An Italian Adventure in Sardinia and Capri
Ciao Bellas! I’m writing this as I am waking up from a pasta and gelato coma (which is the best kind of coma to be in). Bruce and I kicked off our summer with a trip to Italy and it was glorious! In my previous travel tip post I mentioned all the ways to research travel spots on the internet and the best tools to use. I also mentioned that I find tips from friends or family members who have been to the destination before to be a valuable resource. In our case, for our trip to Capri, our friends really came through with some top notch recommendations. More on that later in my post.
It all Started in Sardinia
So technically this trip wasn’t all play. Bruce had a little bit of business to attend to in Sardinia before our vacation in Capri began. For those of you who are not familiar with Sardinia, it is a large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. The island offers hiking, beaches, an archaeological museum, ruins, and a 13th century cathedral with royal tombs. For the most part, we spent our time walking around the town of Porto Cervo, an Italian seaside resort in northern Sardinia, exploring all of the shops and restaurants. I thought I would give you a brief recap of our two days spent in Sardinia before I jump into the glorious time we spent in Capri!
Restaurants in Sardinia, Italy
Both nights that we were in Sardinia we ended up eating at the same restaurant, Pedri Garden Restaurant & Bistro. The seafood and the pasta were to die for! This is something that one would expect when they are on an island off the coast of Italy, however needless to say, we were not disappointed! The staff brought us several different antipasti choices for us to try. We went with all of their suggestions, including a great brand of champagne that we had never tried before, Ruinart. Then Bruce and I split the linguine with black truffles followed by the salt-crusted Mediterranean Sea bass with fresh vegetables. Everything was sooo good that we were too full for dessert!
Pedri Garden Restaurant & Bistro: Via Porto Vecchio, 1, 07021 Porto Cervo OT, Italy (phone: +39 340 623 6358)
The Sights of Sardinia, Italy
We spent our days in-between Bruce’s work engagements walking around Porto Cervo. It was an adorable sea-side town full of shops and restaurants. I would say that you need to be careful with the timing of your visit in the town of Porto Cervo because in true European fashion, some places close for a few hours in the afternoon. Overall I enjoyed Sardinia. I feel as though it is a lovely place to spend a day or two, but no more.
Transportation Throughout Italy - What You Need To Know
There are so many options for transportation throughout Italy. Planes, trains, automobiles and boats. How you get from Point A to Point B can often depend on your budget, timeline and general travel disposition. Bruce and I travel a lot. Bruce even more so than I for work. After spending a LOT of time on the road over the years, Bruce prefers taking the most efficient and convenient travel routes possible…and I’m on board with that! I admire the young 20-somethings that backpack through Europe and embrace their wanderlust. However at this point in our lives “the less stress, the better” is the travel mantra that works best for us.
For this particular leg of our trip traveling from Sardinia to Capri we took a plane, a car service and a boat to get to our final destination. The travel logistics that day getting from point A (Sardinia) to point B (Rome) and then to Point C (Capri) were somewhat complicated, but it worked.
We flew out of the Sardinia airport in Olbia to Rome. It was a 40 minute flight; quick, efficient and on time. At the Rome airport we were met by an airport greeter who met us at our arriving gate and took us down to baggage claim to get our luggage. He then led us outside to meet our driver in Rome who would take us in a private car to Naples. At this point another option for travel would have been to take a train from Rome to Naples. The rail system in Italy is fantastic, however by taking a car service we were able to shorten our journey by eliminating the need to travel from the airport to the train station, wait for a train, and then once again need transportation from the train station in Naples to the port. Also, having a greeter meet us at the airport in Rome eliminated any stress of navigating the airport, retrieving our luggage and finding our driver. I’ve mentioned this before in past travel posts, but despite the technology available for travelers, I still often times use a travel agent to help book the logistics of trips we take internationally. It's a service that is still available and I would highly recommend it to anyone traveling internationally that is looking for help booking a trip that is stress free.
It was a 2 hour 10 minute drive from the airport in Rome to the port in Naples. We were able to catch up on some inbox maintenance and text messages via the wi-fi in the car; boy did it go fast! Once there, we were met by another greeter who led us to the exact hydrofoil (ferry) that we were to get on to go to Capri. They tagged our luggage, put it on board the hydrofoil and then we were off. The hydrofoil ride took 40 minutes. Once we got off the hydrofoil at the port of Capri, we gave our luggage to the hotel representative who met us at the port and they took our luggage to the hotel via a small transport vehicle. Bruce and I then took a taxi into the town of Capri. I have to say it was strange leaving our luggage behind and getting into a taxi without our 4 pieces. It was about a 15 minute walk to our hotel when we got out of the taxi. We didn’t realize that in Capri, the streets are too narrow for cars to go through the city. Only pedestrians. Motorized carts transported our luggage from the taxi to the hotel.
We arrived at our hotel late in the afternoon. Friends of ours in LA gave us the lowdown on what our travel day would look like, and how to navigate once we arrived at the port of Capri. What I have to say is this, they were on-point, and everything went very smoothly and efficiently.
