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From Napoli to Capri, Part 14: A photo folio to end it all

There are many very good reasons why Capri has long been known one of Europe’s most elegant holiday destinations. Right from the time of the Emperors, when Augustus chose Capri as his favoured holiday isle, and Tiberius moved his entire court there for the final years of his tyrannical rein, through to the heady golden age of Hollywood, when the streets of Capri were peppered with flash bulbs and paparazzi encircling the magnetic draw of superstars such as Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren…Capri has long been known as the land of the rich, the famous and the altogether chic. While today’s island feels far less exclusive in the true sense of the word – after all, thousands of visitors pour onto the island every day – Capri retains its place at the pinnacle of the high-end. Dare to join them?


Around the bustling Piazzetta and down the famous Via Camerelle, there is so much posing and pouting that Dominik and I felt pressurised into changing our outfits at least 4 times as day (and even then we felt thoroughly self-conscious that passers-by might notice a Zara label rather than the obligatory D&G). And while countless visitors may pour in for the day, to stay on Capri is something of an investment. The prices are so high that one week could bankrupt even the better off. This is serious wallet-busting territory where only the mighty-rich can feel truly comfortable.

Yet beyond the pouting and the Botox, the eye-watering add-ons and the obligatory ego-mania, Capri is a place which exudes beauty. Its natural surroundings are simply stunning. There is no other way to describe them. Whether you turn to face the silhouette of Ischia to the north, the mighty Vesuvius to the East, or the Sorrento Peninsula to the south, Capri’s views are astonishing. But so too are the sights as you turn inwards, as beautiful white washed streets cling onto sloping streets, their shops polished and preened to perfection, everything boutique, floral, and highly manicured. And even those self-obsessed posers, with their haute-couture, and perfectly coiffed hair… well they are just beautiful, and a perfect addition to the scenery.


So all in all, in a post unapologetically embracing the beauty of Capri, I finish my recollections of our Naples trip with an explosion of the colour, the light, the lines and the landscapes of Capri. From the passionate, gritty streets of Naples, through to the tranquil haven of Ischia and finally onto the millionaire’s playground of Capri, it was quite a trip, one which exposed us to such a rich depth of incredible sights that I left aching from the assault upon my eyes. These places are at once historically magnificent, enshrouded in a kind of mystical enigma from the time of Odysseus, as well as utterly relevant in an age of consumption, self-obsession, and above all things, beauty. We’ve been before, and we returned in glory. It won’t be the last time.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

From Napoli to Capri, Part 13: Villa Jovis and the Casa Malaparte

Capri is full of the grand houses and spectacular villas of the rich and the famous, and that is nothing new. Some 2000 years ago, the earliest protagonists of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of Roman emperors were setting up resplendent palaces on the paradise Isle, from Emperor Augustus, who took frequent holidays in his Capri villa, to Emperor Tiberius who loved the place so much that he spent the last 13 years of his rule on the island, effectively moving the centre of the Roman Empire to this small but stunning Mediterranean island.

It can be said that Tiberius made as much of an impression on Capri as the island did on him. He spread himself far and wide across its rocky scenery, and the remains of many Tiberian palazzi have been found across Capri, including the ruins which were integral to the construction of Axel Munthe’s Villa San Michele. However, it is widely assumed that of all those palaces constructed for Tiberius’ pleasure on Capri, his main residence was the Villa Jovis, perched on one of the island’s highest peaks with a spectacular view over the Bay of Naples.

The Villa Jovis


The ruins of the Villa Jovis (aka Jupiter’s Villa) can still be seen today, albeit in such a poor state of repair that they resemble the kind of idyllic pastiche of antiquity which came to romanticise the ancient world in the paintings of the Renaissance and later Roccoco periods. Yet the remains are in such a spectacular location that we found our hot and sweaty up hill struggle worth all the effort, not least because next to the palace, you can wander for free around the Parco Astarita which, built into terraces on a largely steep cliff, enjoys the most incredible views of Capri’s famous coastal scenery, not to mention Vesuvius and the Sorrento peninsula beyond.

Views from the Parco Astarita


Most notable of all the sights comprising the Parco Astarita views is the Casa Malaparte. Audaciously built onto the rocky outcrop of the Punta Massullo, the Casa Malaparte is without a doubt the most famous house on Capri, not least because it featured prominently in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film, Contempt (Le Mépris) starring one sultry Brigitte Bardot.

Globally renowned as a masterpiece of Italian modern and contemporary architecture, it was conceived in 1937 by Italian architect Adalberto Libera. The construction is audacious because it dominates the local scenery, with its reverse pyramidal staircase and freestanding curving terrace wall visible from far and wide. Yet despite this, its striking Pompeian red masonry, together with the pine trees which surround it, tend also to ingratiate the house with the local environment. The overall effect is beautiful to look at, even though the best view of this privately owned masterpiece is still, necessarily, from afar.

The Casa Malaparte


© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.