Capri, Italy 2021 Walking Tour - 4K - with Captions
Welcome to Capri, Italy! Here at the Marina Grande you can find boat tours that will take you around the island, including to the Blue Grotto. This is also where all the ferry boats arrive that are coming from Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Capri is located in the Bay of Naples just off the Sorrento Peninsula in the Campania region of Italy. Marina Grande is the main port of Capri and lies along the island's northern coastline. There is another smaller port on the opposite side of the island called Marina Piccola. The island is divided into two sections, Anacapri on the west, and Capri on East.
Right now, we are directly below the main town of Capri which is accessible by foot, by taxi, by bus or by taking the funicolare. Some hotels will provide staff who will pick up your luggage and bring it directly to the hotel. For those who want to take a bus or the funicolare, you will first need to purchase a ticket here on the right.
To the left is where you can purchase ferry tickets. There is a small beach here, which extends past this building, and another beach on the opposite side of the island at the Marina Piccola. There are no other beaches. Most visitors who come to Capri to go swimming, do it by boat. Nearly the entire coastline, except at the two ports, is made up of high rocky cliffs.
A taxi ride to the Marina Piccola will cost you €20, while a bus ticket only costs €2. Here on the right is the Capri bus station where you can get a bus to the main town of Capri, Anacapri or the Marina Piccola. A boat ride around the island will cost around €20 per person plus an additional €14 per person to enter the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto). You can also access the Blue Grotto by bus(€2), followed by a few flights of stairs down the cliff to the water.
The Blue Grotto is by far the most popular tourist attraction on the island. The island has several grottos to explore, including the white, green and blue. All three can be seen in the upcoming Capri Boat Tour video. Here is the entrance to the Funicolare, a cable car that runs from the Marina Grande up to the main piazza of Capri, the Piazzetta. The ride takes about 5 minutes. Here on the right you can see three flavors of a Granita, a frozen slushy drink that originated in Sicily. A small granita usually only costs €1.
A shot of espresso also typically only costs €1. During peak season, the waiting line to get into the Glue Grotto can be extremely long. Visitors typically spend less than 5 minutes in side. You can find handmade sandal shops all over Capri and other popular tourist sites along the Amalfi Coast.
Up ahead there is a set of stairs, called Via Truglio, which leads up to the main piazza of Capri. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk down and about 20 to walk up. I do not recommend trying to walk up with your luggage though. Beginning in the mid-19th century, the island became a popular tourist destination for European artists, writers and celebrities. Two million tourists now visit each year and tourism has become the only industry on the island. For many of the 14,000 residents living on the island, tourism is their livelihood.
Gasoline here cots €1.98 per liter which is about $8.90 per gallon. Here you can see the tourist port of Capri. The port as it is today was built in 1928. Prior to that, large moored up in the bay and visitors took small boats into the port. Monte Salaro can be seen in the background and its peak is Capri’s highest point at 589 meters. The tourist season in Capri begins at Easter and ends in the first week of November. During the height of tourist season, up to 20,000 tourists arrive by ferry every day.
About eighty percent of these tourists are day-trippers, many of which are part of large tour groups. Only residents of the island are allowed to bring a car onto the island between Easter and November We are now going to take the Funicolare up to the Piazza Umberto I, more commonly known as La Piazzetta. The railway is 670 metres (2,200 ft) long and climbs a vertical distance of 139 metres (456 ft). The original railway line was built in 1907. The funicolare was rebuilt in 1958 and then again in 1991. It underwent a major renovation in 2018.
The steep rocky cliffs of Monte Salaro divide the island of Capri into its two towns, Capri and Anacapri. The quieter and more peaceful town of Anacapri is located high up on the western side of the island. The Greek prefix ana- actually means “up” or “above.” The town of Capri is the busier and more touristy part of the island. The clock tower called the Torre del Orologio is the symbol of the piazza below and is also known as the “Campanile della Piazzetta.”
From this famous belvedere , known as "the loggetta," we can admire the provincial road and the Phoenician staircase that climb towards Anacapri as well as enjoy the evocative views of the island and its sea. The origins of the clock tower are unclear. Some believe it was originally a watch tower while others think it was the bell tower to a now destroyed church. People have been living right here for nearly 3,000 years. Look up by the clock tower and to the left you can see part of an old Roman wall.
