After Cinque Terre, we took a long trip to our next destination, Sorrento. Our overnight train from Cinque Terre was three hours late (which meant we left at 3am), so we were beyond exhausted and passed out at 8pm that night. If you’re planning to book trains in Italy, leave some room for delays as they seem to happen quite frequently. The silver lining is that we woke up extremely early and caught the first ferry to the beautiful island of Capri.
After our ferry docked in Capri, we headed straight for Villa San Michele. While there are buses that go up to the villa, Tyler convinced me to get some exercise and take the long route by foot. We climbed over 1,000 stairs to the top (with plenty of water breaks, of course). If you’re up for the walk, do it in the morning before it gets really warm. We arrived at Villa San Michele right when it opened at 9am and had the entire mansion to ourselves. There’s a really nice terrace where we ordered a cup of coffee and a lemon granita.
Did I mention how serious the lemon craze is over here? They are actually as big as pictured above. Incredible, right? Apparently they come in three different sizes, with the largest one being the sweetest. Every tourist shop in Cinque Terre and around the Almafi Coast is full of lemon-themed items: soap, candles, perfume, candy, pasta (yes, lemon pasta)…
After finishing our drinks in the cafe, we spent some time touring the beautiful gardens and rooms of the villa. Henry James once called this “the most fantastic beauty, poetry, and inutility that one had ever seen clustered together.”
There’s a famous ancient Egyptian sphinx in the garden looking out towards Sorrento. You’re supposed to touch its hindquarters with your left hand while making a wish. It’s pretty hard to get a picture of the sphinx though, as it’s facing outwards by design.
Aside from lemons, this area of Italy is also known for its abundance of feral cats. We caught this cute little sleeping kitten on our way to try some delicious pastries and gelato at the well-known Buonocore Gelateria. I tasted a yummy pistachio-flavored pastry there- mmmm.
Another famous thing to do in Capri is tour the Blue Grotto. I insisted on taking a tour since it was supposedly the most famous tourist attraction of the town, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you can actually go inside the cave in a small rowboat. Plus, I got seasick (big surprise). Anyway, if you have a lot of time and can rent your own boat or guide to be out on the water all day, that could be a fun trip. However, don’t fall for the tourist trap of just sailing by the grotto’s entrance. That was a waste of money in my opinion.
Aside from the view from Villa San Michele, you can also take a 12-minute chairlift to the highest point on Capri, Monte Solaro. We chose not to do this and instead spent the rest of the day’s budget on a nice lunch at Terrazza Brunella. This is actually a restaurant in a gorgeous hotel and its view looks out on their swimming pool and Capri.
I highly recommend Capri as a day trip around the Almafi Coast area. It’s really picturesque as you can tell!