Suspended 1000 feet above the ocean, colors are so bright that
lines are blurred between not only sea and sky, but fantasy and

My private balcony on this long admired cliff of Anacapri is welcoming. I can make out Mt. Vesuvius in the distance and the Bay of Naples
spreads below me. The Italian sun blesses the island with its steady
rays and I remain still on my perch to take it all in. This moment of
suspension is provided by the Caesar Augustus Hotel.
I am standing on one of the hotel's luxurious balconies and my fenced
sanctuary stands away from the cliff-face over the ocean. Here I reach
a solitary understanding about Capri's reputation for temptation. From
creamy mozzarella and floral bright tomatoes, to rocks that protrude
from the sea with historic presence, I enter the ranks of those who
have experienced the bliss of Capri. Pleasure does not end with views
from the resort, but continues across the island, like the winding
roads that lead us to our next indulgence. I leave my room to satisfy a
thirst for all things Capri, knowing I can return to this pleasure
later for a pink sunset.

The fatigue of the journey is forgotten with the first glimpse of white
homes dotting the cliffs. Capri is best reached via Naples, when
arriving internationally. If you are already exploring Italy's
coastline, a quick boat ride from Sorrento will bring you to the island
as well. Upon arrival at the Naples airport, the port is a frantic taxi
ride away. The children playing soccer and bustle of the streets will
seem like a distant memory once we begin to experience the serenity of
Capri. At the port, I choose the quicker option of the hydrofoil, and
waves rock away my worries on the 40 minute trip. Stepping onto the
dock of Capri, I agreed with the Roman emperor Tiberius, poet Pablo
Neruda, and Oscar Wilde who all found their paradise on this isle.

Strolling women in white linen and big sunglasses abound in Marina Grande,
the harbor that serves as only a sampling of Capri's beauty. Most
luxury hotels in Capri will arrange transportation from the port to
your hotel. You can travel the hairpin turns with your baggage in a
taxi, or take the funicular to central Capri in just a few minutes.
While other travelers took their luggage this route, I decided to let
the relaxation begin and my hotel was pleased to take care of this
detail. As you step into Piazza Umberto, designer boutiques, fruity gelato and a strolling pace will encourage you to live your own la dolce vita.

Capri wasn't always part of the Grand Tour. Although it's history dates
back to the Roman era when the Emperors Octavian Augustus and his
successor, Tiberius made the island their place of residence, visitors
didn't start arriving until the 19th century. The Grotta Azzurra, or Blue Grotto,
was discovered then for the world, no longer a secret of locals who had
known for generations of the stunning light refraction. This mystique
doesn't end with the coves, but I find it across the island, from the
shops smelling of Italian leather, to the windy paths that reveal the
famous Faraglioni rocks protruding from the sea in perfect
harmony. The distinct combination of natural beauty and fine Italian
produces a splendor like no other island.

After my stroll back to the center of town, I imagined myself an Italiana and found a small table in The Piazzetta
to call my own. Drawn to the buzz of the main square, I sought to
complete my afternoon with some animated Italian conversation. Lively
discussion from my neighboring tables arrived before my tall glass of
chilled Pinot Grigio, and before my first sip I was laughing along with
my fellow luxury seekers in Capri's most famous outdoor living room.

After I placed down my empty glass, my focus shifted to the sea. The
rocky terrain of the isle allows for many stunning views looking
outward, but savvy locals instructed me that to completely understand
the allure of Capri, I must observe it from the sea. Upon boarding the
Gozzo (a local fishing boat designed for the islands coves) my
appreciation for the mythical draw of the isle soared. At each curve of
the landscape, more majesty continued to be revealed. Each cove, each
facet of the island was more enticing than the last. To experience the
complete grandeur of the island, let your luxury hotel do the planning
for you, they expertly arrange tours of two or four hours in length.

The dignified main streets of Capri have been luring shoppers for
decades. Indulgence in Italian designers, fine silks, and hand-crafted
leather can be found in startling density. After some retail therapy, I
return to the Caesar Augustus to take in the views before dinner. The
hotel staff reaches their goal of 'never settle for less than your
dreams..' through professional service, fine-dining on the terrace, and
a romantic jacuzzi for two in your room. The luxury mansion has been in
the hands of the Signorini family for three generations, and they blend
luxury with hospitality in a masterful way. Paolo Signorini has
restored the mansion to its true glory, and welcomes his guests over a
cocktail or lunch, depending on his schedule. This Italian tradition of
lingering conversation over beautiful food is exemplified by the
hotel's gracious owner.