Capri - Our (New) Favorite Place on Earth
What I will say about our trip to Capri is this; I am so glad that we had 3 full days and 4 nights there! Many of our friends who had been there before us had always stayed in a hotel in Positano or somewhere along the Amalfi Coast. Capri became a day trip on the ferry for a couple of hours to do a little shopping, have dinner and then go back. Every single one of these couples would always say the same thing after getting back from their trip; they wished that they had had more time in Capri because it was fun and there seemed to be a lot of different things to do. This is the truth! It’s a trip Bruce and I will always remember. Our friends Stephanie and Brian, who gave us all the tips and suggestions for Capri told us it was a gem. They said it was their favorite place on earth and couldn’t say enough about how special it is. They were absolutely right and now it is one of our favorite places! Grazie Stephanie and Brian!
Hotels in Capri, Italy
Most of the hotels in Capri are authentic in their architectural design and decor. There are no large hotel chains on the island which makes the city a true destination treasure! I can recommend the following hotels based on my experience as well as reviews from my friends who are well-traveled and have stayed there. Initially we wanted to stay at The Grand Hotel Quisisana. However, this hotel was being rented out by Ferrari for a corporate event during the time we were there. Luckily, The Grand Hotel Quisisana had a sister location on the island and that is where we stayed.
Hotel Scalinatella: Via Tragara, 8, 80073 Capri NA, Italy (phone: +39 081 837 0633)
We really enjoyed our stay at this boutique hotel. The property used to be a villa and the designers did an excellent job of authentically furnishing and styling the location. There was a lovely blue and white theme throughout the property that complimented the ocean views. Much like the rest of Capri, there were lots of steps to get to our room. Bruce and I enjoyed this because it felt like we were working off some of the pasta, pizza and gelato that we were indulging in during our stay. We found the service to be excellent at Hotel Scalinatella during our entire stay!
Grand Hotel Quisisana: Via Camerelle, 2, 80073 Capri NA, Italy (phone: +39 081 837 0788)
The Grand Hotel Quisisana (the property we initially intended to stay at) really lives up to its’ name. It is in fact very grand! Located in the heart of Capri, you can’t miss it when you’re walking through town. Since this property is In the center of the action it is ideal for one of my favorite past times - people-watching! Bruce and I went there for drinks before dinner two of the nights that we were in Capri and the ambiance, the drinks and the people-watching did not disappoint!
The Sights of Capri, Italy
La Fontelina - Beach Club: Località Faraglioni 80073 Capri (NA) Italy (phone: +39 081 837 4642)
On our first full day in Capri we went to an authentic Italian beach club, La Fontelina Beach Club. This club requires a reservation, so I recommend that you ask the concierge at your hotel to make one for you. The club will set you up with beach chairs or a lounge mattress. The type of set up you prefer needs to be communicated to the club prior to your arrival so be sure to make your decision before your concierge makes the reservation for you.
The location set-up is on a rocky terrain overlooking the ocean which makes this place so cool and unique. So needless to say, there is no sand. I recommend arriving earlier in the day (before lunch) and plan on being there for several hours. There are several different levels to the beach club and lots of steps. One word of caution: It’s a serious hike to get there if you want to walk. If you have any physical limitations whatsoever, take a boat from the harbor.
The signature blue and white umbrellas really accentuate the European coastal vibe. It’s lovely and relaxing with great views of the ocean and the boats, and you can even swim in the ocean from here by just taking the steps down. This was a really great beach day, very different because it’s not like we were on lounge chairs on a sandy beach. For lunch I would recommend having your hotel make a reservation for you at the La Fontelina restaurant, which is right there on the property. Their food was delicious, and they had a nice wine list as well. I enjoyed the linguine mare with a white peach sangria. Deliziosa!
A private boat ride around Capri!
What a memorable day! We had our hotel reserve a private boat for us to take us all around the island of Capri. The speed boat picked us up at the La Fontelina beach club harbor around 11. Our boat driver was fantastic! He pointed everything out to us and gave us the history of the island. He took us to see the Blue Grotto and the Green Grotto, and we had never seen ocean water that looked like this. It was gorgeous! The colors were magnificent. The Blue Grotto was royal blue water and the green grotto was a rich emerald green blue. I was just in awe.
The boat setup was great. Part of the boat was covered so that when we wanted shade it was there for us, and when we wanted sun, we could have that too. He brought plenty of water and drinks along which was convenient and much appreciated. If you wanted to swim you could do that too. It was such a special day cruising around the island of Capri and seeing the Amalfi coast.
For lunch he took us to Conco del Sogno which was absolutely delicious. If you’re planning on going to this restaurant, be sure to make a lunch reservation in advance to ensure you get a table. It’s a very popular spot and there is always a crowd. We had a delicious bottle of rose’, a basket of delicious bread with olive oil, mussels that were to die-for, and some fresh homemade ravioli. We both loved our meal! Afterwards we relaxed at the small beach club attached. By the time we got back to Capri it was close to 5:00. Such a great day!
