Capri’s charms are hardly new. Ancient Romans used to vacation here. Rome’s second emperor, Tiberius, was so taken with the island that he ruled from Capri. His reign coincided with the life of Jesus—but not even the promise of salvation could entice the old emperor from his twelve (that’s right, twelve) Caprese pleasure palaces. The lemon groves, the bougainvillea, the sea winds, and cerulean water … all had a certain spiritual attraction of their own.
Napoleon fell in love with Capri, and Lenin visited once. In the 1960s, empresses of fashion and femininity—Brigitte Bardot, Jackie Onassis—revived the island’s dignity and flare. These days, Capri is a favourite getaway for pop artists, Hollywood starlets, and the Silicon Valley set. Still, it has a timeless quality that needs neither fame nor fortune to fully enjoy.
The island dots the “i” of the Sorrentine peninsula and its famed Amalfi Coast. In Amalfi, quaint and sunny hamlets tumble down the rugged cliffsides, spilling into an aquamarine sea. The most charming of these near-vertical villages, Positano, was immortalized by the great American writer John Steinbeck. “Positano bites deep,” he wrote of it, referring not only to its beauty, but the way of life of the Positanese that never quite left him.
Amalfi and Capri are not only about eye-popping scenery and living la dolce vita, of course. Let’s not forget the food! Vine-ripe tomatoes in your salade caprese; fresh baby clams in you spaghetti alle vongole. And of course, those luscious, sun-swollen lemons that colour the Caprese and Amalfian hillsides, that add zest to your delizia al limone, and zing to your shot of limoncello!