We are now at the Piazza Umberto I, more commonly known as La Piazzetta meaning "little square." Here you can enjoy the most expensive coffee on the island. :) For many years the piazza was the site of the local fish and produce market. This piazza has been a gathering point since Roman times.
In the 1930’s, the owner of a café decided to arrange his chairs and tables outside in the little square. From that moment on, the Piazzetta has been the place to see and be seen on the island. To our left is the Church of Santo Stefano which we will visit shortly, but first we will take a walk down a narrow path. I've been to Capri quite a few times at this point, and this was my first time walking down this side street. The earliest recorded inhabitants on the island were the Greek people known as the Teleboi who arrived in the 8th Century BC. The early Greeks left their mark on the island with 921 steps that join Capri with Anacapri, known as the Phoenician Steps.
The steps are carved into the rock face and are believed to have been built between the 7th and 6th Century BC. You can't seem them well, but the steps are on the far right edge of the cliff face in the distance. This church was built 1661 and 1685 at the wish of Mother Serafina who ran the convent next door.
Next door we find the Convent of the Teresian nuns. Although many of the houses of the old nuns are now private homes, we can still walk around the portico and breathe in the history. To the ancient Greeks, the island was known as Cauros or Kapros, meaning wild boar. I went up these steps but there were just closed doors.
To the Romans, the island was known as Caprae, which is Latin for goats. Caesar Augustus first visited Capri in 29 BC and fell in love with the island’s beauty. This path continues out to the best view on the island at the Belvedere di Punta Cannone, but it added an additional 20 minutes to the walk, so decided to cut it out. Emperor Augustus liked Capri so much that in 6 BC, he traded the island of Ischia for the island of Capri with the city of Naples. On a clear day, the silhouette of Ischia can be seen in the distance. It is about 18 miles (28 Km) away.
Ischia is a volcanic island that has seen multiple eruptions over the centuries that would often devastate the island. Capri on the other hand is simply a large block of limestone that broke away from the mainland. This meant that Emperor Augustus could build villas here without having to worry about them being destroyed by a volcanic eruption. In 1826, German author and painter August Kopisch, visited the island for an extended period of time.
During his stay on the island he heard of a little known grotto that the superstitious locals had refused to enter for centuries. Joined by his friend Ernst Fries, the pair entered the grotto to discover the brightly illuminated waters within. The two friends also discovered several ancient Roman artifacts inside. Together they named the grotto La Grotta Azzurra, The Blue Grotto.
In his 1838 book, Discovery of the Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri, August detailed his rediscovery of the Blue Grotto with the rest of the world. The book, along with his paintings of the Blue Grotto, sparked a wave of fascination with Capri that continues today. By the mid-19th century, Capri had become a hot spot for European writers and artists. We will now take a short tour around the most famous fashion boutique on the island, La Parisienne.
La Parisenne first opened its doors in 1906 and has been in the same location ever since. Donna Mariuccia began her journey by making clothes for the Russian nobility who moved to Capri on the run from the revolution. During WWII, Donna made scarves for American pilots and even used their parachutes to make wedding dresses.
This is where Jackie Onassis bought her Capri pants; where Clark Gable got a tailored made jacket; where Rita Hayworth came to buy a Polka dot dress. Jackie O was known to buy several pairs of custom made white Capri pants while on the island since she never wanted to carry any luggage. Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor all wore Capris, but Jackie O made them famous. After buying a pair of Capri pants, be sure to sit and enjoy an authentic Caprese Salad, made from sliced tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and olive oil.
Notice the stairs to right in the coffee shop. You can enjoy your coffee on a terrace overlooking the piazza. Pretty amazing. This is the path that leads right back down to the Marina Grande. We will now take a tour of the former cathedral of Capri, the Church of Santo Stefano. This church was built in 1685 on the site of a Benedectine monastery which dated back to 580 AD. The clock tower in the piazza is believed to be the only remaining trace of the original 6th century monastery.
Part of the floor was made with the marble taken from the Villa Jovis on the east side of the island. It is here that the tombs of the Arcucci family are preserved, which were moved from the Carthusian monastery after 1810, and also the tomb of God's servant Mother Serafina. It was during that time when Capri was getting popular with artists and writers that the British doctor George Sidney Clark arrived on the island to open a clinic. Doctor Clark believed that the island’s mild Mediterranean climate had health giving properties. This path to the right leads back up around the church and to the piazza again.
