History of the island

History of the island
History of the island

Recommended experiences and tours

Capri Family Tour + Pizza Class Experience

from € 280 for the whole tour
Duration 6 hours Departure from: Capri

A family-friendly day that includes a half-day private tour of Capri and Anacapri with a licensed...

Shared Guided Tour of Capri from Naples

€ 90 per guest
Duration 7 hours Departure from: Naples

Are you visiting Naples and want to take a day trip to Capri? Choose the small-group guided...

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Just off the coast of Naples and Salerno, between Cape Miseno and Amalfi, a great rock soars like a dream lost in the cobalt blue sea that surrounds it. This Mediterranean jewel, yearned for and exalted in some of the world's most famous lyric poetry, is the island of Capri. The intoxicating fragrance of flowers, delicate splashes of colour, recollections of a millennial past and a peaceful charm, shattered only by the shrill cry of seagulls, are just some of the magical qualities of this mythical isle. According to some scholars, the etymology of the name Capri may be traced back to the Greek word Kapros (wild boar). Others believe instead that Capri is derived from the Latin word Capreae (goats).

Caesar Augustus was the first to discover the charm of Capri when he visited the island in 29 BC. So taken was he with the island's beauty that he traded the nearby fertile Ischia for it with the city of Naples. This marked the beginning of Augustan rule. He was subsequently followed by his successor Tiberius who embarked on an intense building program between 27 and 37 A.D, resulting in the construction of 12 villas.

Prehistoric Capri

Excavations at the Hotel Quisisana brought to light the remains of an Elephas primigenius and Rhinoceros merckii, discoveries which marked the start of Ignazio Cerio's career as archeologist. Other important findings were made in the Grotta delle Felci in Marina Piccola, including a number of Neolithic tombs, amulets and bronzes, typical of ancient sites of worship.

Other archaeological sites which have proved important for the study of prehistoric Capri are the Grotta del Pisco, Il Limmo, Damecuta, Le Parate and the Grotta del Castiglione, this latter once containing an Ancient Roman nymphaeum. Today, the majority of the archaeological findings are conserved in Capri's Ignazio Cerio Museum, just steps away from the piazzetta.

The first inhabitants to settle in Capri were the Greek "Teleboi" who came to the island in the VIII Century BC. Today, only the fortified walls of an ancient Greek acropolis still survive as testimony to their presence on the island. In 1906 a local doctor, Ignazio Cerio, uncovered the remains of a number of prehistoric animals and stone weapons during excavation work undertaken to expand the Quisisana Hotel.

The great political events that unfolded in Naples with the consecutive rise to power of the Angevin, Aragonese, Spanish and Bourbon dynasties between the VIth and XIXth Centuries, had few repercussions on the island itself. Exposed to the threat of Muslim attack, and left to fend for themselves, the islanders' best defence was to flea their homes around the Marina and take refuge in the uplands.

With few natural resources and a population decimated by pirate raids and pestilence, the plight of the islanders was further exacerbated in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by the rivalry that emerged between the island's two Communes, Capri and Anacapri, regarding their respective civil and ecclesiastic rights of jurisdiction.

Following the last heroic disembarkation on the island, the French completed the island's fortifications and remained there until the fall of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815. It was only then that Capri finally emerged from its long hibernation, ready to embrace the romanticism of the Nineteenth Century.

It was in fact during this time that the island's magical solitude and rustic simplicity first began to attract visitors, and soon became the favourite seasonal haunt and residence of foreign artists, writers and poets. In 1826 Hotel Pagano, the island's first hotel, welcomed the German writer Augustus Kopisch. But it wasn't until after the Russian-Japanese war of 1905 and the great exodus of Russian intellectuals, that Capri really established itself as a literary and political refuge.

It was about this time that Maxim Gorki also arrived in Capri where he was warmly embraced into the island's cosmopolitan life. Amongst contemporary writers, two in particular enjoy pride of place in the island's literary annals: the Swede Axel Munthe and the island's own Edwin Cerio.

Recommended experiences and tours

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Nesea Capri Tour - Anacapri - Private tour Bestseller Verified

Departure from: Capri

Anacapri - Private tour

from € 180

Duration 2 hours

Our guide will accompany you on a private walking tour of the monuments and neighborhoods of Anacapri's historic center, including Villa San Michele, built by Swedish physician and writer Axel Munthe and the Church of S. Michele Arcangelo, famous for its majolica floor.

Excellent (57)

Tours and excursions

Anacapri and Damecuta walking guided tour

from € 180

Duration 2 hours 4 hours 8 hours

This tour begins in the center of Anacapri and ends at Damecuta, where you can visit the archaeological remains of one of the twelve villas the emperor Tiberius built on the island.

Tours and excursions

Mount Solaro trekking tour

from € 180

Duration 2 hours 4 hours 8 hours

Hike to the top of Mount Solaro, the highest point on the island, and enjoy a 360 degree view over Capri, the Gulf of Naples, and the Bay of Salerno.

Tours and excursions

Guided Tour of the Historical Center of Capri Town

from € 180

Duration 2 hours 4 hours 8 hours

Discover the beautiful town of Capri during this private tour with an experienced local guide! The tour includes the Piazzzetta, the Gardens of Augustus, and the most picturesque lanes in the center lined with boutiques. We'll also show you little-known Medieval Capri. Our guides are licensed.

Staiano Tour Capri - Capri and Anacapri tour + the Blue Grotto Bestseller Verified

Departure from: Capri

Capri and Anacapri tour + the Blue Grotto

€ 20 per guest

Duration 8 hours

Discover the most famous places of Capri Island by bus! We'll pick you up at the port and take you around the island, waiting for you while you see the places: admire the cities of Capri and Anacapri and take the path to the Blue Grotto to see its priceless beauty!

Departure from: Pompeii

Three Hour Guided Tour of Pompei

from € 160 Total price | Max 10 people

Duration 3 hours

  • A guided tour of a full 3 hours, covering the Pompeii ruins with a licensed guide who will let you skip-the-line!
Excellent (195)

Other suggestions

Book online or request an estimate to reserve your place now. More than 7.000+ tours and day trips booked online.

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Guided tours

Nesea Capri Tour

Guided Walks and Itineraries around Capri

Excellent (57)
Tel. +39 349 5290191

Museums

Capri Philosophical Park

A Philosophical Retreat along the Migliera Path.

Guided tours

Capri Official Guides

See the island, with an islander

Tel. +39 366 2795287

Guided tours

Capri Time Tours

Organized tours for the independent traveler

Excellent (63)
Tel. +39 329 21 49 811

Guided tours

Kaire Arte Capri

A new way to visit Capri

Tel. +39 329 0936171

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