Summer events in Capri
Renato Esposito, Manager of the Gatto Bianco Hotel offers us his pick of summer events on the island including walking tours, concerts, performances and themed dinners
For the past six years, I have been organizing the ‘Passeggiate d’autore’ (walking tour experiences) in collaboration with the Nesea The first tour will kick off on 12
June with a visit to the historic villas of Marina Piccola, all of which are now luxury hotels. We will recount the legend of the myth of the Sirens amidst enchantment and disenchantment, from the historiographical birth of the cult in Capri and the peninsula of Sorrento to how it was transformed, during the 19th century, into a form of sexual libido that has nothing to do with the original legend. Among other things, we will visit Villa Serafina (now Pierina), where Russian author Maxim Gorky lived during the later years of his life, the unusual Villa Gerard, which has glass domes instead of roofs, and the magnificent Villa Kronberg, perched above the sea. We will end our walking tour in Marina Piccola where we will talk about the legend of the ‘Song of the sea’. The aim of my walking tours is to help tourists discover new villas and new hotels through collaboration with their owners, who open them especially for us. it’s a way of discovering a hidden Capri and its treasures. In the past, artists staying at these hotels were unable to pay for their accommodation. In exchange for the hospitality offered by their owners they painted doors or entire rooms, meaning that on entering these villas, which are now hotels, tourists will find themselves admiring unknown masterpieces. Capri hides lots of secrets. Sartre, who was madly in love with the island often said that in Naples and in Capri the stones speak, they tell stories, you just have to be attuned to your surroundings
to understand their language: I am trying to decode the language of stones to help my clients discover the essence of the island. It’s a bit like in the past when travelers weren’t worried about arriving but, on the contrary, were in search of a spiritual heartland that would fill their souls. On 2 July, the walking tour will be dedicated to the historic hotels of Capri. This year, we will be introducing a new one, the Certosella, where Camille Du Locle, the composer of the majority of Verdi’s librettos, lived and died. On 22 July, we will be visiting the villas where the most important British authors lived. This will be dramatized tour during which Roman actor Alessandro Rubinetti will impersonate five well-known authors. We will also visit the house formerly inhabited by Graham Greene where the author commissioned a master builder from Anacapri to build a white wall in front of which he wrote most of his thrillers because he said that the scenery of Capri distracted him. On 10 August, French singer Nicole Renaud will hold a concert in Monte Solaro where she will present Capri Songs, a CD featuring songs about Capri. Her presentation will be accompanied by a number of interesting stories about the island. On 27 August, we have scheduled a walking tour in search of the green ray of light at Villa Lysis. The green ray is an unusual flash of light that can be glimpsed for a few seconds as the sun sets over the horizon. Not everyone can see it: only those who want to change their lives and start out afresh in Capri. The walking tours will continue on 10
September with a visit to the historic hotels of Marina Grande, built on the ancient ruins of Augustan villas and now all luxury hotels, including Villa Torricella, which Compton Mackenzie used as a setting for Vestal Fire, one of his most famous novels. To mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution, on 27 October we will be organizing an international chess tournament with chess masters from Russia. Entitled ‘Isola di capri Vladimir Lenin’, one of its high points will include a re-enactment of the famous match held on a terrace of one of Capri’s villas between Lenin and Bogdnavov, interpreted by two Russian champions. In November we will be organizing four walking tours dedicated to what the Germans once referred to as the ‘cliff of winter’ because, up until 1930, travelers from Northern Europe would visit Capri during the off-season to escape cruel winters and Italy’s torrid summer. The walks will be devoted to autumn rituals to offer visitors a perspective of the island. Until now, in November, everything in Capri closed down until spring. We want to change things and extend the tourist season. This year, many restaurants, boutiques and hotels will stay open until 11 December, re-opening once again on New Year’s Eve. In short, a reversal of trends!