The Golden Palate
CAPRI IS A TIMELESS, elegant, beautiful island in the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Naples—a famous resort since the time of the Roman Republic.
Prized for its breathtaking scenery and strategic location, Capri almost doesn’t seem real. The famed Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto) is a must—wear a bathing suit if you want to swim, it’s not permitted, but for a few Euros your gondolier will likely look the other way. Chartering a private boat is a great way to explore the island and find the best places to swim. Stroll the pedestrian-only paths, preferably in the evening or early morning when it is so peaceful. The island of Capri has two towns, Capri being the more exclusive with luxurious boutiques from famed international designers, and Anacapri, on the western side of the island, the only area to enjoy a sunset on the island. Take a ride up the chairlift to the summit of Monte Solaro to enjoy breathtaking views.
My favorite place to stay is the Grand Hotel Qvisisana, with private park-like grounds with towering palms and huge pine trees, centered around a beautiful pool overlooking the sea, casual La Colombaia restaurant, and famous spa (with an indoor pool featuring high power jets). Breakfast is extravagant, and worth a beautiful morning walk (or climb as the case may be). I enjoy the Faraglioni Walk to the Arco Naturale (there are hundreds of steps involved, you will be sweating). Another favorite is the exclusive Punta Tragara, directly overlooking the Faraglioni with elegant resturant Le Monzu. In Anacapri, choose either the Capri Palace Hotel or Hotel Caesar Augustus.
The locals are proud of their Neapolitan heritage and exquisite local bounty, the food doesn’t get any better or fresher. Seafood
is exceptional (try Pezzogna, a local white fish), local tomatoes, basil, eggplant, zucchini blossoms, olive oil, fresh fruit, and mozzarella di bufala from the surrounding areas of Campania. Everything tastes incredible here! Enjoy al dente pasta with simple, flavorful ingredients, or a classic Neapolitan pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven.
Do lunch at one of Capri’s beach clubs, which your hotel concierge can arrange. Choose to walk (it’s a hike to most) or come and go by boat. My favorites are La Canzone del Mare (Song of the Sea) in Marina Piccola—consider walking there, the downhill stroll through the Gardens of Augustus and the Via Krupp is breathtaking. Nearby Da Gioia is another option. Bring a swimsuit and change of clothes so you can take a dip in the sea and catch some sun. Other “La Dolce Vita” favorites are La Fontellina and Da Luigi (situated on either side of the Faraglioni), and Lido del Faro by the Punta Carena lighthouse in Anacapri. In Anacapri, visit Limoncello di Capri’s tasting room.
Restaurants to visit include: Aurora, Capannina, Il Geranio, Michelin-starred Mamma’ and Michelangelo in Capri. In Anacapri, visit seaside Michelin-starred Il Riccio (Sea Urchin Pasta), and the dramatic Terrazza di Lucullo, with spectacular views at the Caesar Augustus.
Another uniquely Capri experience is dining in the lemon grove at Da Paolino.
On the Amalfi Coast, a short ferry ride from Capri, my favorite places to stay are Hotel Santa Caterina (perched on a bluff overlooking the sea, draped in bougainvillea and lemon groves in Amalfi), Le Sirenuse, overlooking the dramatic green duomo and resort town of Positano, Il San Pietro di Positano, and Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello, a town high above the coast known for its summer concerts. The food at all four hotels is excellent. For eating out, try Da Gemma in Amalfi, Chez Black or La Cambusa by the dock in Positano, and La Tagliata, high in the mountains overlooking Positano. Look for local wines by Marisa Cuomo in Furore. For limoncello fans, visit Antichi Sapori d’Amalfi in Amalfi, they have dozens of flavors for sample and purchase. My favorite is Meloncello, made with canteloupe. Cin Cin!