At the turn of the 20th century, a Russian prince claimed the majesty
of the 1000 foot high cliff as his summer home, a place where he could
immerse himself in the study of history and philosophy. Today guests of
the Caesar Augustus indulge in a bit more leisure, whether it be a
massage in the fragrant gardens, or the gastronomical offerings of the
terrazza. Professionalism found me poolside, where the waiters and
staff attended to my needs, but were never pushy, allowing me to take
in the panoramic view while glancing up from my writings.

To experience how the Italian elite live, you can stay at the historic house, Villa Le Scale,
just steps away from the main piazza in Anacapri. When the owner's
husband passed away, she decided to transform her gracious villa into a
luxury accommodation while maintaining all of the intimacy of a private
home. With personal art and antiques as finishing touches, each of the
8 guest rooms is purposely distinctive. A code to get past the front
gate left me feeling like I was visiting an old friend at her lavish
home. Enhanced by the lack of formal check-in, a glass of fizzy white
wine upon arrival, and conversation in the living room, I felt at home
with a key on the table when I choose to mount the stairs to the
Collector's room.

Greeted by the General Manager, Vincent Copeland, and his animated pug,
Brutus, I knew I had found a nook of Capri that did not exchange
authenticity for the sake of luxury. My individual interests were
considered by the thoughtful staff when making reservations and
suggestions to maximize my holiday. An impressive personal collection
of Jewish and Christian art adorned my room, where I was greeted with a
hand-written note and champagne on ice. The next morning, when
breakfast including bright fresh fruit, coffee, and warm toast was
served in the privacy of my own manicured garden, I indulged in my own
slice of old-world Italian charm.

While Capri has many offerings for a day's fun, the Villa Le Scale can
also arrange tours of nearby gems. Let a private driver greet you in
Sorrento, and spend the day touring the ruins of Pompei,
where a volcano froze the ancient city in time. If you are seeking
pizza perfection, head to Naples, where a chauffeur will show you where
the Italian staple was born. A personal car and driver can take you on
a tour of the Amalfi Coast with its limoncello factory, fishing towns, and postcard Positano.

Food is plentiful on the island, and you don't need to seek the
mainland to enjoy culinary delights. With recommendations from my new
Italian friends, I set out to enjoy some local favorites. Ristorante Aurora
delivers on both family hospitality and the culinary traditions of the
island. From pasta to fresh fish, owners Gennaro and Lucia made me feel
like one of the family. Later, in the alley of Piazza Caprile in Anacapri, with Vespas flying by, I took a seat on the terrace at Agorà Resto-Wine-Bar.
Far from Florence and their famous preparation of beef, I was delighted
with Argentinian angus that put other steaks to shame. Served with six
kinds of sea salt to enhance the flavor in different ways, this
restaurant strayed from the cuisine typically found on Capri and left
me praising the unexpected preparation.

Tempted to have the waiter return to their stocked wine cellar, I
pondered the many pleasures of this isle, from the historical beauty of
the Faraglioni rocks, to the beauty of the cuisine. Savoring my
limoncello, I am already contemplating a return trip. Next time I'll
rent one of those Vespas.

When to Go:

• May to October

Getting There:

• Taxi from Naples International Airport to the Port of Naples: 40.00
EUR. Negotiate the fare with the taxi driver before you depart.

• From Port of Naples to Capri, two options: Ferry or Hydrofoil.
Ferries operate every 90 minutes, for a 80 minute journey at 10.00 EUR
per person. The Hydrofoil is a 40 minute journey, and coasts 17,00 EUR
per person. (Luggage fee of 2,00 EUR per large luggage item, paid at
time of ticket purchase.)

• Website for ferry schedules:

Where to Stay:

Capri Luxury Hotels

Where to Eat:

• Ristorante Aurora (Via Fuorlovado, 18/22 Capri, Italy;; +39 081 8370181)

• Agorà Resto-Wine-Bar (Piazza Caprile, 1 Anacapri, Italy;;; +39 081 8372018)

• La Rondinella (Via Orlandi 295, Anacapri, Italy; +39 081-8371223)

What to do:

• Faraglioni Rocks: Witness Capri's most striking offshore rocks, that rise 360 feet out of the ocean.

• Grotta Azzurra: Take a boat ride to experience the stunning light refraction of the Blue Grotto yourself.

• Villa Jovis: Visit this retreat built by Roman Emperor Tiberius where excavations have unearthed his baths and apartments.