After spending our first evening in Italy in Sorrento, my friend and I decided to visit Carpi/Anacapri. Capri is an island located of the coast of Sorrento in the Campania region of Italy. The island of Capri is comprised of two towns: Capri and Anacapri. Anacapri is located on the highest part of the island. Some interesting fact about Capri/Anacapri includes: it was a favorite resting spot for Roman General Nero and there are twelve churches, seven museums and several monuments. The most visited attraction in Capri is the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), a natural cave that was discovered in the 19th Century.
The next morning a small cadre of people from the tour decided to go to the ferry and hop on the boat to Capri. To get to Capri from our hotel, Hotel Cristina, we took a cab down the mountain side to the waterfront.
As we arrived at the waterfront, we looked around for the ticket window for our ferry. After we purchased out tickets, we were approached by an older gentleman named Salvatore, who worked or owned a company that would give private tours on Capri. Despite his vociferous and ferocious attempts, we decided that on this trip, we would be true explorers just meandering around Capri on our own.
When we arrived on the island we were in the town of Capri. To get to the top of Capri, we could either walk up the steps or take the funicular up the mountain side. So my friend and I and our travel companions made the very easy decision to take the 5 minute funicular ride up the mountain.
As we rode up the mountain, we could see homes built directly into the mountains side. There were also olive and fruit (lemons and orange) trees. We also saw a man sitting on some steps next to the funicular as it traveled up the mountain.
Exploring the Island
When we got to the top, the first thing we saw was a square with a giant clock and bell tower surrounded by colorful buildings. People were milling around the square, talking with friends and enjoying a light snack with a cappuccino or eating gelato.
As we traveled on foot, we ran into many interesting alleyways and architecture. There were many interesting restaurants and shops down those narrow alleyways. I also was able to take in the beauty of the many interesting windows, gates and doorways scattered around the island. It was a little piece of paradise to me.
Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo (Church of St. Michael the Archangel)
As we walked around Anacapri, we came to the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo. This church was constructed between 1698 and 1719. Neapolitan architect, Antonio Domenico Varraro, was responsible for the building’s Greek Cross floor plan and the baroque details typical of the Kingdom of Naples 18th century ecclesiastic edifices. One of the most interesting things about this church the majolica tiled pavement floor, which depicts the Expulsion from Eden. (paraphrased from http://www.capri.net/en/churches).
As we walked in the church, we were greeted by an elderly woman. One of the first things we noticed was a very narrow staircase leading up to a landing and the beauty of the floor of the church. As we walked along the wooded planks set up along the perimeter of the floor, we were able to see the intricate detail that went into the construction of the church.
Before departing the church, we traveled up the spiral staircase. When we reached the top, there we were able to see the church organ, a clear view of the alter space, and most importantly an extremely perfect view of the floor. If you visit Anacapri, I highly recommend visiting the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo just to take in the wonder of the craftsmanship that went into the construction of this beautiful church.
In addition to the many churches on Capri, there was also some very interesting street art, some of which were inconspicous (the two bulls with horns locked) and some that were almost logo-like in their purpose.
My First Pizza in Italy
For the noon day meal, we found a restaurant located next to the Chiesa di Santa Sofia that served pizza.
I ordered the caprese pizza and we split a bottle of wine, chosen by the couple with whom we explored Capri. This was my first taste of Neapolitan pizza. the fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and arugula totally made this pizza really yummy despite not having any sauce.
Chiesa di Santa Sofia
The Chiesa di Santa Sofia overlooks the piazza located just off the town’s lively Via Giuseppe Orlandi. This church was constructed in 1510 to replace Anacapri’s old Parish Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli.
By the time we arrived at this church we were really hungry and decided to grab a bite to eat before we continued our exploration of Capri/Anacapri. After we finished eating, the church had closed so that the proprietors could go home for a riposo (siesta). However, since this church ws situated on a major square, I was able to take some shots of the exterior.
To get back down the mountain, we hopped back on the funicular.
As we disembarked off the funicular, we took some time to explore the waterfront.
Boats, Boats, and More Boats
After visiting Anacapri, we made out way back to the waterfront, where there were many wonderfully colorful boats. These photos are some of my favorites from my time on Capri.
Gelato: The Perfect End to a Perfect Day
After touring the waterfront, we wound up at the place that served gelato and cappuccino. We decided to stop in and tape a break from all the walking by enjoying some gelato before we got back on the boat to Sorrento.
I had tiramisu gelato. The little heart shaped treat in the center was made out of the same dough they used for making ice cream cones. It was totally yummers.
This was the perfect end to a perfect day.