The Island of Capri was written by Ferdinand Gregorovius (1821 - 1891).
Cover Photograph of Marina Grande, ca. 1880 by Giorgio Sommer (1834–1914). He was born in Frankfurt am Main (in modern-day Germany), and became one of Europe’s most important and prolific photographers of the 19th century. Active from 1857 to 1888, he produced thousands of images of archeological ruins, landscapes, art
This book gives a lot of history and background for the beautiful island of Capri.
This book was translated From The German by the Author's Permission by Lilian Clarke. Published in Boston & New York in 1879. and portraits.
….A whole summer month I lived upon the Island ofCapri, and enjoyed to the full the magical loneliness of the sea. Now I would gladly retain these enchanted visions; but the stillness, the beauty, the mystery, is hardly to be told in words.
….It was on a Sunday, and the clearest morning, that we stepped into a boat atSorrento, and were towed to Capri. The sea was as still as the sky, and all in the far distance lost in a dreamy haze. But Capri lay before us, large and stem, with its battlements of unbending cliffs and peaks, the melancholy wildness of its mountains, and the rugged steepness of its dizzy precipices of red limestone. Upon the heights, brown Castelle, now fallen to ruin; forsaken redoubts, with their abandoned cannon, now covered by the smiling yellow flowers of the wild broom; cliffs, waste and wild, springing high into the air, around which the sea-hawk flutters,—the dwelling of the sun and of birds, as Æschylus says; caves, deep below, dimly lighted, and full of mystery; but above, on the bent back of the island, a cheerful little town, with white, domed - houses, with high walls, and a domed church-tower. Below, the harbor 0f the fishermen, with its narrow beach of white sand, and boats ranged in many rows.
….The bells were ringing and echoing as we approached the land; and upon the beach stood a pretty fisher-girl, holding a little bench of wood, which she pushed into the water as the boat touched the sand so that we might land dry-footed. And as I sprang upon the shore, upon this wonderful Capri, which in the North I had so often pictured to myself, I felt immediately at home. All was still and quiet; scarcely a fisherman to be seen, only two or three children bathing from a cliff, a few fisher-girls upon the beach, the rocks around, stern and silent. I had entered a wild and enchanted solitude. A steep and difficult path leads from the shore, between garden-walls, directly up to the little town of Capri. Among the rocks are gardens, with olive trees, orange trees, and grape-vines; but they strike the eye as being somewhat thin and scanty if accustomed to the luxuriance of the Campanian landscape. The very trees appear to be hermits upon Capri.
….Crossing the wooden bridge, and entering the town itself, through the ancient gate, the mind receives the most cheerful impression of a life of seclusion from the world, and the most unique picture of peace, childlike simplicity, and freedom from care. For here, in a very small piazza, peasants, in their holiday clothes, are sitting gossiping on the stone steps of the church; there, children are playing, full of noise and glee; and the little square itself looks as if the children had built it in their play. The houses are small, with domes and flat roofs, and almost every house has a vine trained over it.