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Capri, Province of Napoli, Campania

Capri is the main centre on the Island of the same name, located off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the southern side of the Gulf of Naples, and has two adjoining harbours, Marina Piccola and Marina Grande (the main port of the island).
It has been a celebrated resort since the time of the Roman Republic. During the summer, the island is a destination for thousands of tourists coming every day from Naples, Sorrento and other harbours.

Info

  • Population: about 7,100 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 80073
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 081
  • Patron Saint: St. Constantius of Aquino, celebrated on May 14
  • Frazioni & Localities: Marina Grande.

How to reach it

From the Capodichino Airport, there is an "Alibus" departing every 30 minutes from the Airport (right outside the Arrivals terminal) that goes directly to the port, stopping only at Naples Central Station in about 30 minutes; ferry or hydrofoil leave from the docks of Naples, Sorrento and, in the summer period, from various locations of the Amalfi Coast. A helicopter service from the airports of Naples Capodichino or Rome Fiumicino, landing at the Damecuta heliport in Anacapri.

History - Antiquity

According to the Greek geographer Strabo, Capri was once united to the mainland, which was recently confirmed both by geological surveys and archaeological findings, and was inhabited since very early times. According to Suetonius, when the foundations for the villa of Augustus were being excavated, giant bones and 'weapons of stone' were discovered, which the emperor ordered to be displayed in the garden of his main residence, the Sea Palace, one of the first displays of fossils in the world.

Tacitus records that there were twelve Imperial villas in Capri (or Capreae, as it was spelled in Latin). Augustus's successor Tiberius also built a series of villas at Capri, the most famous of which is the Villa Jovis, one of the best preserved Roman villas in Italy. In 27, Tiberius permanently moved to Capri, running the Empire from there until his death in 37 AD.

History - the Middle Ages

After the end of the Western Roman Empire, Capri suffered various attacks by pirates. In 866 Emperor Louis II gave the island to Amalfi. In 1496 a diplom by Frederick IV of Naples established legal and administrative parity between the two settlements of Capri and Anacapri. The pirate raids reached their peak during the reign of Charles V: the famous Turkish admirals Khair ad-Din and Dragut sacked the island in 1535 and 1553, respectively.

History - from the Renaissance onward

The first famous visitor of the island was the French Jean Jacques Bourchard, in the 17th century. His diary, found in 1850, is an important source about the situation of Capri at the time. In January 1806, French troops occupied the island but the British ousted the French troops in the May of the same year and turned Capri into a powerful naval base (a "Second Gibilterra"), causing heavy damage to the archaeological sites.

Joachim Murat conquered Capri in 1808, and the French remained here until the end of the Napoleonic era (1815), when he was given back to the Bourbon ruling house of Naples. In the 2nd half of the 19th century, Capri became a popular resort for european artists, writers and other celebrities.

What to see

  • The Belvedere of Tragara, which is a high panoramic promenade lined with villas.
  • The 'Faraglioni', limestone masses that stand out of the sea.
  • The central Piazzetta, lined with luxury boutiques, restaurants, and paparazzi chasing celebrities.
  • The ruins of the Imperial Roman villas.

Where to stay