100_0900I’ve been on Capri for a week for work.   Here are some impressions largely of Anacapri.

Hotel

We stayed at the Casamariantonia.  There were four of us so we got a suite.  It’s pretty pricey but actually cheaper than the hotels.  The hotel is family-owned and they are pretty helpful – the father walked with us part of the way to show directions to a rustic path from Anacapri to the Blue Grotto.  The grandmother makes fresh tarts for the breakfast buffet. Our room was nice and had a small kitchen.  There’s a grocery store opposite so you can cook if you want to.   There’s balcony where you  can hang out and good air-conditioning.  Two downsides: no swimming pool (they are waiting for a permit) and no WiFi in rooms (you have to go downstairs to the lobby).  This is the main reason for my lack of posts!

Restaurants

Our favorite by far was Da Gelsomina (photo was taken there).  They have a swimming pool too.  There is hefty charge (incl for sunbeds, towels, umbrella as well as entrance) but you get a discount if you eat there and/or stay at Casamariantonia.  There is the usual Capri fare, ravioli caprese, insalata caprese, pennette aumm aumm etc, and it’s all done very well.  There are also dishes you do not find elsewhere (e.g. gnocchi with gorgonzola and arugula), great fried stuff as an appetizer.  They make their own organic wines which are delicious.  Down the road from the restaurant there are two spots with amazing views of the lighthouse and the Faroglioni, three dramatic rocks in the ocean.  They also have rooms.  It’s a bit out of the loop at the top of a hill but they have a free bus service to drop you off and pick you up in downtown Anacapri.   Might try it next time.

At 1.4 Euros to the dollar, costs mount up.  Pizza is a good standby to tighten the belt.  Ristorante Arcate does good pizza.  Trattoria Il Solitario does pizza and also some original pastas (e.g. paccheri with lardo and fava beans).

What to do

1. Capri Walk up to Villa Jovis, Emperor Tiberius’s old home.  Now in a state of decay.  Great views.  Walk back into town and eat at Bar Jovis or at Da Gemma, Graham Greene’s favorite restaurant with great views over the mountain and sea.  There’s a bunch of chi-chi shops if you are into that kind of thing.

2. Boat trip Splash out for the personal boat ride (around E 50 more than the sardine can version).  How else would you ride through the hole in the central Faroglioni?

3. Walk to Grotta Azzurra Take nice old pedestrian walk from Anacapri, not the main road.  If you get lost you can find the main road.

4. Hike: There is a great walk along the sea from one pirate watchtower to another (not suitable for young kids).

Things to watch out for: Chair lift up to top of Monte Solaro has individual seats – not good for kids.  Grotta Azzurra closes when sea is choppy and there can be a long wait.  Go either before tourist hordes arrive from Naples or after they leave.  Incidentally, Naples is a bit overwhelming.  It feels like Bombay.  So be prepared!

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