This past July, my husband and I went with another couple to Capri. We stayed at the Scalinatella, which is now one of my favorite hotels in the world. It is small and chic. Most of the charming staff has worked there since it opened in the 1960s. Think white stucco, blue tiles and splashes of lemon yellow, with the beautiful sea as the backdrop. It is within a two-minute stroll of all of the best restaurants and shopping but it is not in the thick of it the way that the Quisisana is, thus it feels more peaceful. All the rooms are wonderful and they all have fabulous terraces facing the sea. Breakfast each morning on your own private terrace is pure paradise.
The poolside lunch at the Scalinatella is the best lunch on the island (you can only eat there if you are staying at the hotel or at one if its sister properties: the Quisisana, the Flore or Casa Morgano.) There is no menu, they just tell you what is fresh every day and make you whatever you would like. It is tempting and fun to do nothing but sit at the hotel pool all day and eat and drink but here are some other great day time activities that should not be missed:
- Hike down to the beach club at La Fontelina or its neighbor Da Luigi (or do both on different days.) Have the hotel reserve your lunch there as well as a place on the rocks for after lunch and stay until closing drinking peach sangria.
- Two very nice, short, half-hour hikes: Arco Naturale (beautiful) and Villa Jovis. The latter is particularly interesting for I Claudius fans. It is fun to look around the ruins once you get there.
- A longer hike with a yummy lunch: Quatro Fortini. This hike requires taking a taxi and then hiking for about an hour and half, but there is a great lunch spot at the end. Take a taxi from town and asked to be dropped at the second fort by the lighthouse for Quatro Fortini. You will get dropped by the side of the road and there will be two paths seperated by a fence. Take the one on the LEFT and it will lead you down to the trailhead. From there, follow the red dots of the trail. You will end at a restaurant called Riccio which has the best lobster pasta on the island. After lunch walk down the steps to the water and get a boat to take you to the Blue Grotto and then back to town. Alternatively, if you don’t like hiking, you could go by boat to Riccio and the Grotto and then go back by boat too.
- Rent a boat for the afternoon and go around the island have lunch on Nerano at either Quattro Passi (www.ristorantequattropassi.com) or Anna’s Place (Racamone).
We really loved three places and alternated between them each night:
- Da Giorgio: best pizza, sit by the window
- Aurora: sit outside
- Villa Verde (Vico Sella Orta, 6 a; +39-081-837-7024): sit outside in the courtyard, fun scene
DO NOT eat at Da Paolino (the lemon grove) this is nothing but a tourist trap and basically the Disney world version of Capri. People will tell you to go but don’t!!
After dinner or in the late afternoon, it’s fun to stroll and have a drink at any of the outside cafes. The one outside of Quisisana is particularly well located and fun for people watching.
Every major designer has an outpost in Capri but it’s more fun to wander each little street and alley and go into all the small little no-name shops. I loved:
- Grazia Vozza (www.graziavozza.com) for unique chunky cuffs, necklaces. Two sisters own it and make everything themselves.
- All Russo Uomo stores have great, chic men’s clothing.
- Amedeo Canfora (3 via Camerelle; +39-081-837-0487; www.canfora.com) was my favorite for handmade sandals, but there are lots of cute handmade sandal shops all over Capri.
- The Scalinatella does not take young children, so if you want to bring your kids, you should stay at the Quisisana.
- Also, the streets in Capri are cut off from cars and they are all cobblestone, so you do a lot of great walking. You definitely want shoes that are not heels.
- If possible bring luggage that rolls, as you will find yourself carrying it at some point on your journey—at the very least when you are getting on and off of the hydrofoil that takes you from Naples to Capri.