Capri Travel Blog› entry 11 of 11 › view all entries
Our last full day in Italy sees us take the short ferry ride from Sorrento over to Capri. We are booked onto a smaller boat to go and look at the famous Blue Grotto. Unfortunately the tide is high and the sea a little rough and our boatman decideds it is too dangerous to try to enter the cave.
When the tide is low, Roman remains are visible through the water on the floor of the cave, suggesting that in bygone times the ground in and around the blue grotto which had itself been the site of a Roman villa, was higher. The artifacts on the floor of the cave are thought to be connected with the Emperor Tiberius who may have used the cave as a bathing place, and probably decorated the floor with statues.
Tiberius loved the island, and having obtained it from the possession of Naplesin exchange for Ischia, he had a series of villas built there, and spent the last ten years of his tyrannical reign secluded from the manic realities of Roman life amid the tranquillity and beauty of this unique island.
We head back into port and go are separate ways. I decide to visit a supermarket and make up a packed lunch and take it up via the cable car to the highest point on the island. It's a fantastic view on such a clear day and I spend a lovely hour drinking in the scenery.
We have been recommended to visit The Villa San Michele. The dream home of the Swedish physician, Axel Munthe who first came to Capri in 1885. He built his villa on the ruins of an ancient Chapel and the artifacts found during the excavations for the villa and others the doctor collected in his 56 years on the island are on display in his beautiful house.
His love of the island coincided with the growing popularity of Capri and the arrival of rich and famous travelers from all over the world.
Axel Munthe died in 1949 aged 91, in Stockholm. Several of Munthe's properties are now museums and cultural centres. He willed the house to the Swedish nation, and it is maintained by a Swedish foundation. The complex functions as a cultural centre, hosting concerts, visiting Swedish scholars, and the Swedish Consulate. The foundation also maintains the Mount Barbarossa bird sanctuary.