open-top saloon-style taxis to take you up, which is likely to be very expensive, but sometimes you can arrange to share with 2 others wanting to go the same direction. The taxi will most likely not be able to take you to your hotel, because the streets in Capri town are very narrow and only for pedestrians. Depending on the hotel, you may be able to arrange to have someone meet you at the ferry landing, in the Piazzetta or at the bus terminus with a small motorized cart. Or you may have to walk, pulling your luggage behind you.

Capri town is a good base for a stay of a few nights. You can walk out from there easily to visit the restored monastery of Certosa, the Gardens of Augustus and, a little further out, the Roman Villa Jovis and Arco Naturale. Most of the day-tourists from the ferries will be clogging the narrow streets and the Piazzetta so it's good to get a little way out of town. You can also take the pleasant walk down to Marina Piccolo, on the opposite side of the island from Marina Grande. There are a few small restaurants there, a good place for a leisurely lunch and a view of the Faraglione. There are buses on regular schedules to take you back up to Capri Town.

There is one other town on Capri, called Anacapri. For thousands of years, the only way to reach Anacapri and the upper part of the island was to climb the Scala Fenicia, originally 800-900 steps, depending on what you read. They zigzag upward from behind the campanile of the white church at Marina Grande, disappear behind the piers supporting the modern road, then continuing upward, hugging the side of the cliff, toward the small white chapel of Villa San Michele at the top. The modern road clings to the side of the cliffs. There is a wide and sturdy balustrade all along the outside, so it's not as terrifying as it looks. But vertiginous? Yes.

Anacapri is very small, a few shops and restaurants and narrow streets which quickly peter out into the surrounding landscape, but there are several places of interest to visit. The small church of San Michele has a beautiful floor of majolica tile depicting the story of Adam and Eve and their banishment from paradise. You can also ride a chairlift to the top of Monte Solaro, where you will have amazing views over the Bay and islands. And there is Axel Munthe's house and garden at Villa San Michele. Axel Munthe was born in Sweden in 1857 but spent much of his adult life working as a physician in southern Italy. As a young man he volunteered tirelessly during typhoid and cholera epidemics and earthquake disasters. High up on the rocky ledges of Anacapri, at the foot of Monte Barbarossa, he built a white villa surrounded by a garden in which art, architecture and nature combine in beautiful harmony. He wrote 'I built it on my knees, like a temple to the Sun, where I would seek knowledge and light from the radiant God whom I had worshipped all my life'. In a tragic twist of fate, he was later forced to leave San Michele by the sunlight he so loved. His bestselling autobiography, The Story of San Michele, was published in 1929 and has never been out of print since.

San Michele is a most beautiful and magical place. There is a pergola supported by 37 white Capri columns which form a long, narrow, slightly curving colonnade framing a panorama of the Bay of Naples. Above the end of the pergola can be seen the Chapel. And above the chapel are the ruins of Castello Barbarossa. Every spring and autumn large numbers of migratory birds stop to rest on the island. They were once shot and netted in disasterous numbers, often 'packed by hundreds into small wooden boxes without food and water' and shipped to the restaurants of Paris. Axel Munthe's anguish over this led him to purchase Barbarossa Mountain in order to create a sanctuary for migrating birds. It is now a center for ornithological research on the flight paths and behavior of migratory birds. On a parapet built out over the chapel terrace crouches a 3200-year-old Egyptian sphinx of red granite silently contemplating the Bay of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and Mount Vesuvius. Little is known about how Munthe managed
to get the enormously heavy sculpture to San Michele, except that his boat was almost sunk and he nearly lost his life in the effort.

As you can see from the length of this post, I’m enthralled with Capri. But even more so with the neighboring island of Procida. If you should ever have the opportunity to spend a few days on Procida, I say jump on it. Here are some photos: http://www.gardentouring.fotopic.net/c814740.html

And if you have a week, how about adding Ischia to the mix. Magic! http://www.gardentouring.fotopic.net/c814381.html

You don’t need to book a tour to see Capri. Just do a little reading or internet research before you go so you know what you want to see. Getting around on your own is very easy.

Please let me know if you have specific questions about getting to or around on Capri. I’d be happy to help in whatever way I can. I’ve been there quite a number of times.

Julie


wanderer1 Jun 10th, 2008 02:01 PM

I don't know your price range, but here are 2 places we stayed in May on Capri.

http://www.laminervacapri.com/en/index.html

http://www.capri.com/en/c/aiano

I agree, overnight, not day trip. We stayed 3 nights and I could have spent a week easily. It is beautiful.

