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Captivating Capri

india Updated: Jun 15, 2011 01:44 IST
Geetika Jain

The tiny island of Capri, four miles long and a mile wide, basks in the Tyrrhenian Sea, a forty-minute boat-ride from Naples and the Amalfi coast in southern Italy. Lively as a hive, Capri is the honey pot that is perfectly conducive to social swarming. The uber glam decant from their large ships into smaller boats and come to eat at the atmospheric restaurants and shop along the winding, cobble-stoned streets replete with designer labels. Day trippers arrive in droves, and leave by sunset, lowering the decibel levels considerably. To soak in Capri, to explore is alleyways where the locals hang out, gesturing wildly whilst chatting, to walk to the wilder, greener Anacapri, the western side of the Island and for memories to gain a foothold, it’s better to stay for couple of days.

Exploring Capri

La Piazzetta, the central square, is the beating heart of Capri. It can be reached from Marina Grande, the main entry point by taxi or a cable car. A bunch of restaurants sprawl their tables and chairs outdoors. From here, the hubby and I found an alley where the locals live, a trifle smelly, but an antidote to the touristy streets like Via Fuorlovado filled chic shops catering to tourists alone. We trundled down the main drag, Via Vittorio Emanuele, lined with more boutiques, pretty hotels suffused in bougainvillea and gelato shops, turning left towards the quieter Via de Tragara. The views along here are breathtaking, with Mediterranean style villas on one side and the ocean on the other.

The Blue Grotto
Circling around the coast, we’d seen a dozen grottos or so, Grotta Rossa (red), Grotta Verde (green), Grotta Meravigliosa (marvellous) and a local told me his favourite one was Grotta Del Amore, the cave where the locals go to make love. We headed to the famous Grotta Azzurra, the blue grotto. A dozen boats bobbed outside a tiny open mouth on the hillside. We flattened ourselves as we entered the low, narrow cave, propelled by a chain. Inside, the cave opened dramatically, and the placid waters shone with intense sapphire blue light. It felt ethereal, sailing in a cool, dark cave, aglow from beneath in the most beautiful colour.

Capri is full of compelling views, delightful cuisine and the charm of Italians.