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36 Hours In… Capri
Why go now
In autumn, the residents of Capri breathe a collective sigh of relief. The deluge of daytrippers from Naples and Sorrento reduces to a manageable trickle, and the island regains something of the mystique that drew writers, performers and eccentrics as numerous as Graham Greene, Gracie Fields and Maxim Gorky to live right here. Rising a thousand ft from the Bay of Naples, Capri’s hedonistic charms seize hold as soon as you climb away from the ferry dock. For the full impact, ride as much as the city in a vintage open-prime limousine (the standard taxi here) and benefit from the heat wind in your hair because the switchback highway reveals ever extra dramatic glimpses of wild limestone crags plunging into a deep blue sea. The sea stays warm nicely into October and, for an island that is barely four miles lengthy, there are plenty of marked trails for eager walkers. There are two small towns either side of the island’s central saddle: Capri city is best for folks-watching, designer boutiques and selection of eating places; Anacapri is where most of the island’s population lives and farms. Common buses make the 15-minute journey between them. Personally I want Capri town, if only to marvel at the way in which girls who dress out of Vogue handle to negotiate the cobbles in six-inch stilettos.
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British Airways (0844 493 0787; britishairways.com), Meridiana (0871 222 9319; meridiana.it) and easyJet (0871 244 2377; easyjet.com) have daily flights to Naples from a choice of UK airports from around £65 return. Take a bus (€3) or a set-price taxi (€20) for the 30-minute journey to Naples port to catch a SNAV hydrofoil (€21.50; snav.it) or a slower Caremar ferry (€13.50,caremar.it).
The place to remain
Special deal with
There are plenty of glamorous five-star inns on Capri, however none can beat the tasteful type of the 18-room Lodge La Minerva (1 on map) (via Occhio Marino, Capri city; 00 39 081 837 7067; laminervacapri.com). Spread over 5 levels, all with far-reaching sea views, you’ll be able to breakfast in bed or on the roof terrace and light lunches are served at the pool set in a lovely backyard. Run by the Esposito family for three generations, nothing is too much bother to arrange or receive. Doubles from €270 together with breakfast.
A pleasant, solicitous workforce of workers make it a pleasure to stay at the Lodge della Piccola Marina (2) (14/sixteen by way of Mulo, Capri city; 00 39 081 837 9642;hoteldellapiccolamarina.it). There are 40 shiny trendy rooms with large balconies overlooking the pool and the sea beyond (ask for one on the highest flooring). Breakfast pasties, baked on site, are superb and head concierge, Norberto, books eating places and excursions on the drop of a hat. Doubles from €160 including breakfast.
On a finances
Villa Eva (three) (Traversa La Vigna, Anacapri: 00 39 081 837 1549; villaeva.com) is reasonably priced because it’s a bus ride from Anacapri (or a 30-minute walk). The upside is that it’s quiet and near the Blue Grotto for an early morning dip. There are 10 properly decorated rooms and cottages for households (pay up for a terrace sea view) and a pool. Doubles from €100 including breakfast.
Watch the glitterati sashay through the Piazzetta ferragamo bone leather shoes images (four) (officially known as Piazza Umberto 1) from the terrace of the Gran Caffe, though a glass of prosecco will set you back €10.
It’s a 20-minute stroll into the countryside to succeed in Da Tonino (5) (through Dentecale, Capri city; 00 39 081 837 6718). Welcoming, unpretentious and affordable (for high-end cooking on Capri), it has a short seasonal menu of native fish and seafood dishes as well as rabbit, contemporary pasta and risottos. Excellent Italian wine checklist (you’ll be able to visit the intensive cellar). Three programs round €60.
Stride out alongside paths lined with handsome white villas in flower-stuffed gardens to Villa Jovis (6) from where Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire. There’s enough stone left to impress and a fine view over the Sorrento peninsula. Open 9am-1pm, Mar-Nov; closed Tues (1-15 of month) and Solar (sixteen-31); entry €2.
Take the slender woodland path to the proper on exiting Villa Jovis which meanders around the cliffs to Villa Lysis (7), constructed by the dissolute French aesthete in an interesting Classical-meets-Artwork-Nouveau fashion. Open 10am-6pm, closed Mon; entry free.
Again in Capri town centre decide up an ice-cream or a pastry at Buonocore (eight) (35 by way of Vittorio Emanuele) before window-purchasing along through Camerelle and by way of Sopramonte. As well as flagship stores for Prada, Pucci (who invented the unique Capri pants) and Ferragamo, there are cobblers making leather Capri sandals (from €60) and smart canvas seaside baggage.
Lunch at Terrazza Brunella (9) (24 via Tragara; 00 39 081 937 0122) for the most effective insalata Caprese in city: buffalo mozzarella, tremendous-ripe tomatoes and basil (€16) and a beautiful view over the south coast.
Rent a standard gozzo fishing boat from Marina Piccola (10) for a personal spherical-island tour of the limestone stacks, arches and grottoes. It prices an extra €13 to enter the well-known Blue Grotto (it’s an attractive shade of blue) as you must switch to a smaller rowing boat. The value includes a poor rendition of O Sole Mio to showcase the acoustics. As well as visiting other caves lined with purple coral and stalactites, there’s a chance to swim via the Green Grotto but examine for jellyfish before diving overboard. Boats are finest booked by way of the resort concierge: three-hour journey around €175 for up to four folks.
Take the bus or a limo taxi to Anacapri (11). Just off Piazza Vittoria is Eureka (fifty five by way of G. Orlandi), the most effective and most genuine of Capri’s ceramic retailers (most import work from factories in Vietri sul Mare near Salerno).
It’s a nice 30-minute stroll from Anacapri to Da Gelsomina (12) (72 through Migliara, Anacapri; 00 39 081 837 1499; dagelsomina.com), or pre-guide its shuttle bus from Piazza Vittoria. The restaurant is completely sited to observe the solar set over the sea (it’s value strolling out to the Migliara Belvedere with an aperitif for the view). Run by a pleasant local household, parts are massive and native specialities use vegetables from its smallholding beneath. There’s additionally a vineyard which provides the home wine. Three programs around €50.
Be first by the door on the Villa San Michele (thirteen) (34 viale A.Munthe) to beat the tour teams. Built in the 1920s by Swedish doctor Axel Munthe on the ruins of a Roman villa, it contains an eclectic personal collection of over a thousand objects from Antiquity to the 20th century. Open daily 9am-5pm; entry €7; villasanmichele.eu.
Return to Piazza Vittoria and take an old school chairlift to the summit of 589m Mount Solaro (14) for panoramic views as far as Naples and Vesuvius. Operates 9am-5pm: one-approach €7.50; return €10. It’s a lovely one-hour stroll again down along a trail via heathland and pinewoods.
Pop into the Church of San Michele, simply off Through G. Orlando (15), to marvel at its flooring of 18th-century majolica tiles representing Paradise on Earth. Open every day; €3.
Attempt homemade spaghetti with lemons on the terrace of the Pulalli Wine Bar (sixteen) (00 39 081 837 4108; €18 with salad and wine) within the clock-tower above the Piazzetta, earlier than catching the funicular railway right down to the ferry in Marina Grande.
- Purchase tickets for island buses from accommodations or grocery retailers; always punch on entry.
Pack a pair of comfy walking sneakers (no leather-based soles) for the flights of slippery stone steps and the steep paths.
Vacationer offices in the Pizzetta in Capri city (00 39 081 837 0686; capritourism.com) and by way of G.Orlandi in Anacapri (00 39 081 837 1524).