Here are also some pictures of Capri from our trip.

http://gallery.mac.com/macdebbie1/100016

wanderer1 Jun 10th, 2008 02:04 PM

p.s Minerva can arrange your transport from Naples with a private driver, have ferry tickets ready, a person to meet you at the Marina in Capri, a taxi to the Piazetta, and the person who met you at the Marina will walk you to the hotel.

tuscanlifeedit Jun 10th, 2008 02:35 PM

At Capri.net you will find a link to ferry tables for July. You can get to Capri for Salerno, Amalfi and other places, as well as Naples and Sorrento. We were coming from the south, so took the ferry from Salerno.

We had a very inexpensive hotel in Capri, La Tosca, which we enjoyed very much.

We took the funiculare up to Capri town, dragging our luggage, and made our way to and from the hotel. If you go with your mother, maybe you can just take overnight bags?

Also, we went in early May. In July, I might want a pool. La Tosca did not have a pool. Also, we didn't have a view, but I did ask for the cheapest and not the best room. I think some of their rooms have at least a better view than ours, which was of a small garden.

Anyway, there are very comprehensive websites for Capri. I used the Capri.net site a good bit.

You certainly don't need to take a tour.

kja Jun 10th, 2008 02:55 PM

Hi, oasisboston -

Capri is a lovely place to spend 2 nights. Once you reach it by ferry, you will find porters at the dock who will be happy to take any luggage you may have to your hotel. Like tuscanlifeedit, I had a wonderful experience at La Tosca, where I had a wonderful view from my patio. You can explore Capri on your own, though you might consider taking one of the boat tours around the island.

Enjoy!

nytraveler Jun 10th, 2008 03:59 PM

If you want to visit Capri I would defiitely stay for a couple of nights. (You can take a day trip toPositano if you want.)

As for arriving, your only choice is boat/hydorofoil. You can get there direct from Naples (to which you can get fairly easily by train).

indovina Jun 12th, 2008 01:08 PM

i'm also looking at the same hotel but not many reviews about it on fodors. it has good ratings on venere and trip advisor - what do you think?

rohani Jun 18th, 2008 12:16 PM

bookmarking

Jean Jun 18th, 2008 01:38 PM

Do you know it will take about 8 hours from Pescara hotel door to Capri hotel door? Most options involve multiple train changes, and then taxi to port, ferry, funicular to Capri or bus (or taxi) to Anacapri. Is your mom up for that kind of day? BTW, it will be hot all the way until you get on the ferry, so you'll probably want to train in first class at about 55 euros each (standard).

What is the next stop on your itinerary? I hope it's not back to Pescara...

jacabsmith Jun 19th, 2008 05:37 AM

Hi oasisboston, Capri is a woderful place to visit.
The Blue Grotto
This is a spectacular marine grotto of over 50 meters long and 30 meters wide, where the water takes on a beautiful deep blue colour because of the unique reflections and plays of light created by the sunlight that filters through the mouth of the cave.
The Faraglioni
Capri’s three world famous Faraglioni rise up, majestic and solitary, from the sea to the south-east of the island. “Faraglione di mezzo” (middle stack) and “Scopolo” (rock), are 81 and 104 meters high respectively.
The Natural Arch
This natural arch-shaped attraction was once a cave.
Punta Carena
This spot is located at the westernmost tip of the island and is home to a lighthouse, the second most important lighthouse in Italy after that in Genoa.
The Piazzetta
The scene of 1950s and 1960s Dolce Vita and a setting for love affairs, betrayal, scandals and Hollywood scoops.And for the hotels there you can check out http://www.sletoh.com/r192987.html . No matter day or night, Capri is the right one,mate.




ekscrunchy Jun 19th, 2008 05:41 AM

Poster above has continued to spam with his advertising...should be removed.

csmith331 Jun 24th, 2008 06:44 AM

Does anyone have restaurant recommendations for Capri? My husband and I are foodies and aren't concerned with price as we only vacation once a year and splurge when we go. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

starrs Jun 29th, 2008 04:08 AM

tuscan, I'm assuming no need for a pool in October?

thursdaysd Jun 29th, 2008 05:21 AM

I had a good meal at La Pergola. Info about the meal, staying at La Tosca, and some not-so-touristy places on Capri here: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=35123298

mauroitaly Jul 1st, 2008 03:03 AM

Hello,

i think is better to stay in sorrento and take a idrofoil or ferry to capri island iv'e been ther for the last weekend renting a beutyfull room in a villas just in the center of sorrento, they have a good website with lots of info about sorrento and surranding area www.villarosasorrento.com , i say thanx to Fabio the owner a very onest person !!

oasisboston Jul 1st, 2008 04:12 PM

Thank you everyone for the wonderful responses. We decided to skip Capri on this trip only for money reasons. I do hope I can take my mom there one day in the future. Thanks for all your words!!!


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