The line to get gelato here can get quite long at times! There is an ATM to the left...just in case you need to know. :) Doctor Clark opened his clinic in 1845 and called it Quisisana, which means, “here one heals.” This is an entrance to the Hotel La Palma.
I think the plan is to eventually turn this into a garden but right now....there is not much here. By 1861, the island’s popularity among European high society had increased dramatically and the good doctor converted his sanatorium into a hotel. After Clark’s death, the hotel was sold and construction began on a new west wing. During construction, dinosaur bones were found which can now be seen in Capri’s Cerio Foundation Museum. After several remodels and new additions, including a theater, the Quisisana Hotel is now one of the largest buildings on the island. We are now going to walk to the Garden of Augustus with a couple stops, first at the Hotel Luna and then at the famous perfume shop, Carthusia.
Here on the right is one of the Carthusia perfume shops but it is closed today. Don't worry, we will check out their factory in a little bit. This area is all part of the Hotel Luna grounds. The flower growing over the pergola is known as a Pink Bougainvillea.
Between May and September the cost for a standard room at the Hotel Luna costs around $400 per night. A suite with a view of the sea will cost around $900 per night. The hotel includes a pool as well as gym with views of the sea and the Faraglioni rocks. This is what a Saturday looks like out on the water in mid-June in Capri.
The Faraglioni Rocks are Capri's most iconic site. We are heading over to the monastery shortly. You can see its tan roof over to the right. You could be here enjoying a breakfast looking out over the famous Faraglioni rocks of Capri. The Hotel Luna is next to the old monastery of Carthusian monks, known as the Charterhouse of San Giacomo, built in 1371.
In 1380, the Father Prior put together a bouquet of local flowers when he heard the news of Queen Joan of Anjou coming to Capri. The flowers remained in water for several days and after they were thrown out, the Prior noticed the water had gained a pleasing fragrance. This water become Capri’s first perfume. Over 500 years later, in 1948, the old perfume formula was found by the Prior of the Charterhouse.
A small laboratory was created to produce the perfume and the Prior called it “Carthusia” after the Carthusian monastery. In the early 20th century, German industrialist Friedrich Alfred Krupp intended to build large villa near this location. Krupp died in 1902 and his mansion was never built but he was able to complete a large garden and a new path from the gardens down to the Marina Piccola. The gardens were originally named Krupp Gardens but in 1918, the name was changed to the Gardens of Augustus after the famous Roman emperor. The green booth to the right is the ticket office and the entrance is usually €1 but today the gardens are free to enter. From the gardens it is possible to see a panoramic view of the island which includes Mount Solaro, the bay of Marina Piccola, and the Faraglioni.
Gotta get those Instagram pics! We are now looking out over the bay in front of the Marina Piccola. Here you again see a partial view of the monastery on the left where we will be going next. I will be posting up a boat tour of Capri soon where you can see what it is like to be down there in the water. The winding road below the gardens, called Via Krupp, is another one of Krupp’s legacies. The footpath, built between 1900 and 1902, joins the garden area with the Marina Piccola.
Via Krupp is currently closed due to the danger of falling rocks and has only been open a few times since 1976. We are now on our way to the Saint James' Charterhouse (Certosa San Giacomo). The English name for a Carthusian monastery is a charterhouse. In Italian, the name is a Certosa. The Carthusian order of monks date back to 1084 and come from the Chartreuse Mountains in southeastern France.
It was pretty hot out and I thought about stopping for a lemon granita but decided I should continue filming. The charterhouse was built in 1371 by Count Giacomo Arcucci on land donated by the Queen of Naples, Joanna I. In 1373, the Queen sent the Fathers to the island to inhabit the Certosa. The Certosa suffered serious damage due to Saracen pirate raids and after 1563 it underwent a major restoration. From here we are looking into the church which was built in the 14th century. Inside the charterhouse, the monks devoted their lives to contemplation, silence and solitude.
There were two types of monks in a Carthusian monastery: the choir monks, also called hermits, and the lay brothers. The life of a lay brother was one of manual labor. They were meant to assist the choir monks by cooking meals, doing laundry and providing them with books. This is the Chiostro Grande which is the central part of the charterhouse, around which twelve houses of the monks are arranged.
In 1553, the charterhouse was attacked and burned by the pirate Dragut. The large cloister was added during the restoration work in 1563, along with a look-out and defensive tower. During the time of the plague in 1656, the monks locked themselves inside the charterhouse.
