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Capri in February

Updated: May 23, 2023

Capri is pure romance - the island, molded in the blue waters of Italy's Tyrrhenian Sea, has for ages been a favorite destination of queens and emperors. The blue waters, the fabulous shopping, and the ruins of the imperial Roman Villas underneath the famous limestone setbacks have made this island a premier summer destination full of glitz and glamour. However, in February, when I first came to visit, the island told a much different story.

That Winter, life on the island seemed to have vanished. Offseason on Capri carried a much different aura, a more subdued allure; it was wreathed in stillness and ease as if we had it all to ourselves. My friends and I visited in mid-February; our group of fifteen made up half of the ferry's passengers from Sorrento. We arrived at the Marina Grande harbor with no plan and zero expectations. The harbor was empty, all the doors shut, and all the restaurants closed. No life, no bustle, just everything unopen and nobody else around. I discovered later that the population of Capri and much of Almafi decreases during the winter months as those who work in tourism jet abroad until spring.

As we rode up the winding roads to Capri town to the Gardens of Augustus, it felt as if the island had been abandoned. The Gardens were empty, with no strangers to share the views of Faraglioni, Marina Piccola, and Via Krupp, the famous mountainside switchbacks. After the gardens, we wandered to the Piazza Umberto and the viewpoints of Capri Town; it was a beautiful Italian winter day. We drank espresso and ate pastries at one of the only open cafes. The waiter recommended we take a sightseeing boat around the island, so we stopped at a shop to buy champagne for our ride. Back at the harbor, our boat embarked around the entire island, through the Faraglioni, past the Blue Grotto, and eventually back to Marina Grande. The winter sun was warm, the water was peaceful, and we were the only boat in sight. Floating around the island, the sea was quiet; it felt like we were the only ones to ever experience Capri in this undisturbed state.

With half of the day left, we took a bus up Mount Solaro, where we gazed out the windows to the view of the Mediterranean, the Bay of Naples, and the far-off Almafi Coast. We arrived in Anacapri, the only other town on the island. This normally luxurious vacation town seemed to be in hibernation. We found an open restaurant for an early dinner, where we shared pasta and Aperol Spritzes. With several hours until our ferry and all the buses shut down for the day, we wandered down the mountain towards the Phoenician Steps. Along our way, we passed an empty soccer field overlooking the water. With nowhere to be, we were inspired to play a game of pickup. As the light faded over the island, the beautiful Italian sunset ended our soccer match. At dusk, we arrived at the harbor once more; the night sky having settled in over the quiet island.

My day on the empty island of Capri was over. A day of solitude and beauty, I experienced the island's innate beauty in a suspended state, a way in which very few get to encounter Capri, void of the summer chaos and bustle. I will never be able to replicate the serene tranquility of Capri that day in February.

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