The Isle of Capri. The name in itself gives such wonderful connotations of serenity and mysterious beauty, and yet nothing - nothing - can quite prepare you for the immense fascination and magic that welcomes you within your first few seconds on the island.
I have seen some breathtaking places during my time travelling Europe, but I have to earnestly admit that this little island absolutely stole my heart.
It breathed into my hungry mind such a feverishly prevalent intense air of other-worldly tranquility.
I was instantly hooked.
The island is located off the coast of Mainland Italy and is easily accessible by ferry in less than an hour from the Port of Naples. The fact that it is not as widely known as its mainland sisters is a sheer blessing, for Capri has succeeded in retaining an electrifying amount of charm.
Tourism is apparently something that has not impacted Capri in the negative sense of the word. While it enthrals guests from all corners of the world, it still very much holds its own in regards to tradition and culture.
Within the island of Capri, I saw a lot of influences from places I have previously visited and yet, somehow, it manages to peek way above and beyond in a class of its own.
Without a doubt the most aesthetically tantalising island I have ever seen, Capri may only be small, but it quivers with an undeniably vast array of wonder.
From the moment we moored up in the port at the bottom of the island, I was spellbound.
I didn’t know which visual element of the island to drink in first: the adorable collection of colourful houses lining the seafront, the gently sloping green hillsides surrounding the port, or the rugged mountain range to the right.
Each direction added a different dimension and observation, and I couldn’t wait to befriend the island.
We took a tram to the main town, some few feet above the port level. This in itself was an experience – I for one had never been on a vertical tram before!
The town may be the biggest area of Capri, but it is by no means inflicted by an overbearing or bustling nature. No, this town simply boasted a modest clock tower set in the middle of a quiet square, which split off into an eternity of tiny cobbled streets.
From the town square, we walked along the ‘main road.'
The street opened its mouth into a pristine smile, revealing a veritable shopping heaven. Only in Capri can you find the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Prada stuffed in-between rows of mouthwatering, old-fashioned bakeries.
Side note: I hyphenate ‘main road’ for the simple fact that it is technically wrong to label it as this, for Capri actually prides itself on hosting very few vehicles. There are a small number of busses and taxis that service the island, but other than this, most people get around Capri on foot, or via tiny electrical vans. (And by tiny van, I refer you to the third Bridget Jones film, where she goes into labour and has to hitch a ride on a pizza delivery truck - yeah, that sort of van!)
Lemons are a local delicacy in Capri. They grow to quite a remarkable size, and in such abundance on the many trees fragrantly peppering the valleys of the island.
Once picked, they are used to make a variety of traditional specialties, including famous beverage limoncello.
Lemon flavoured chocolate is also locally crafted, which is unforgettably divine.
Stalls offering fresh lemonade and limoncello pop up in the shadows around the town, their rafters strung with great gallons of sunshine fruit.
It would simply be a crime to visit Capri and not indulge.
Paired with such a humid morning, my lemonade was doused in delectability.
The unrivalled sharp flavour will whip your taste-buds into a manic tango and leave them crying out for more.
How lucky I felt in that moment, as I stood with my back to the sun and my face to the sea. I took long sips of my lemonade, allowing the punchy zest to ignite every single one of my senses until my veins shuddered. You know you've fallen in love with a place when even blinking is an inconvenience. The nanosecond that temporarily steals your vision is all but wasted if it cannot ferociously continue its alliance to the landscape afore it.
I had only been on the island a matter of hours, but my mind and my heart very much belonged to Capri.
If lemon is the flavour of Capri, then jasmine flower is the scent.
Capri is an island steeped in flora; from the cobbled streets to the sweeping public gardens, the island is draped in a pick and mix of striking flowers. They grow in alarming tangles up walls and alluringly clumsy spreads at the roadsides, drenching the island in a fabulous firework display of colour and scent.
Think dainty white petals no bigger than a finger nail, seemingly endless climbing emerald green shrubbery pierced with sharp purple petals, and everything in-between.
There is no end to the optical feast that is Capri’s nature scene.
Think Capri, and think of a sensational and enchanting blend that combines the upper class charm of the South of France, the sweetness of an old English seaside town on a summer’s afternoon, the vibrant Cours Saleya flower market of Nice on a balmy and breezy morning, and the quirkiness and diversity of Gibraltar, with its spiralling history and jumble of secret fascination...
But think Capri, and christen it an island like no other. This place... It will awaken an immortality of passion within you.
Walk the full length of the botanical gardens and treat yourself to some spectacular views out across the ocean. Buy a slice of pizza from one of the many bakeries and undoubtedly declare that it was the best you have ever tasted. Count the tumbling white washed blocks on the hillsides. Get yourself serenely lost within the flower clad streets. Stand at the seafront with your arms open wide, and the island will hug you back, gifting your soul with an almost indescribable urge to simply live.
Rich in charm, rich in flavour, and rich in colour... The Isle of Capri will forevermore render your heart incomplete the second you depart.
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©