A slow erosive process has allowed the sea and the Sorrentine Peninsula to squeeze in. But it also caused the formation of free-standing rocks and spectacular natural marvels–from the Faraglioni to the many caves which have carved their way through the mountainside. This morning, I decided to call Giuseppe, the marinaio (sailor), and take a typical Capri Gozzo boat, to search for the most impressive and must-see caves of the island.
It’s 10 o’clock in the morning and the sun’s rays are already strong. The sea is calm today, a perfect day to boat around, says Giuseppe. Our plan is to meet in half an hour at the restaurant Luigi down to by the Faraglioni. Like every morning, the most enjoyable moment of the day, is the walk in the woods, surrounded by the Bouganvillae, the elegant hotel roofs of Via Tragara and the views over the yachts in the blue sea framed by a forest of stunning Pinus Haleppensis trees.
Giuseppe is waiting. Another boat is coming from the local Market in Naples with fresh mozzarella balls made early this morning, San Marzano tomatoes, fruit, white wine, fresh basil, brown Italian bread and the rest is for the restaurant. All in the small boat we are now ready to explore.
Grotta Bianca is accessible from the sea and consists of two small basins communicating on the surface through a channel dug in the rock. The channel is said to have been built by the Romans and was used to hide boats during pirate raids. We decide to jump into the water. The second basin is amazingly opalescent owing to the mixing of sea and spring water. Giuseppe laughs.
Grotta Meravigliosa was inaccessible until 1901 when two Englishmen built an artificial gallery and a staircase from which one can admire a series of oddly shaped stalactites and stalagmites. The temperature difference inside varies greatly: it is cold even in the summer. The cave creates a natural platform, which extends for twenty meters and narrows into an uphill passage. We continue our boat tour and, after a while, we pass the Faraglioni and head for the bay of Marina Piccola.
Grotta dell’Arsenale e dei Santi
At the foot of Torre Saracena right under the famous Via Krupp, we found Grotta dellâ€™Arsenale, the name comes from from its military use during the Middle-Ages (there is a popular belief that it was also used recently as a shipyard). Certainly, in ancient times, a slipway was built to beach the boats, but there are no ruins proving any kind of human activity. Grotta dei Santi (The Saintsâ€™Grotto) gets its name from erosion of the calcareous material and the action of the seawater that formed various shapes resembling religious statues. We pass Marina Piccola and Punta Ventroso and reach the beautiful Grotta Verde which spreads open before us.
Grotta Verde displays a complex structure: in addition to Grotta Verde, (it takes the name from the color taken on by the sea corssed by light filtering through two openings an exceptional chromatic effect.), many are the surronundings karstie caves: Grotta Ruoffolo, facing the eastern entrance: Grotta Rossa ,which owes its name to the red algae: Grotta dello Champagne located between the Grotta Verde and the Grotta Verde accessible only by the sea and distinguished by a jet of water similar to the one produced by champagne. We leave such an amazing view in search of something possibly more spectacular. A few kilometers from the port, we enter a small opening and cannot believe our eyes
Grotta Azzurra is an old-age karstic cave which became enlarged from landslides and has a partially submerged opening to the sea caused by brady seism. This prevents the direct sunlight from coming in and the water is lit from below, from and underwater opening 18 meters high, that makes the water and the cave walls and vault acquire their characteristic blue coloring. If we immerse an object in the water,it takes on a silvery nuance because of the air bubbles sticking to the object’s surface having a refractive index different from water’s let light out. The legend has it that, in Tiberius‘s days the Blue Grotto was used as a sea Nymphaeum, that is was inhabited by Nereids, mermaids and even devils who scared away whoever tried to get in.
The waters were refreshing, so was the wine; Giuseppe prepared the most amazing Panini Capresi. After lunch, the best thing to do after so much exploring, was to take a long nap in the sea breeze and dream about the immense rainbow of blues, greens and turquoiseâ€“â€“with the sea rocking me gently like the song of a siren in the tranquility in our dolce-far-niente afternoon.
The Gozzo Boat with sailor:
Capri Relax Boats – Via Cristoforo Colombo, 64 – Marina Grande Capri -Tel: +39 081 8374559 – + 39 081 8377528 – www.caprirelaxboats.com – firstname.lastname@example.org – For special requests : Mr Costantino +39 33 56675626
Da Luigi ai Faraglioni:
Via Faraglioni, 5 80073 Capri( Napoli) Tel: +39 081 8370591 – Fax : +39 081 8376113 email@example.com – www.hotelcertosella.com