Postcards from the Island of Capri

Which is a deeper and more beautiful shade of blue: the skies above the island of Capri or the color of the water below? It's hard for me to decide, so I stare and stare, and then stare some more - mouth agape at every viewpoint I come across. 

 50 shades of blue surround the Island of Capri.

50 shades of blue surround the Island of Capri.

I am on the island of Capri for the second time in a week. The first time I was here with friends, and when we visited we barely scratched the surface of this beautiful place. The weather wasn't ideal and we were pressed for time; we boarded a late boat, took a hair-raising bus ride to Anacapri (the shopping and restaurant area located on the slopes of Mount Solaro, at a higher elevation than Capri town), did a little sightseeing, had lunch and then left. It was a quick trip, but I didn't mind because I knew that i would return, this time on my own.

While in Anacapri, we made sure to visit the Chiesa Monumentale di San Michele. The Church of San Michele is just a short walk along shop-lined streets from Piazza Vittoria (which is in the center of Anacapri). For a nominal fee, you can enter the church and marvel at the hand painted ceramic tiles that cover the entire floor of the church. The scene is an amazing depiction of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. You can walk on a raised wooden platform around the entire scene, and then also climb up to the balcony where you can gaze down at the scene in all it's beauty.

 The floor of the Church of San Michele, depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden

The floor of the Church of San Michele, depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden

For my second visit to Capri I took a different approach. The skies were beautiful when I left Amalfi on an early boat. I positioned myself perfectly on the back so that, from that vantage point, I was able to take photos as we pulled out of the harbor in Amalfi, as we approached and left Positano (where our boat makes a stop to pick up and drop off passengers), and as we approached Capri. 

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Once I disembarked, I headed straight for the funicular that took me up to the town of Capri. Most people come to Capri town to window shop on the island's version of Rodeo Drive or to sip over-priced glasses of wine. While both of those things sound enticing (well, not the over-priced part, but the wine part does!), I am here to walk to several different points around the island and photograph the drop-dead gorgeous views.

 The harbor of Capri.

The harbor of Capri.

My first destination was the Arco Naturale, which is clearly signposted (with the most adorable ceramic signs!!!) on the streets leading uphill from Capri town. Once you leave all the tourists behind in the Piazzetta, Capri changes..it's peaceful and quiet, residential homes/villas line the narrow pedestrian-only walkways (each marked with their own adorable ceramic signs), gardens exist behind wrought iron gates, flowering trees overflow their stone walls. It's incredibly serene. 

 A viewpoint on my walk toward Arco Naturale.

A viewpoint on my walk toward Arco Naturale.

After walking for a bit, you will pass a cafe with a wonderful terrace, and once you reach the wooded cliffs, descend down some stairs towards the Arco Naturale (clearly signposted). Wikipedia informs me that the Arco Naturale is a natural limestone arch, dating from the Paleolithic age, and is the remains of a collapsed grotto.

 Arco Naturale on the east coast of the Island of Capri.

Arco Naturale on the east coast of the Island of Capri.

On the way back to Capri town, I stopped at one of the many viewpoints to photograph the crystal blue waters and the faraglioni.  These triangular rocky outcrops in the sea are Capri's most famous natural landmarks. I also loved capturing the boats motoring in and out of the rocks.

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 Views of the faraglioni, Capri's most famous natural landmarks

Views of the faraglioni, Capri's most famous natural landmarks

 The island coastline from a different angle.

The island coastline from a different angle.

Since I had no desire to head back to town yet, I decided to continue to hike, this time visiting Villa Jovis. A vast complex, now reduced to ruins, it was Tiberius’ main Capri residence and includes remnants of imperial quarters and extensive bathing areas set in dense gardens and woodland. After having seen so many well preserved ruins in Sicily, I wasn't that impressed with the structures themselves (I know that sound awful), but the views were great. 

 Ruins at Villa Jovis, perched on a cliff edge.

Ruins at Villa Jovis, perched on a cliff edge.

Last, but definitely not least, I stopped at Giardini di Augusto. These lovely gardens were founded by Emperor Augustus, and contain a wonderful - but VERY crowded - lookout point offering yet more great views of the faraglioni. Given the close proximity to town and ease of reach, the terrace was mobbed when I was there. Even so, I was able to snap a few good images, but if you want some peace and quiet for your photography, I recommend stopping at one of the other viewpoints further outside of town.

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