10 February 2018

2016 ITALY Capri 34 - Sail Away to the Isle of Capri

         Actually motor away, as this was a large luxury cabin cruiser... not a sail boat.

         An Aside: Americans say kaPREE, but Italians pronounce it COP-ree. 

After breakfast we loaded the van for a 30 minute drive to the docks of Sorrento. There we met Luciano, our gracious (and cutsie) sea captain. He has been in the charter boat biz for 27 years. Our group of 16 had this luxury cruiser all to ourselves and there was plenty of room to maneuver around.

Wish I knew more about boats, so I could tell you the tonnage and size and what-not. Not being a "vehicle of any sort" (just get me to my destination) kind of person, my attention was totally focused on the water and surroundings.

Here is a part of the group, sitting across the "windshield."

And another group sitting aft.

On our 2015 trip to Italy, we found Giada DeLaurentiis' apartment in Florence. The location was featured on season two of the "Giada in Italy" cooking series on the Food Channel. It overlooks the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge spanning the Arno River. See the rooftop kitchen here as the open, but covered balcony.

The show reminisces about Giada's roots through family recipes, stories, old photos, and especially information about her grandfather Dino DeLaurentiis. He was an Italian film producer (along with Sophia Lauren's husband Carlo Ponti). The two brought Italian cinema to the forefront of the international scene at the end of WWII.

A goal on this trip was to spot her season one TV set location on the Amalfi coast. Shots place it hanging from a high cliff with an ancient tower to the left. The structure is painted pale yellow with gardens and pool on lower levels. Stacy overheard Mike and I talking about it and said she would search also.

Photos on this entry are things we saw on the 40 minute cruise to the Isle of Capri. The ride was so beautiful and interesting. I took a lot of photos and tried (unsuccessfully) to narrow it down for this blog entry.

There were high cliffs along most of the Amalfi Coast to the tip of the Sorrento peninsula. In some areas roadways criss-crossed from top to bottom.

All along were small harbors and hillside towns amongst ancient looking structures. We saw more of the "umbrella" stone pine trees atop the cliffs.
Beautiful palazzos and resorts topped some of the cliffs.
Some more modern.
There were lots of man-made caves and natural grottoes (sea caves).

At one point a short rain shower erupted. We were under canvas cover, so we just got a little damp and dried out quickly.
Fishermen taking shelter from the rain.
Beachside resorts and sunning spots.

High watch towers from earlier times. Lookouts searched for pirates and invaders.
This is the end of the Sorrento peninsula.

Then on to Capri in open waters.

Before docking, we circled part of the Isle and saw lots of gorgeous sites. Many waterfalls, large and small, gushing into the sea. This photo does not do justice.
Luciano pointed out a few grottoes and motored in pretty close to the entrances. There was the famous Blue Grotto, the Green Grotto, White Grotto, and Coral Grotto.

This is the Blue Grotto. In the movies, you see row boats sliding in with tourists lying backwards to get safely under the rocky entrance. Today the waters were too choppy for business.

Mike is so prone to seasickness, I was quite worried about him. But he was a trooper and did not want to miss a thing. He pretty much stayed in one spot aft, except for a quick excursion to see the front of the cruiser. Luckily he was not ill. A minor miracle in my estimation.

All the waters surrounding this Isle were soooooo blue-turquoise.

This is the White Grotto, with unusual rock formations.

This is the Coral Grotto with purple-ish-red coral growing at the water line.

We also saw numerous boy-toy yachts and schooners anchored offshore.
We spotted the Tragara Hotel perched on a high cliff. It was originally a villa designed by architect LeCorbusier for engineer Emilio Vismara in the 1920s. Later it became home to the American Command post during WWII. General Eisenhower and Sir Winston Churchill both slept here. In 1968, it was purchased by Count Goffredo Manfredi as a holiday home and in 1973 it was converted to its current iteration of a 5-star luxury hotel.Ahead were three prominent rock formations towering out of the sea. The group is called the Faraglioni (or stacks). The center "rock" with an arch piercing the middle is called Mezzo (half). It is 269 feet (82 meters) tall. The opening is so huge, we cruised right through the middle.
The tradition is to kiss your loved one as you pass through to assure a lifetime of happiness together. Not taking any chances, all the couples snatched a smooch as we passed through.

On the other side we saw the Punta Carena lighthouse. It was constructed in 1867 and is still active today. Apparently there are a couple of taverns in that location and it is great place to view a sunset. I bet the vistas are stunning from there. Sorry we did not have time to check it out.
As we motored into the smaller harbor of Marina Piccolo (not the big ferry harbor), we saw kids jumping off the rocks.

We hopped off the yacht and started our uphill tour of this magnificent Isle.

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