Capri – Italy, Europe
Capri is an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples, in the Campania region of Southern Italy. It has been a resort since the time of the Roman Republic. Features of the island are the Marina Piccola (the little harbour), the Belvedere of Tragara, which is a high panoramic promenade lined with villas, the limestone crags called sea stacks that project above the sea (the Faraglioni), Anacapri, the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), and the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas. Capri is part of the region of Campania, Province of Naples. The town of Capri is the main centre of population on the island. It has two harbours, Marina Piccola and Marina Grande (the main port of the island). The separate comune of Anacapri is located high on the hills to the west.
The etymology of the name Capri is unclear; it might either be traced back to the Ancient Greeks (Ancient Greek kapros meaning “wild boar”), the first recorded colonists to populate the island. But it could also derive from Latin capreae (goats). Fossils of wild boars have been discovered, lending credence to the “kapros” etymology, but on the other hand the Romans called Capri “goat island”. Finally, there is also the possibility the name derives from an Etruscan word for “rocky”, though any historical Etruscan rule of the island is disputed. In January 1806, French troops occupied the island. The British ousted the French troops that May; Capri was turned into a powerful naval base (a “Second Gibraltar”), but the building program caused heavy damage to the archaeological sites. The French reconquered Capri in 1808, and remained there until the end of the Napoleonic era (1815), when Capri was returned to the Bourbon ruling house of Naples.In the 19th century, the natural scientist Ignazio Cerio catalogued the flora and fauna of the island. This work was continued by his son, the author and engineer Edwin Cerio, who wrote several books on life in Capri in the 20th century.
Norman Douglas, Friedrich Alfred Krupp, Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen, Christian Wilhelm Allers, Emil von Behring, Curzio Malaparte, Axel Munthe, and Maxim Gorky are all reported to have owned a villa there, or to have stayed there for more than three months. Swedish Queen Victoria often stayed there. Rose O’Neill, the American illustrator and creator of the Kewpie, owned the Villa Narcissus, formerly owned by the famous Beaux Art painter Charles Caryl Coleman. Gracie Fields also had a villa on the island, though her 1934 song “The Isle of Capri” was written by two Englishmen. Mariah Carey owns a villa on the island. In 1908, Vladimir Ilic Ulianov, also known as Lenin, was hosted by Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, also known as Maxim Gorky, a Russian, Soviet author, at his house near the Giardini Augusto. In 1970 a monument by Giacomo Manzù was erected during the centennial celebration in his honour.
Capri is a tourist destination for both Italians and foreigners. In the 1950s, Capri became a popular destination. In summer, the island is heavily visited by tourists, especially by day trippers from Naples and Sorrento. Capri is served by ferry or hydrofoil from Naples, Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi as well as by boat services from the ports of the Bay of Naples and the Sorrentine Peninsula. Naples is served by two ports, Mergellina and Molo Beverello. Molo Beverello has a higher frequency of departures and a larger selection of boats than Mergellina. From Naples, the ferry takes 80 minutes, and the hydrofoil 40 minutes. From Sorrento, the ferry takes about 40 minutes while the hydrofoil takes about 20 minutes. Boats call at Marina Grande, from where a funicular goes up to Capri town. From Anacapri town, a chair lift takes passengers to the top of the island.