Having just returned from a wonderful two days off, it’s clear that La Dolce Vita is alive and kicking on the captivating island of Capri. A short boat ride from Naples and surrounded by rocky slopes and azure waters, this Italian island is quite simply one of the best ways to spend a weekend.
All those who have had the pleasure of visiting Capri know that there are two very different ways of experiencing the same island. There’s the mass-tourist one, full of tourists being ferried over from Naples, goggling at the Blue Grotto and browsing the tat at the souvenir stalls down in Marina Grande. And then there’s the one we prefer, the quieter, more private place.
For us, the latter version begins with arriving at La Fontelina Beach Club, one of Capri’s classics, and perhaps one of the most beautiful beach clubs in all of Italy. It’s the kind of place where you’ll end up sitting next to a high profile politician or famous actor. After lunch, we hop on boats that take us to the island’s lofty second town, Anacapri. Although this town has more of a rural feel than its cousin below, we’ve chosen to stay at the rather luxurious Capri Palace Hotel, an ancient Neapolitan palace of the 1700s featuring sweeping views over the entire Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvio, Sorrento and Ischia.Wherever you’re staying, there’s one Capri ritual you simply can’t miss: an evening aperitivo in the Piazzetta. This lounge-sized square at the high point of Capri town feels like a film set, and sooner or later, all those visiting Capri come to watch the world go by. After spending an hour or so doing exactly that, we head to Villa Verde, a restaurant filled with classic Mediterranean flavours.
The morning after, inspired by the warm early summer weather, we decide to give Il Riccio Beach Club a chance. Owned by Capri Palace and surrounded by the natural beauties of the Aegean, this place is unsurprisingly really quite smashing. Inspired by the sea, the tables are as blue as the sky and the glass enclosed cooking areas are garnished with hand painted majolica tiles. It proves to be the perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon.
We almost stay at the hotel for dinner too (their restaurant is apparently sublime and an old favourite of Aristotle Onassis) but instead opt for Aurora – for generations just another family owned trattoria, albeit one that built up a faithful VIP clientele. Apparently, Uma Thurman once arrived without a booking and had to queue just like anyone else. True or not, a decade ago it reopened after a makeover that gave it a warm yet minimalistic vibe, focusing more on presentation and perhaps the best wine list of Capri. We’re glad to say that, although perhaps more refined, the menu still centres on local specialities such as spaghetti with garlic, anchovies, olives and breadcrumbs, or the thin and crunchy pizza all’acqua.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Naples three times daily. Alitalia flies from London Heathrow to Naples via Rome three times daily, from £144. From May to October, hydrofoils run between Naples’s port and the island every half hour from 9am to 6pm.