The locals were upset with the monks for not helping the general public. In an act of retribution, the locals took the corpses of the monks who had died, and threw them over the cliff. In 1808, the island was attacked by Joseph Bonaparte who banished the monks from the island forever and who confiscated the assets of the Certosa. After the monks were forced to leave, the Certosa fell into decline and was used for a variety of purposes. The Certosa was used as a jail, a hospital, an army barracks, and a military prison. The Certosa is now the location of the local high school as well as a museum and library.
Unfortunately, the trail out to the back side of the Certosa was closed off on this day. There are two really great scenic viewpoints. This is the Chiostro Piccolo. The chiostrino, or little cloister, dates to the foundation of the Certosa and was intended to be the center of life at the monastery. Several of the capitals on the marble columns date to the 1st century AD and most likely come from the imperial villa. This is the Diefenbach Museum.
German painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach came to Capri in 1900 and painted over 300 works until his death in 1913. Diefenbach’s work has been on display in the Refettorio of the Charterhouse since 1974. The next site on our tour will be Via Camerelle, an avenue with upscale shops, hotels and restaurants. The narrow street to the rights leads right up to Via Camerelle, but we will start at the beginning near the Grand Hotel Quisisana. This luxury shopping street dates back to Roman times when it was a stone path joining the center of the island with the imperial villa of Tragara.
In Roman times, the road, originally name Via Anticaglia, was lined with over 40 tanks, believed to be cisterns used to collect fresh water. The giant tanks were opened up on the side facing the road during the middle ages and were used to store livestock. Many of those ancient cisterns were eventually adapted into these luxurious boutiques. The archway entrances to the shops on the left are part of the ancient cisterns. The Roman road was built above the cisterns. This is the road that leads back down to the Certosa.
In 1879, a German named Adolf Kottgen built his villa on one of the ancient Tiberian cisterns. This large building to the left was his, the Villa Pompeiana. Hmmm, the gate appears to be open. Let's go have a look. The Roman road was built to join the imperial villa of Tragara with the center of the island. Capri was a favorite island retreat for Emperor Tiberius Agusustus. He had a total of 12 massive villas on the island.
One of the villas was built on the site where the Garden of Augustus now stands. We are now heading out to the Belvedere Tragara which offers a beautiful view of the south side of the island. Emperor Tiberius' twelve villas were each dedicated to one of the twelve god's of Olympus. The largest of the twelve villas was the Villa Jovis (Villa ofJupiter).
Tiberius spent ten years living on Capri, ruling Rome from his Villa Jovis with a lingering fear of assassination. I did not visit the Villa Jovis during this visit to Capri but I do have a walking tour video of the villa on my channel. After Tiberius died, the island seems to have been little visited by the emperors, and we hear of it only as a place of banishment for the wife and sister of Commodus. Capri has a long history of being the ‘island of exiles.’ On March 17th, 180 AD, the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius died and his son Commodus came into power.
In 182, Commodus’ wife Crispina and his sister Lucilla became involved in a plot to have him assassinated. The assassination attempt failed and Commodus had his wife, his sister and her daughters banished to Capri. A year after being exiled to Capri, Commodus sent a centurion to the island and had them all executed.
Over a thousand years later, in 1810, a Roman sarcophagus was found after the French army sacked the Church of San Costanzo at Marina Grande. Inside was a skeleton, believed to be Crispina, wrapped in robes and adorned with gold jewelry. The sarcophagus is now kept on the terrace of the former Hotel Blue Grotto and viewing is available upon request. Ruins of his Villa Tragara, where we are heading now, could still be seen in the 19th century.
The Via Tragara continues down the path to the right. We will head down there after checking out the view. To the left is the Punta Tragara Hotel. This five-star hotel was originally a private villa built in 1920 by the Lombardy-born engineer Emilio Vismara. The private home was used as an American command base during WWII and was eventually converted to a hotel in 1973. This path continues all the way to the Arco Naturale which we will see shortly, but first we we will head down to the beach clubs at the base of the Faraglioni Rocks.
To the left is the Pizzolungo Trail leading out to the Arco Naturale. The first beach club opened up in 1936 and quickly attracted film starts, models and politicians. The beach clubs, like many other businesses in Capri, are open from the end of April to the 1st of October.