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    Italy | Amalfi Coast – Capri in one day

    Capri. An island surrounded by a sea of glorious turquoise. Peppered with resplendent villas owned by the glitzy glitterati and bejewelled jetsetters. Favoured by celebrities and international who’s who. Narrow lanes walked by women in ankle-skimming pants and designer sunglasses. True or False?

    A recent trip to Capri confirmed the island is most definitely frequented by the well-heeled dripping in fashion labels, but it’s also visited by everyday citizens keen to get a taste of how the other half live.

    Our one day in Capri certainly didn’t make or break any hard held impressions I had before arriving by ferry, along with a hoard of gawking tourists. Capri is pretty and didn’t disappoint. In hindsight Capri should be experienced for more than just one day. It should be seen both day and evening so stay at least one night on the island.

    We started our journey from our base in Sorrento. From our apartment we wandered down to Marina Piccola and purchased our ferry tickets to Capri. Luckily there were only a few people buying tickets. On previous days we noticed there were long queues.

    It was early when we boarded the ferry but we decided to celebrate our trip to Capri by cracking open a Peroni and piccolo of Mashcio dei Cavalieri …as you do when you’re on holidays! The ride was quite liberating as we, along with many other boat trippers, were treated to a liberal salty spray from the sea.

    Our first sighting of Capri…

    When you step off the ferry at Marina Grande you are immediately confronted by ubiquitous souvenir shops, overpriced unimpressive bars and restaurants with their ‘fixed price menu’ which immediately scream tourist deals and not authentic fare.

    You’ll spot throngs of nubile young things heading off to Marina Grande for a spot of ‘rock sun bathing’ and swimming while others make their way to the 1907 ‘funicolare’ (funicular) to Capri town.

    Above: At Marina Di Capri/ Capri Port

    After you have disembarked the funicular, you’ll arrive just outside the island’s famous small square, Piazza Umberto 1 (also known as the Piazetta) – it’s the perfect spot to capture iconic shots of the panorama. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see this sculpture ‘L’Altalena” (The Swing), one of the symbolic sculptures of Giancinto Bosco. Walk a little further o the Piazetta, the perfect ‘stage’ in the heart of Capri. Everyone who comes to Capri passes through this public square, a favoured destination for aperitivo hour (afternoon drinks).

    La Pizzetta/Pizzetta di Capri

    At the top of the stairway in the Piazetta is the parish church of Santo Stefano, a former cathedral of the island. Tucked in amongst the buildings, the Baroque style church dates back the late 1600s. Certainly worth a look if you are passing by.

    Looking for a bite to eat? Pop into Donna Rachele for seriously good pizza and a chat with the owner and his adorable pooch. We arrived at the ristorante pizzeria very early (we hadn’t eaten breakfast) and were keen for a quite meal before embarking on our walk to the Augustus Gardens. The restaurant had literally just opened the doors and we had the place to ourselves. It was around 10.45 am. Just off the main square, this place is a hidden gem on Via Padre Serafino Cimmino.

    Bellies full, time to walk off the” excess ‘baggage” and head to Giardini di Augusto (August Gardens) for spectacular views of the famous Faragolini, three jagged limestone rocks off the south-eastern tip of the island.

    En route you’ll pass by grand hotels, glorious shops, more pizzerias, signage directing you to the scenic winding 1km rock-carved path Via Krupp (due to falling rocks it was closed when we were there but it has since reopened), the quaint ice-cream shop Chiosco Tizzano run by Natalia and Antonio Tizzano which sell the best granita di limone (lemon granita), past Hotel Luna’s lush gardens and the unmissable Carthusia perfumery. Continue your journey along the winding path and you will arrive at Giardini di Augusto (Augustus Gardens). For 1,50 euro you have the freedom to wander the terraces overlooking the sea. Look behind you and you’ll see Mediterranean villas belonging to the rich and famous.

    Once you’ve finished your coastline walk to the gardens, stop off at the Rooftop Bar which directly overlooks Capri’s famous Faraglioni opposite the Marina Picccola Bay.

    After enjoying an Aperol Spritz with a killer view head back to the Piazza for more drinks, people watching and window shopping.

    Souvenirs: You could buy yourself a pair of handcrafted leather sandals. Maybe ceramics. A popular choice is a small bell which symbolizes luck, health and happiness. (Legend has it that a poor shepherd searching for his lost goat on Mont Solaro heard bells ringing in the distance. He followed the sound. Saint Michael appeared and gave him a set of bells for protection. The shepherd went on to live a happy, prosperous life.) The perfect souvenir is to take Capri home with you by buying a bottle of exclusive Carthusia fragrance made with local ingredients such as herbs and flowers. In 1948 old perfume formulae were discovered lying around the medieval Carthusian Monastery of St Giacomo (which dates back to 1300 and is still standing in Capri). The rest, as they say, is history. The perfumery is possibly one of the most beautiful places you could visit. A sensory experience in every sense of the word, it’s at this perfumery you can try Carthusia’s bourgeoning collection inspired by Italian summers, Mediterranean gardens, and the island Capri. Note: There is more than one Carthusia perfumery on Capri

    Food: For many, top of the menu is insalata caprese made with real buffalo mozzarella, sun-ripened tomatoes and locally grown peppery basil plucked from Capri’s salty terraces.

    Eat: Stroll away from the piazza and head to Donna Rachele.

    Tips: Sadly time ran out but if we were returning, I would reserve a boat at Marina Grande and take a tour around the island and catch a bus ride to the less touristy Anacapri. The Blue Grotto was on our list but due to the sea’s capricious nature we were unable to access this site. Suppose it’s best to look on the bright side and recall the saying “always leave something to see for your return”.

    Vicki Montague is a freelance writer with a predilection for travel, European fashion, architecture that oozes history and charm, and objects that tell a story. She and her partner John are empty nesters - their three adult children have left the comforts of home to carve out their own paths in life. Vicki’s professional background is in marketing and public relations.

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