Wander Capri: On Foot and Alone – Italy, Europe
During the early mornings, warm breezes temporarily replace the humidity making it the best time for one to experience the allure of Capri.
Capri. The name evokes images of glamour, royalty, boutiques, yachts and money. While accurate, these words offer a limited perspective of this
gorgeous island. To see Capri the way the residents do, to truly absorb its unique combination of natural beauty complimented by spectacular man
made architecture, you need to be out early and be on foot.
I recommend getting out no later than 7:00 a.m. before the shops open, before the first cappuccino is served, and before the tourists finish their
free breakfasts at the hotels. The island is quiet and calm and you will feel as if it belongs only to you. The few people you pass are residents
going to work or children on their way to school.
I am a fortunate American who married a man from Capri, we visit our family every year. With each trip, I experience a different aspect of the
island. This year, we spent one of our three weeks staying in the center of Capri. Taking advantage of our location, we repeated the three walks that offered the best combination of exercise, sightseeing and reflection.
During each route, you will:
- retrace the steps of early inhabitants who carved serpentine pathways and marked them with beautifully tiled street signs
- climb numerous brick and stone staircases that ascend and descend at 90-degree angles
breathe in the fragrances of lush and colorful flora as you pass sloped gardens and terraced lemon groves
- avoid petting each one of the multitude of cats busy searching for food or sleeping in the sun on top of the high stone walls
Walking Capri requires some exertion. At times it can leave the best of athletes winded. Bring water and your camera. All walks begin at the
Piazza Umberto I, the heart of Capri. Stand facing the clock tower, the Campanile, pointed toward the Bay of Naples.
Marina Grande: The Stairs
Turn to the right and cut in between Cafe Caso and Piccolo Bar, entering a small tunnel. Take an immediate right descending a small set of stairs and
passing a toy store on your left (it’s in the wall!). Follow this path to the marina. As you descend, you will see only breathtaking views of the Bay
of Naples, but don’t forget to turn around to catch wonderful angles of Capri as you look up. This path is interrupted several times by Via San Francesco
and via Don Giobbe Ruocco, both traffic streets, so be aware of speeding taxis and scooters! Look to the left to catch glimpses of the funiculare as it
glides up and down the steep hillside.
Once you arrive at the marina on Via Cristoforo Colombo, you will see fisherman and tour boat operators preparing for another busy day. Continue to
walk straight, passing the numerous tourist shops and cafes on your left. You will eventually hit the beach located on the other side of a large
white building (the Coast Guard Station). Simply retrace your steps to return, be prepared to make the entire trip climbing 600 stairs at about a
Marina Piccola: The Wrap Around
Turn to your left, walking in between the church, Santo Stefano and the Clock Tower on the right. Pass the row of boutiques on your left and the bus
station on your right. The road that starts here is Via Roma, and you want to be on the left-hand side. Continue straight on Via Roma and once you reach
the rotary, stay to the left and look for a set of stairs. This path is Via Mulo which is lined with gorgeous homes, gardens and flora. It will take you
directly to Marina Piccola, which unlike Marina Grande, is more of a beach area that hosts many resort-style establishments and locals.
On the return trip, look for Via Krupp. This gorgeous walk reopened in June 2008 after being closed for 33 years due to falling rocks. It dramatically
snakes back up the hillside through a series of hairpin bends. Be prepared to ascend at 45-degree angles! Via Krupp becomes Via Giacomo Matteotti and
then take your left onto Via Federico Serena to return to Piazza Umberto.
Faraglioni: Natural Beauty
Turn 180 degrees and walk directly in between the other cafes, Bar Gran Caffe and Bar Tiberio. This is Via Camarelle. You will soon see the Quisisana, Capri’s only six-star accommodation – enormous, pink, gorgeous and directly in front of you! Take a left there continuing on Via Camarelle, through boutique central. Window shop as you pass Gucci, Ferragamo and Armani to name a few. Turn left onto Via Tragara which will
lead you to one of the many views of the Faraglioni. You can end here, or use the path down directly to the Faraglioni, where you will find two
restaurants/resorts, La Fontelina on your right and Da Luigi on your left. Definitely return to either during one of your afternoons for lunch,
dinner or some sun.
So much to explore on this relatively small island. Purchasing Capri and Anacapri in 12 Walks is a must. You can find it at almost
any news stand. It is written in English and very inexpensive. I also recommend capri.net.