I can’t even count how many times I was told “Don’t waste your time with Capri, it’s not worth it. There are TOO many tourists.” Over and over again, I heard the naysayers but I could not get the romantic notion of this island out of my soul.
Since we were on the Amalfi Coast for my husband’s birthday, the kids and I decided, if the weather holds, we will take him to Capri. On October 25th, we woke to 80 degree temperatures and the tourist season had virtually ended the previous week. This is our chance! It was surreal when our “Audrey Hepburn” style picnic boat picked us up for our seven hour tour of the Isle of Capri. I was still hearing the naysayers whispers, although our family represented the largest group of tourists in sight. All doubt dissipated as Capri came into focus. The sun-soaked cobblestone streets had an antique parched aroma that is so true to Italy. The lemons dripped from the trees and peppered the rooftops. The saccharine bougainvillea seemed to disappear into the cliffs and reappear near the sea. The grottos and arches were like precious gems in a regal crown.
What I learned the moment Capri came into view was that there is a reason tourists flock from all over the world to come here. Sure, I would have loved to come here before all the designer shops took over the hillside. I would have loved to see the pure, virgin beauty of this place that the Emperor Tiberius deemed worthy as a vacation spot from AD 14 through AD 37. It would have been magical to see the Capri that gave people like Thomas Mann or Pablo Neruda inspiration. The island defies all normal parameters of beautiful.
I agree with the naysayers in that I would not have had the experience I had on Capri during high season, but it is the most beautiful place I have seen on earth to date, and going off season, allowed me to experience it in all its splendor. The beach we hiked to would have been private just weeks before, but is opened up during the off-season. Many of the restaurants were closed but the salumerias and fruit stands were overflowing with fall’s harvest. On the picnic boat home, our host provided us with prosecco and lemon tarts. As we cruised along the Amalfi Coast back to Positano, my son asked a quiet question, “Does it get any better than this?”
I learned it is just as much about time as it is about place. More importantly, acting in the direction of your dreams, even when others feel your time would be better spent elsewhere, is critical.
It’s easy to understand why the most beautiful poems about England in the spring were written by poets living in Italy at the time. ~ Philip Dunne