Capri: Tour of the blue island and Blue Grotto

Capri is an island located in the Tyrrhenian sea in the Bay of Naples. Famous for its amazing natural rock formations and its designer hotels and shopping, the island is inundated with tourists during summers.

If you are a Capricorn, you will recognize that the name comes from the Latin for ‘goat’. Perhaps the derivative of this name comes from the goats inhabiting this island. I suspect Capri pants also have something to do with this island.

As luck would have it, we missed the ten o’ clock ferry to the island. I took it as a portent as I had secretly wanted to do a tour of the island by sea. The only other available option was to take a private boat to Capri and we combined it with an island tour.

As our boat pushed off from Positano to Capri in the shimmering sea, we were greeted by some of the most amazing geological marvels. Our boat took small respites along the dramatically craggy coastline as we explored several hidden coves and rock formations.

Grotta Azzura or the Blue Grotto

One of the most magical sights of Capri is Grotta Azzura or the Blue Grotto. To reach there, you are asked to hop off your larger boat and get aboard a small row boat. You have to lay back in the boat to allow your boatman to skillfully navigate you through the metre-high mouth of the cavern. Once you pass through complete darkness inside you are treated to one of nature’s most divine experiences. The waters of the grotto are lit by an azure blue light, while the boatmen sing ancient Neapolitan songs which echo within the confines of the grotto. It is said that this blue colour is best seen between noon and 2 pm The pictures I have posted are untouched by photo editing software. It is the sunlight reflecting against the waters of the cave which creates this marvel.

During the reign of Tiberius in Roman times, the grotto was used as a marine temple, and ancient Roman statues found here are now on display at the Casa Rossa in Anacapri. For many years afterwards, the Blue Grotto was avoided by sailors, as local legends told of spirits and demons living there. One day in 1826, however, local fisherman Angelo Ferraro accompanied German author August Kopisch and painter Ernst Fries to the cave, and their tales of its marvels have led to the grotto being one of the must-see sights on any visitor to Capri’s itinerary.

Other sights

Besides these we also saw the Grotta Bianca (White Grotto), Grotta del Corallo (Red Grotto) and Grotta Verde (Green Grotto)- each showing different colours because of geological variations. On the way the legendary trio of the three rock spurs, the Faraglio-Stella, di Mezzo and di Fuori:-greeted us.

Grotta Bianca or the white grotto

White calcareous encrustations can be seen on its sides, and clusters of white stalactites hang from the roof and fringe the entrance. In Mario Puzo’s book ‘The Sicilian’, the Grotta Bianca is where Salvatore Giuliano, the famous Sicilian bandit, stays during his first nights as an outlaw.

The Faraglioni

Capri’s most iconic sight are the dramatic Faraglioni, three towering rock formations which jut out from the Mediterranean just off the island’s coast.
The three spurs of rock rise up out of the sea, within meters of the island’s Southern coast.

The famous Faraglioni are seen from southern coast of Capri. In Italian, faraglioni means stacks. These are coastal and oceanic rock formations eroded by waves. These three rocks have names. The one on the left, which is attached to the island is called Stella. The one in the middle is Faraglione di Mezzo and the one on the right is Farglione di Fuori or Scopolo.
The Scopolo sea stack on the right is the only habitat for the blue lizard (Podarcis sicula coerulea). An excellent example of animal camouflage, the reptile’s blue color is said to be less visible and less appetizing to predators

The Faraglione di Mezzo has a central cavity, large enough to allow a small boat to pass through. Legend says that couples who kiss as they pass through the Faraglioni rocks will stay together forever. It is said that if you’re with your sweetheart, be sure to exchange a kiss while passing through this hole for good luck! 

Marina Grande- Capri’s harbour

We didn’t bother to see the other touristy spots in Capri, preferring to relax on the beach, eat gelato, inhale the sea breeze and imbibe the sights and smells of this island instead.

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