Capri in two days
A small boat is enough to enjoy the gulf and the island
Last summer I gave myself two days of vacation, just two, in Capri. Since a lot happened in those few days, I have to start telling from my arriving at Naples’ train station. This place is already meaningful in itself and deserves a visit. Just few steps and you find yourself among the chaos of cabs and people!
The real Neapolitan coffee
Cross the modern square in front of the railway station to Mexico Café. You must have a coffee there! A Neapolitan average person drinks it at least 5 times per day, but sometimes even 10 or 15. Inside the café, the barman does quick and elegant moves to prepare the famous coffee Passalacqua, the only blend loved by real Neapolitans.
The bartender will ask you if you want your coffee hot or cold. Pay attention: the hot one could really burn your lips! Neapolitans take a little of coffee with the spoon and they will sprinkle it on the border, to make it colder… but this is something to do in front of the bartender only after some practicing at home! You can sip your coffee now, but you have to drink the glass of water they give you first, never after!
Coffee must be drunk very hot, if you have to wait for some reason, you must cover the coffee cup with a small dish. If you wait too long, the bartender will make it again for you. The only distraction allowed is being hesitant deciding between the Pastiera (typical puff pastry filled with cream cheese, barley and candied fruit) and the Babà (syrup sponge).
When in Naples, you will find very hard to keep a direction or even formulate an idea, because you will be distracted all the time by thousands of things happening all around: a motorbike that brushes against you, a man telling you something you have to consider, and so on. It is quite hard finish something! Anyway, turn the corner and reach a great market place selling everything from every part of the world: from the African stick of licorice to clean your teeth to Chinese bags or kebab and Narghilé.
The ferryboat leaves at each hour. If you are in advance stop at the restaurant-supermarket nearby, with so manylocal specialities in plain view. It is a modern place, but Neapolitans always manage to create a welcoming ambient in every situation. Pizza and Calzone are the best, but there are also a lot of other great specialities.
This statement is printed above the pizza oven saying:
“Pizza belongs to no one in particular, it is the product of wisdom and skills of Neapolitan people”
The ferryboat to Capri
The navigation up to Capri is short, but it gives you the time to enjoy the view of this beautiful Gulf. I wonder why I do live in the North of Italy, while I could stay here and enjoy this warmer weather, you know. The first time I came to Capri by ferry boat I was a child, travelling to Naples with my parents to visit my relatives. Maybe that trip gave me this kind of Neapolitan spirit that I feel deep inside: I noticed there was a peculiar spirit inside the people I met and maybe this spirit was all over in the air… Some kind of folly that dragged me without scaring me, even if I was not from Naples, but elsewhere!
Once my group has arrived to Capri’s harbor, we take the funicular railway which is always full of people. Otherwise you can share a cab with other tourists or go by bus. We reach the famous and always crowded little square of Capri (piazzetta), with the church, the bell tower and several alleys bringing to the hidden parts of the island. Here the only way to move is on foot and it sounds like a fair punishment to whom have the privilege and the adventure to spend their holidays in such a beautiful place! The place we aim to go is hard to find, we have to walk a lot climbing tiny streets uphill, but it is worthy! The beauty of this place makes our effort more like an exercise than an agony… the fair price to pay to get the Paradise.
Welcome to paradise
Just under the Villa of the Roman Emperor Tiberio, there is another villa very similar in its architecture: the house of our hosts, Stefano and Maria. They are so kind and I had a great time in their B&B with very few rooms. Everyday we used to help our hosts picking up fresh vegetables from their vegetable garden for making fresh dishes… Farming habits just next to imperial allure. This special residence has got even a theatre!
From here you can easily go bathing at the Faraglioni, admiring and criticizing the luxurious giant yachts all around, with a lot of weird accessories. Italian people – mainly the people from Capri – know that a perfect holiday is made of simple things: a small boat is enough! Sailing around, you can admire the caves and do a full tour of the island.
Only a small boat can pass under the arch of sea stacks and it’s a unique moment. Then you can admire the villa of Curzio Malaparte, built on an elevation of the island. It has been said that Malaparte donated the villa to China, but I don’t think his will has been fulfilled. It is possible to see the staircase built by Krupp, one of the steel factories that paid the war for Hitler. From certain glimpses it is possible to see the houses where Lenin, Andy Warhol and Joseph Boys used to live for a while. You know, Capri hasn’t always been the symbol of glamour and fancy life: everyone has passed here and the island is still ruled by the original islanders.
I wish I spent more time there, but two days are better than nothing!
Visit Naples: helpful hints
Italian name: Napoli
Naples has its own international airport, connected to the city centre by a bus (it takes 15 minutes and it costs 5€). For transcontinental flights you have to stop in other airports, Rome is the closest one.
In Naples you find both buses, subways and funicular. The ticket is the same for all the transports and it costs 1,5€. For more information check the ANM website. If you prefer to visit the city on foot, here you can find an idea for you tour.
What to do
Naples is the capital city of Campania region, in Southern Italy. Naples is on a beautiful Gulf, extended from the Sorrento Peninsula to the volcaninc area called Phlegrean Fields, on the background the huge Vesuvius, one of the two active volcanoes in Italy. In the Gulf, three famous islands – Capri, Ischia and Procida. The historical centre of Naples is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, the most important monuments are the Dome, Palazzo Reale and the Maschio Angioino.
Speaking of food, Naples is the city where Pizza is born!
Where to sleep
The best place to sleep in Naples is of course the city centre. Other very good alternatives are Posilippo and Vomero area, the harbor and the University area, the boardwalk and the more expensive Chiaia area.