Back at Florence’s train station, we discover something that would have made life a little easier had we known it before – there is a luggage porter service at the station, where for €5 a bag, a porter will put your case on a trolley, accompany you to your carriage and load your bag on board (not to mention getting rid of any pesky passengers which are sitting in your pre-allocated seat!). It was here we met our second nice Italian – the porter chatted away to us about his home town of Sorrento and where we should try to visit if we have time. A nice goodbye to Florence.
A few hours later, we arrive in Naples, jump in a cab and head to Molo Beverello where our high speed ferry to Capri is waiting. The journey takes about 50 minutes and we get our first glimpse of Capri’s Marina Grande.
It’s chaos at the port with passengers disembarking and waiting to embark, all over the place, but we are soon in one of Capri’s many open-topped taxis and driving our way up the winding road to the top of the island – home to Anacapri. It feels very special and a welcome change from the big cities.
In Capri, or more precisely Anacapri – because this is the part of the island on which we are staying – is an old Monastery. Converted into three rentable apartments, along with the main residence, it was once a part of the San Michele Monastery – the church next door – which we’ll visit tomorrow – is open for viewing and I’ll tell you why then.
The monastery itself prospered for nearly 200 years, with the church being completed in 1719. However, it was requisitioned by the state and converted into military barracks during the Taking of Capri. In 1883, Russian-Dutch Count Oswald Papengouth bought the whole building and transformed it into a hotel named Castello San Michele. It never made enough money to cover the expense of restoring the building though so it was sold and eventually divided into several lots – as it remains today.
Our B&B occupies what was the nuns’ choir, part of the cloister and the study of the Abbess.
At the suggestion of our hosts we choose one of the nearby restaurants for dinner so we can try some local Caprese dishes including the beautiful Caprese Salad (mozzarella, tomatoes and basil), Caprese Torte and finishing off with a glass of limoncello – for which Capri is best known.
We are off to a great start in Capri.