Naples, Capri and the Amalfi Coast

Naples

 

As I flew south over the Italian Alps, I felt like I was returning home. At sixteen I was lucky enough to have a father that moved us to Naples where I had a great time and this was the first time I was returning in nearly forty years. . Naples is an old, beautiful and decadent city. I am just spending a night here as I am on my way to Capri. I stayed in The Grand Hotel Oriente. Very cool hotel and a spacious suite with all the mod cons and a roof top bar and restaurant with stunning views of the city. I chose the hotel as it was near the port for my ferry the next day. As soon as I checked in I went to find a Pizza Margarita with anchovies which is where these pizzas were invented. Mozzarella, basil, tomatoes and anchovies. It was as fantastic as I remembered it from forty years ago. The streets at night could be risky but I felt no danger, and walked into the area surrounding my Hotel. Cafes, restaurants and bars were all full of people enjoying the warn night in February in the Piazzas and streets.

 

The next day the sun was up and from the roof I had a spectacular view of the city below me and the active volcano of Vesuvius. After a good breakfast with excellent Italian coffee I took a cab to the Port.

  • Naples is an old, beautiful and decadent city
  • Pizza Margarita with anchovies which is where these pizzas were invented
  • The boats are Hydrofoils to zoom you to Capri

Capri

 

There are several islands that this port services so you have to check out which boat is yours. The boats are Hydrofoils so zoom you to Capri or where ever and in my experience were very efficient. Unfortunately the window were pretty dirty so photography is tough, but you do go out into the beautiful blue Naples Bay past Vesuvius and in the distance I could see the Island of Capri. To understand the beauty of Capri just think that Roman Emperors summered here!. Now we are out of season travelers, and this cannot be more apparent than when visiting Capri in February. When I say nothing is open I am not really exaggerating. All the hotels are shut, all the restaurants are shut except two beautiful places, and the only people on the Island arelocals and the occasional Asian day trippers who come for the day from Naples, and of course me. I rented an AirBnB which was a walk from the Piazzetta reached from Marina Grande by the Funicolare or bus. There is basically two roads on Capri. One goes from Marina Grande over the Island to Marina Piccola, this route also gets you to The Piazzetta and the road from Piazzetta to Ana Capri, the rest are sidewalks. There is a porter service so if you have a lot of luggage you can order these people and they come in golf carts. Probably wise but I carried mine and by the time I reached my apartment I was soaked in sweat. The sidewalks are up and down. My terrace faced west, I had a garden and the Med was there through the trees. The flat itself was very spacious, had a great kitchen and bathrooms etc. The super market, full of everything fresh and delicious, was another walk so remember not to buy too much as you will be lugging it back and have to change again.

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You can rent mopeds easily which is fine, but I walked. It is mountainous but the views and the lanes are all so pretty with villas clinging to the cliffs so charming that the slow pace of life is part and parcel of the trip. If you do get tired there are buses that can take you home. The colours of the sea just make you want to dive in and you can.

A trip to Capri has to involve La Grotta Azzurra . Now if you know the Grotta you know that, to enter you have to lie flat in your boat as the tunnel is low, You also have to transfer boats from the ones that take you there, to the ones that take you in.

A trip to Capri has to involve La Grotta Azzurra . Now if you know the Grotta you know that, to enter you have to lie flat in your boat as the tunnel is low, You also have to transfer boats from the ones that take you there, to the ones that take you in. In Winter a larger than usual swell basically closes the Grotta. Any way it turns out that although the Grotta Azzurro is the place Capri has a lot of Grottas, blue, of the heart, of the Madonna etc, so I took a boat and went round the whole Island and visited The Faraglioni, the trio of sea giants, cruised through the arch visited grottas with the red coral, a blue that is extremely pleasing to the eyes and rock formations from years ago. The Via Krupp, built by Mr. Krupp so he could walk from his hotel to his marine lab, or so he said. It is an historic switch back paved path that ends at Marina Piccola. I feel Mr. Krupp must have been quite fit as the walk up gets you breathing.

I love Capri, Coming home to my place in the evening having spent a day looking at the Island from the boat, I was reminded at how impressive the views are from Capri. Naples, the ever present Vesuvius and The Amalfi Coast sit it this azure wonderland.

The Amalfi Coast

 

If you have ever seen the pottery from this region you will know that it is basically three colours. Blue for the sea, yellow for the Sun and green for the beautiful flowers and trees. I took the boat from Capri to Sorrento, just a half hour ride on a Tremeti to the Port. Pretty cool as you come into the harbour in the shadow of big cliffs. My hotel, The Parco Dei Principi, sat on top of this cliff and looked down on us as we arrived. Cool spot, highly recommend it. My view was of Capri, Naples and Vesuvius.

Now although the local population fill up the streets in the day, a lot of things here are also closed, so talk to your concierge. I ate in my hotel with fantastic service with a few other guests. After Dinner I walked into town and had a Grappa in a café with a view of Naples at night.

To do the drive which is from Sorrento to Amalfi, I suggest you rent a Mercedes with a driver/guide. As we are in February the traffic jam that is the Amalfi Drive in Summer is now a spectacular mountain road that hugs the cliffs giving view after view all filled with lemon trees. This is the land of Limoncello. We stopped and I was shown an overlook of Positano, people in this part of the World do not need gyms, everything is on a cliff and is a steep walk up. Amalfi with its beautiful church and villas, restaurants and bars open for lunch, ferries that dock on the beach and the crystal clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, is one of life’s pleasures.

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