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Capri | Store GuideAugust 15, 2007

Sea, Style and Poetry

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"When I wake up the dream comes true." --  Sunday by Nikonn DJ. Ravin

Luigi, the hotel concierge, booked me for everyday at Luigi (so many Luigis in this country) by the Faraglioni Rocks as well as at the Fontellina baths for lunch. In case I am on the boat, he says, the reservation stays. My secret admirer, the Latin speaker, swims in these waters on weekends. He justifies his speaking to me in Latin by saying that by having "Piu lingue che anni" (more languages than years), I should be able to understand him. After having my early morning Espresso Macchiato and a croissant at Bar Tiberio in the Piazzetta, I start walking the path of my Caprean routine, established over the years.

From the Piazzetta, I pass the legendary Grand Hotel Quisisana which has been synonymous with super luxurious elegance since its establishment in 1845. I give a quick glance over to the right corner of my favorite lingerie store, Intimissimi, thinking I must not forget to stop in after a day at the beach (I could do very well with just jewelry, high heels and lingerie), and turn on to Via Camerelle, one of the most prestigious streets in the world, where glamorous stores like Gucci, Missoni, Loro Piana, Pucci and Hermes open their doors for a procession of princes, actors, and sheiks.

On Via Camerelle, I suddenly hear a voice behind me: "Signorina! Signorina lei e la signorina Joelle?" (Miss! Are you miss Joelle?) I answer affirmatively to a man with white hair who is running out of (the not yet opened) world-famous, handmade sandal store Canfora. These exquisite sandals have been worn, among others, by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly, and Maria Callas. He catches up to me and says: "Your Brazilian friend, Bette Arbaitman, left last night to Brazil, and told me to tell you that she misses you, and asked me to make the sandals of your choice as a gift to 'her sister'  -- which is you of course!"

I don't have to tell you how my day is starting: I pick the most adorning colors of shining stones that vary from pink to emerald and with a touch of blue, matching my recent ring acquisition at the "Emperor" making sure my feet will look exactly like a Bollywood actress on vacation to this sophisticated island from India. I kiss Mister Canfora who -- I don't know how -- has unmistakably recognized like a "Divina " (star), and head to Via Tragara as fast as my Brazilian Havaianas can take me, the sun is strong and rising quickly--I cannot miss any of it.

The atmosphere slowly changes to a potpourri of perfumes and flavors. The sea can be seen through trees as well as the white rooftops of various Islamic or Christian dome elements. I'm walking again. A refined erotic and alluring setting of panoramic views only found in Alma-Tadema paintings (he also stayed in Capri) are meticulously taken in by my eye and camera. Every element is filtered with the bright light and colors immortalized by artists, intellectuals, poets and writers in their works . Pablo Neruda in 1952 wrote from Erwin Cerio's white bungalow over a cliff the "Captain Verses" in a moment of full poetic tension and contemplative ecstasy to the great love of his life, Matilda Urruia. The story is personified in the 1994 Italian movie Il Postino.

I can understand how the people of Capri cannot resist of getting rid of their old habit of having the light of sunrise in their eyes, the hour that enrolls the thoughts like the sugar of a special liquor. On the small path descending to Luigi, I realize that among fences and secret gardens, the ambiguity of human feelings held hostage and the embrace and the desire to be set free...

It's only the force of nature that imposes the solemnity of a reflection; the world cannot be betrayed when a solemn moment like this one is sweet, and -- breathing, the path is getting steeper -- my feet in one thousand steps are reaching the Faraglioni Rocks. A small pergola of a roof filled with scarlet Bouganvillae and white jasmine is the sign that I have arrived at my destination, the dark blue morning sea.

Far away, I can see my small green striped mattress waiting on a rock that has waited for me even longer. Constantino (I always call him Agostino) has put a fresh assortment of white towels and a large bottle of San Pellegrino water in a large ice bucket. And -- who knows -- the wind too may have risen with a song for me that only the sirens know how to sing...

Just wait a minute... Who is this rising from those deep blue waters with a warm smile?

Joelle's picks:

The music: Sunday, by Nikonn /Huvafen Fushi Maldives: Mixed by dj Ravin limited edition on iTunes

The book: The Captain Verses , Pablo Neruda

The hotel: Grand Hotel Quissisana : Via Camerelle, 2 Capri / Tel:+ 39 0818376080

The stores: Canfora Capri Sandals :Via Camerelle, 3, Capri / Tel +39 081 837 0487

Lingerie: Intimissimi : Design : Daniela di Stefano Capri Home Interiors : Via Roma,80073 Capri / Tel : +39 081837 8463 Slave Sandals : Schettino calzature hand-made:Via Roma,53/57, Capri / Tel :+39 0818370946 Rare Books : Libreria La Conchiglia, Via delle Botteghe,12, Capri /Tel : tel. +39 081 837 6577 - fax +39 081 837 9989

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