CityProfile: Capri

Dear Friends and Readers,

I have been missing in action in the past few weeks for a much deserved/much anticipated vacation.  It was the best way to rest relax and regroup, so now I am back and ready to rock and roll again!  After some great contributors, it is my turn to share the knowledge on one of the most amazing places in the world, the island of Capri.

This little island nested in the Gulf of Naples has attracted Presidents, Stars and commoners alike (I, of course belong, to the last category). And no one can resist its spell, so much so that a Roman Emperor decided to abandon Rome and settle there… On the other hand, se interviewing myself is going to be fun… let’s see how the experiment goes.


Who is Serena? Well hopefully I don’t need an introduction in my own blog, do I? Suffices to say that I was blessed in my childhood and teenage to see places in Southern Italy that have such an intrinsic beauty you can barely phatom you will ever see something more amazing.  I am not an expert of many of that but Capri I love. Capri Style is the relaxed elegance and cool I aim for (often unsuccessfully given my hyper personality)

Why are you an expert on Capri? I am not really, I just happen to have great friends who have given me great tips over the years because they either live in Capri or visit every week.  The island itself can feel very touristy to an untrained eye so I hope you will treasure these tips and print them for your next trip so you can experience Capri as a local.

Where to stay? This is the first tough choice: many people think that Capri is only worthy of a day trip, but the sunset and the starry night in Capri are the most romantic and fashinating moment, why waste it? The decision on where to stay really is influenced by the type of vacation you are looking for. Capri can be at once lively like its Piazzetta and secluded like the peaks of Anacapri. I do not recommend staying in Marina Grande where the boats arrive at every hour of the day and the night.  Most hotels have a shuttle service that will quickly wisk you away from the lines of the funicolare and take you to your hotel check in, in less than 15 minutes.  Let’s start with the first scenario: you are looking for peace and quiet where you can feel like Roma Emperor Tiberius. I recommend you stay in Anacapri, that is a village on top of the Mount Solaro and has two wonderful and very relaxing resorts: Capri Palace and Caesar Augustus. The Second Scenario is that you want to be close to the centre to do some shopping after the beach.  The area of the Piazzetta and Via Camerella are Capri’s Madison Avenue but you might sacrifice your piece and quiet.  Your best bet is Il Gatto Bianco, a nice little hotel on Via Camerelle that might not be known for its quiet but surely makes the most of the location. Further towards the areas of Via Tragara (central but not as popular as Via Camerelle) there are 3 resorts that I love also because they are close to my favorite beach resorts: ScalinatellaCasa Morgano, andVilla Brunella. They have a very simila setting as they look like the cling to the rock for dear life but these 3 hotels have the best view on the Faraglioni.  They are also reasonably close to the city centre that you do not feel too isolated. The third case scenario is that you want a hotel that is somewhat in the middle, with immediate access to the beach and the possibility to reach the centre of the social life fairly quickly. In this case you need to stay in Marina Piccola, on the western coast of the Island at Hotel Weber. The hotel is in a great location because the beach resorts are merely 5 minutes away. But the great thing about this hotel is the service as they have a shuttle that takes you to the Piazzetta every 10 minutes. In case you are wondering whether these 10 minutes are neapolitan style (and we all know we tend to be relaxed on timing), you are definitely wrong… this was the house of a german ambassador, after all!


Where to Eat? Capri is not all about Caprese Salad! Actually Caprese Salad is the last thing I would eat there because there is so much more you can taste.  My favorite restaurants are Da Paolino and Il Riccio: the first is a unique experience of dining in a lemon orchard, the second has the most breathtaking location on the rocks, both have sublime food.  If you are at the beach in the area of Faraglioni, I recommend trying the Fontelina Restaurant for the fritti andLuigi ai Faraglioni for the seafood salad.  In Via Tragara I love Terrazza Brunella at Villa Brunella and Monzu’ at Punta Tragara Hotel.  Near the Piazzetta there are 2 restaurants that are good and not as touristy: Da Gemmaand Pizzeria Longano – good solid food whether you want seafood, pizza or the famous ravioli capresi.  In Marina Piccola, you cannot beat the ambiance of LaCanzone del Mare , but the most solid food is at Ciro a Mare at Bagni Internazionali or at Torre Saracena. If you plan a trip to Anacapri, besides Il Riccio, you cannot miss Da Antonio, near the Punta Carena lighthouse.


What to do? You can go to the beach, of course! But don’t expect a large beach like Miami or Sardinia, Capri is no sandbar, there is the rough and sharp beauty of rocks against the blue sea. The lack of sand has not stopped the Capresi from having some great beach resorts: Luigi ai Faraglioni and Fontelina are at the end of via Tragara but bear in mind that you can take a boat from Marina Piccola and reach them without sweating.  If you prefer to stay in Marina Piccola you should try Lo Scoglio delle Sirene, La Canzone del Mare or I Bagni Internazionali.  Bagni Internazionali has a great scuba diving and snorkeling school if you feel like taking classes.  In alternative you can rent a boat and visit the Blue Grotto and Faraglioni.  On the way to the Blue Grotto check out the Punta Carena lighthouse, which you can also visit from Anacapri.  I recomment a visit to the Garden in Villa San Michele and Certosa di San Giacomo, along with the tiny streets in Anacapri.  At night you should consider visiting a club called Taverna Anema & Core: it is not a club by American standards, I would consider it more like a lounge with great live music by Guido Lembo an iconic guitar player. Even if you don’t get the tongue in cheek jokes in the songs, you will enjoy the fun and entertaining atmosphere.


Let’s talk about your favorite sport? What to buy and where in Capri?You kidding, right? you are planning on publicly admitting you are a shopping addict who goes bats#!t insane the moment she sets foot on the island? Great! Well, I will admit, things get a little out of control what with the charm of the island and wanting to bring a piece back to NY… I am just very romantic, that is :-) . Or maybe it is the Stile Caprese, the charm of the island that I aspire to and I will never reach… Anyway, read the following at your own risk. Capri has many wonderful stores (Hermes, Prada, Do

lce & Gabbana, Fendi and Louis Vuitton being just a few), but if you go there and come back with something you can also buy in NY I will make sure to personally find you and smack you.  You need to shop Capri style, ok? I have already dedicated a post to Carthusia, if you are looking for some amazing perfume you can really bring home the smell of the island (Via Camerelle and Mediterraneo are my favorites).  Capri is famous for its sandals and you can have your pair custom made by Cuccurullo or Canfora (no there is no Tuccia of Capri in Capri, they are from Miami, ok?).  In alternative you can buy espadrilles at Zabattigli.  There are many places where you can buy linen clothes on the Island (trust me you will need them, the weather is hot!) but I recently discovered a store called Passerella that sells 120%Lino, a local brand that I love.  For your bathing suits at the end of Via Camerelle there is Fisico, my favorite brand: get yourself a double face bikini and wear it all summer long! Finally, to foster your inner Tinkerbell you will need a Campanella.  There are many jewelry stores on the island that sell little bells in an array of materials, but there is only one that I go to: Chantecler.  Their jewels are simply exquisit and the craftmanship is unbelievable. You recognize a Chantecler bell because it is a real miniaturized version of a bell, it actually rings! Besides, my jeweler Patrizio is the most knowledgeable, patient and attentive person you will find (… and as you all know buckets of patience are needed when dealing with moi!). And let’s say it straight I love sounding like Tinkerbell and I am about as tall, I only need wings now!