Have you been to Capri? If you haven’t, you want to go. If you have, you want to go back. This enigmatic gem of the Mediterranean is among the most exclusive destinations in the world. Hollywood celebrities, monarchs and heads of state can be seen lounging on its famous Piazzetta, from which you might deduce that this is not exactly a cheap holiday option. And you would be right of course. The cheapest thing you could do in Capri probably is to jump on a boat and go back to Naples. Still, if you are lucky enough to spend a day in Capri on your business trip or travel incentive, there’s no reason not to make the best of it, trying not to break the bank in the process. We’ll be honest: there isn’t an awful lot you can do in Capri for free, but certain types of beauty, luckily, will always be available to anyone who wants to enjoy them. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you pack your most comfortable shoes, because you will be walking a lot. Not only because transportation is expensive, but mostly because walking up and down the countless stairways that connect streets, alleys and piazzas is the best way of taking in the beauty of the island.
1. Visit the Cetrella Hermitage
The area known as Cetrella can be found a short walk away from the peak of Mount Solaro. While most tourists reach it using the local chairlift, a moderately expert hiker could easily climb up its 2000 ft. However you decide to get to the top of the mountain, take some time to enjoy what is probably the most beautiful view in Capri. The gulf, the Faraglioni, the deep blue sea and the Sorrento Peninsula will open before you like a beautiful, painting. Once you have catched your breath and taken as many photos as your camera will allow, you can start the descent and stroll leisurely to the Cetrella Hermitage. The name is of dubious origin. Some believe it to come from “erba cetra”, an old name for lemon grass, which is abundant in these parts. But it could also be traced back to Venus Cytherea, the goddes to which, according to a local legend, a local temple was dedicated. The hermitage comprises a small church with a steeple, a vegetable patch and a small convent. Nowadays, it is managed and looked after by voluntary workers and it is therefore not always open to the public. Make sure you check with the local tourist agency before climbing up. Although, to be fair, the view alone is worth the effort.
2. Have a stroll down via Krupp: the most famous street in Capri
Via Krupp has been described as one of the most beautiful streets in the world. It was built at the beginning of the XX Century to connect the seaside area known as Marina Piccola to the Gardens of Augustus and the Certosa di San Giacomo. It is a winding and cobbled pathway that climbs up the side of the mountain. Since it had to go from sea level to a height of over 300 ft, it was designed as a succession of hairpin bends so complex and elegant as to look like they have been hewn from the rock by the forces of nature. This also means that walking along via Krupp you will access different perspective points of view, which will make your experience of the local landscape absolutely unique and your Facebook photo album much more varied. The pathway was commissioned by German businessman Friedrich Alfred Krupp, this much we know for sure. The official version of the story is that Krupp wanted to connect his hotel (the famous Quisisana) to Marina Piccola, where one of his yachts was docked. It later emerged that Krupp also wanted the street built because it allowed him to reach the Fra Felice Grotto, which he would visit in secret to take part in amorous encounters with several local young girls. The street was closed in 1976 due to a landslide and reopened in 2008.
3. Visit a philosophical park
What’s a philosophical park? Something you will only ever find in this part of Italy. Specifically in Capri. More specifically, in the slightly less glamorous and more affordable area known as Anacapri. In the Migliera Park you will find a glorious example of the Maquis shrubland that is typical of Southern Italy. Take a moment to stop, sit down and relax. Breathe in the fragrant smells and be aware of the fact that they will forever be a part of your Italian experience, as the scents of the Mediterranean bushland, once smelled, stay with you forever and latch onto your memories so that a sprig of rosemary will be enough to make you feel melancholy for the rest of your life. This might be a slight overstatement, but if the whole essence of Southern Italy could be concentrated in one moment, it would probably be a hot summer day in the shrubland, with the air thick with the scent of rosemary and lemon grass and the constant chirping of invisible chicadas. Why do we call the Migliera a “philosophical” park? Because of Prof. Gunnar Adler Karlsson made it so, by asking local artists to paint philosophical quotes on ceramic tiles and had them disseminated through the park, as an aid for contemplation to those wishing to spend time communing with nature.Travelling to Italy on business? Schedule a team-building day!