In January of 1806, French troops under Bonaparte took control of the island, but by May the island was taken by an English fleet under Sir Sidney Smith. In 1808 it was retaken by the French under Lamarque, and finally in 1813 Capri was restored to Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, reestablishing the island under Neapolitan control.
In the latter half of the 19th century, Capri started to become a popular resort for European and American artists, writers and celebrities, and so it remains today. In 1995 the Capri Film Festival was founded, which takes place every December and attracts both Italian and foreign filmmakers as well as Hollywood stars.
NOTABLE “MUST-SEE” SITES
La Piazzetta (Piazza Umberto I) – Now popular for its bars, it was originally the local fish market. Visitors often take the Funicular (a cableway) from the port to the terrace near the "Piazzetta". Set amidst staggering views and surrounded with elements of historic, classic and modern architecture, it is not surprising it has become known as "The World's Living Room". Alongside stands the Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio), originally the Bell Tower of Saint Stephen's Cathedral. To the southeast stands the Town Hall which used to be the Episcopal Palace, restored in the 1700’s. A passage, linking the Palace to Saint Stephen's Cathedral, remains as evidence of its older religious function.
Faraglioni - Sculpted by the wind and sea, and home to rare plants and wildlife, Faraglioni is the collective name for the three rocky stacks Stella (Star), Faraglione di Mezzo (in between) and Scopolo. The latter is famous for its unique blue lizards, found nowhere else on Earth. The ultimate touch of mystique surrounding the Faraglioni is the relationship between the depth of the sea immediately surrounding the rocks, the strong currents flowing there, and the way the spray is shot through with light, creating an array of sparkling colors.
Anacapri - The Ancient Greek prefix ana means "up" or "above", indicating that this separate comune is located at a higher elevation than Capri (about 150 m higher on average). Claude Debussy was a regular visitor here, naming one of his preludes from the first book, No.5 "Les collines d'Anacapri", or “The hills of Anacapri.” There is a bus service, via numerous hairpin bends, from Marina Grande and Capri to Anacapri. However, one may choose to take the popular chairlift (seggiovia) to 589-m Monte Solaro for picturesque views of the south-facing coast.
Villa Jovis - The best preserved of Emperor Tiberius’s villas, it was restored in the 1990's by the Lysis Association and the Council of Capri. Constructed on the top of cliffs from which there are views of the Bay of Naples, the islands of Ischia and Procida, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the Bay of Salerno, visitors can access the villa by walking from the Piazzetta through the town's medieval center, beneath the vaulted arches of Via Longarno, and along the panoramic Via Sopramonte and Via Tiberius (approx. 40 min.).
“Isle of Beauty and Mystery”
The Island of Capri is one of the most picturesque and visited locations in Campania. Its breathtaking landscapes and beauty stretch from the rocky caves around the island to the edge of the horizon, and have been an inspiration to poets, lovers and travelers throughout the centuries. Underlaid with limestone and characterized by fantastical towers and sinkholes in the rock, karst erosion over time has long since separated Capri from the mainland.
For the Greeks and later the Romans till Tiberius, Capri was an island of boar, goats, and other animals. Hence the Island was named Kapros, which in Greek means "wild boar". Originally colonized by the Greeks, Roman Emperor Tiberius obtained the island after bartering Ischia for Capri with the Neapolitans. He then commenced with a multi villa-building project, rendering the island habitable. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Capri fell again under the rule of Naples, and suffered various attacks and ravages by pirates.
In 866 A.D. Emperor Louis II gave the island to the comune of Amalfi. The political dependence of Capri to Amalfi, which had relations to the Eastern Mediterranean, is particularly evident in art and architecture, in which Byzantine and Islamic forms appeared. Frederick IV of Naples established legal and administrative parity between the two settlements of Capri and Anacapri in 1496. Pirate raids by the Barbary corsairs reached their peak during the reign of Charles V. The danger of such attacks led Charles V to allow the inhabitants to arm themselves, and new towers were built to defend the island.
Port of Marina Grande - Encompassed by two narrow arms or quays, it borders the picturesque town of Capri. Until 1928, all docking took place directly in the bay, which in those days was smaller, formed of a natural reef. Larger vessels weighed anchor further out to sea, with goods for trade and passengers being rowed ashore in dinghies. Since its expansion, the scene has become more spacious, with a seaside resort and wide beach. Houses along the port are still structurally typical of the ancient dwellings of Capri's fishermen. In the past, these homes were built literally at sea level, with the water lapping at their front doors. However, since the restructuring of the port, the water level has changed, and their previous position is now only visible in old photographs.
Blue Grotto - A jewel discovered long ago by the Roman emperors, the grotto is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Capri. According to the historians of the times, Emperor Tiberius built a passage connecting his house to the cave, using it as an elite bathing pool. At certain times of the day, old Roman statues and ruins can still be seen on the grotto floor. For a long time the grotto fell into oblivion: local sailors and fishermen were scared since, according to popular tales, it was infested by ghosts and demons. During the first half of the 1800’s, a fisherman let two German artists, Ernst Fries and August Kopisch, inside the grotto, exploring it for the first time after ages. Since then, the iridescent cave has been famous all over the world.