I had read that Capri was very touristy and that most people just come for a day trip so I was worried that spending two full days and nights there would be too much. I was so wrong – I could have stayed for a week on Capri and been happy. It was actually my favorite spot. I was happy to have seen Positano but if we went back, I would skip it to spend more time on Capri, which is so peaceful, serene and beautiful.
Our second day, we decided to take the local bus to the other main town on the island, Anacapri. We could have taken a taxi/private car but I read the bus was easy and it truly was and only costs us 1.5 euros each. The buses there are funny because they are specifically designed for the narrow mountainous roads so they are extra skinny. They are also very popular and fill up fast. Steve had to stand on the way there and we both stood on the way back – it was like a sardine can both ways.
The ride to Anacapri takes about 15 minutes. Our first stop was the Church of San Michele built in 1719 and known for its hand painted majolica tile floor depicting the Garden of Eden. The animals have strangely human like faces.The church is very tiny so it only takes about 15 minutes to see.
We walked through Anacapri which is a very small town and I suddenly needed to pee very badly (thanks, cappucino!). We happened to be walking by the Villa San Michele which is a museum and home of former Anacapri resident, Axel Munthe. We paid a few euros to go in so I could use the ladies room but ended up staying for an hour to walk through the house and gardens which were impressive. I had never heard of Axel Munthe but he was a Swedish doctor who lived in the late 1800s and was a psychiatrist that wrote a book about living on Capri, was the personal doctor of the Swedish royal family and had a long torrid love affair with one of his patients who happened to be the crown princess of Sweden. He also had an incredibly beautiful home and gardens and was a bit of an eccentric and avid art collector.
Following that we stopped for lunch in a local cafe and shared a pizza and calamari. We noticed the restaurant was filled with young college girls – we surmised it must have been a school trip from Sarah Lawrence College or the like. I think Steve enjoyed lunch.
A friend of mine told us via Facebook that we had to do the chairlift from Anacapri to the top of Mount Solaro. I was really nervous about this. I. Hate. Heights. The good news is that the chair is always only about 15-30 feet off the ground max but it does go waaaaaay up. I faced my fears and was glad that I did because we were rewarded with the most amazing views of Capri and the Amalfi coastline. They even have a small cafe where you can get an airplane bottle of not very good wine.
The views at the top were incredible!
Following that adventure, we took the very crowded bus back to Capri and our hotel to relax and enjoy some wine and cheese. Tip on the return bus from Anacapri to Capri – do not wait at the stop that’s in the main square of Anacapri – walk two blocks up and wait at the main bus station. The tiny buses fill up fast and maybe only 3 or 4 people will be able to squeeze on at the Anacapri square stop (and there were probably 50+ people waiting there so you can imagine how long that takes).
We walked into Capri town for a casual dinner before calling it an early night.
The next day was pretty mundane – ferry back to Naples, train back to Rome and we splurged on a stay at the Palazzo Manfredi Hotel which is right next to the Coliseum. It was a really nice boutique hotel but the rooms were small and I preferred our little apartment with terrace. We also had dinner at their Michelin starred restaurant, Aroma, which was also a bit disappointing though we did get to witness a Spanish man pitch a fit about his food who screamed at the waiter “You can do nothing but go out of business!!” It was high comedy. Then, the French couple next to us got engaged, which was cute at first and then become very annoying, as the girl sprent the rest of the dinner screaming, crying, carrying on and then calling 15 different people and talking loudly on her phone throughout dinner. Plus, I think she took 50 photos of her ring so there was a constant flash going off every few minutes from her iphone. Oh, and they were remodeling so the bar was closed and the most reasonable wines on their list (i.e., under 150 euros) were magically “not available”. The food was good and creative and the view of the Coliseum can’t be beat but I guess we were just ready to go home by this point.
Note re: leaving Rome’s main airport: Give yourself at least 3 hours and preferably more. We were in business class which usually means a quick check-in but organization is not the strong suit of Italians. It took us almost 1.5 hours just to check in and we had pre-printed boarding passes and weren’t checking bags. ‘Nuff said.
We really enjoyed our trip to Italy. I enjoyed Rome for the history and art, the Amalfi coast for the fresh seafood and stunning coastline and Capri for its peacefulness and laid back beauty. There is still so much of Italy to see – future trips will have to involve Florence and Tuscany and Venice and Lake Como.