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Capri

The Faraglioni Rocks, the symbol of the island of Capri
The Faraglioni Rocks, the symbol of the island of Capri

Despite the boatloads of tourists who pour onto the Marina Grande each day restaurants that boast Wurstel (German sausages), real English butter and Maxwell House coffee, Capri remains an enchanting island haven in the Golfo di Napoli. Its breathtaking caves, luxuriant vegetation and the charming narrow lanes of its small towns have attracted visitors for centuries. The best time to visit is spring (April to early June) or mid-autumn (October) after the summer crowds have ebbed away.

History

Already inhabited in the Palaeolithic age, Isola di Capri was eventually occupied by the Greeks. Roman's Emperor Augustus made it his private playground and his successor Tiberius retired there in 27 AD. Augustus is believed to have founded the world's first palaeontological museum, in the Villa Augustus, to house fossils and Stone Age artefacts unearthed by his workers. Tiberius, a victim of Tacitus' pen , has gone down in history as something of a porn king on the island, although there is little evidence to back the lurid claims concerning the emperor's orgies. The mud stuck, however, and until modern times his name has been equated by the islanders with evil. When the eccentric Swedish doctor Axel Munthe first began picking about the ruins of Roman palaces and villas on the island I n the late 19 th century, locals would observe that it was all roba di Tiberio ( Tiberius stuff) . Despite their sleepy, rustic appearances, the people of Capri and Anacapri have continually been at loggerheads and are always ready to trot out their respective patron saints to ward off the malocchio (evil eye) of their rivals.

Orientation

About 5 km from the mainland, Isola di Capri is a mere 6 km long and 2.7 km wide. As you approach, there is a lovely view of th town of Capri with the dramatic slopes of Monte Solaro (589 m) to the west, hiding the village of Anacapri. All hydrofoils and ferries arrive at Marina Grande, a small settlement that is virtually part of Capri town. Buses connect the port with the towns of Capri and Anacapri, departing from Via Marina Grande, just to the right as you leave the pier. A funicular also connects the marina with Capri town. Otherwise, follow Via Marina Grande for 3km uphill walk. Turn left (east) at the junction with Via Roma for the centre of Capri town or right (west) for Via Provinciale di Anacapri, which eventually becomes Via G Orlandi as it reaches the town of Anacapri.

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