Shopping and exploring Capri
We had made arrangements to have another beach day but that morning at breakfast my husband and I decided we really wanted more time to explore the town of Capri. We discovered some cute and interesting spots wandering around. We first went into a store called Antica Sartoria that had lots of lace beach dresses, tops and skirts in all different styles and colors. Lace was everywhere. We had passed it on the main street several times but never went in. They had lots of cute things so I’m glad I had a chance to check it out.
Laboratorio: Via Ignazio Cerio, 6, 80073 Capri (NA) Italy (phone: +081 837 6296)
My friend Stephanie told me about a local store to go to called Laboratorio. It is an authentic Capri boutique where they will custom make any piece of clothing in there for you if they don’t have your size. Their printed fabrics are exquisite with such vivid coloring. Their straw purses are classic and their alligator purses and totes are a signature item which they will custom make for you in any color. There were even some trendy clear plastic totes with their signature brightly colored alligator handles that were really cute.
Next it was time for a gelato at Tavolacalda Gelateria. It was around noon and our last day on Capri and as we passed that spot I went with the old saying ‘you only live once’! We had a chocolate and coconut waffle cone. A total splurge in the middle of the day, and i loved it!
Bottega Capri - Since 1917 - Capri, Italy
We then came across a cute little boutique called Bottega Capri Since 1917 and boy was this an experience. It was like the store of my dreams. All of you know that I love shoes, and at this shop you can custom make a pair of sandals, choosing the style, the color leather and any adornments you might want to add. I was literally like a kid in a candy store here. They precisely measure your feet. You can choose to have a heel or no heel. You can specify wide or narrow sizing and then they perfectly measure and create the sandal of your dreams. I had them make me a darling pair with feathers that I will absolutely love wearing in LA. It was such a treat getting to meet Melannia and Luigi who truly made this shopping experience so much fun, I could do it all over again!
Cartarzi - Hand Crafted Hats
We also found a cute hat shop called Cartarzi 1910. I love hats, but have a hard time finding one that fits my head properly. I can rarely buy women’s hats just sitting on a shelf, so it was really fun to have a wide variety of hats to choose from in my size. I love mine and picked several different colored bands that I can interchange to create different looks.
Carthusia Perfumerie: Via Matteotti, 2d, 80073 Capri NA, Italy (phone: +39 081 837 5393)
We then passed an authentic perfumerie called Carthusia. This company has manufactured perfumes since 1948 and there are many different oils and scents to choose from. If you love different scents and you want to experience another local favorite spot, stop in here.
Dining Out in Capri, Italy
Villa Verde: Via Sella Orta, 6, 80073 Capri NA, Italy (phone: +39 081 837 7024)
This was a really pretty restaurant. I had the Linguini with Black truffles and a margherita pizza. Everything was delicious and the service was wonderful.
Ristorante da Paolino: Via Palazzo a Mare, 11, 80073 Capri NA, Italy (phone: +39 081 837 6102)
I knew I was going to love a restaurant with lemon trees everywhere - so on brand for me! There were even lemons growing on the ceiling! This particular evening Bruce and I were at dinner with a large group of people. I think they ordered just about everything on the menu! So much antipasti for all of us to try and a plate of four different pastas were served to each of us - and all were delicious! One pasta that stood out to me was a spaghetti in white sauce with lemon - it was unique and delicious. For the main course we had Mediterranean sea bass and vegetables. At the end of the meal they passed around an array of different desserts for us to try. My favorite was the miniature strawberries and fresh whipped cream. After a big meal I take pleasure in a simple dessert.
Ristorante Terrazza Brunella: Via Tragara, 24, 80073 Capri NA, Italy (phone: +39 081 837 0122)
This restaurant was extremely authentic and very romantic. I highly recommend requesting a table by the window so you can fully enjoy their stunning views. We ordered the caprese salad, eggplant parmesan and the fish. Everything was divine!
Ristorante Aurora: Via Fuorlovado, 18, 80073 Capri NA, Italy (phone: +39 081 837 0181)
This restaurant was really fun and has been in business for many years - which is no surprise after experiencing their food for ourselves. They’re famous for their thin crust pizzas, which I have to say, are absolutely delicious and so crispy! Our waiter proudly told us that the owner and chef had a special recipe that was yeast-free. We loved every bite we had as well as the pasta and truffles dish.
Ask Me Anything!
Bruce and I fell head over heels in love with Capri. The sights, the sounds, the people….and the food! Everything about it was utterly charming and absolutely magical. If any of you have a question about my trip please feel free to ask me anything in the comments below. I’d be happy to give you further details about the places we stayed, the restaurants we went to, how we got around, and the planning process. If you’re interested in using a travel agent I highly recommend the one we used, Sunny, from Magma Global Travel. She was incredibly helpful with arranging airport greeters, car services, and working with the concierges at out hotels to secure local reservations.