Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Capri – island of beauty and hedonism

Even Italians like to let their hair down in the summer months. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the island of Capri, off the coast of Naples, has been drawing lovers of beauty and a good time for centuries.

Depending on who you believe, the island gets its name from the goats, or wild boars, that used to roam the island before it was inhabited. One thing not up for debate is the stunning scenery. Limestone cliffs surround the island, creating a natural defense that’s as charming to look at as it is hazardous to climb. It’s within these limestone walls that one of the island’s major attractions lies – the Blue Grotto. You’ll need a boat to sail into this cave and to be lucky with the tides. The shape of the cave mouth lets sunlight in under the water, resulting in a magical blue shimmering that illuminates the inside of the cave.

The island has been popular since the late 19th century, when artists and writers flocked to its serenity, seeking inspiration and a place to write and paint. The likes of John Singer Sargent and Frank Hyde, were succeeded by Gracie Fields, Claude Debussy and countless Hollywood stars. The local artist community also helped make the island a safe-haven for the gay and lesbian community, who found its creativity and freedom to express a breath of fresh air.

Thankfully, you never have to travel far to reconnect with the charm and natural beauty that helped Capri make its name.