The Mediterranean: Capri

Shopping and sightseeing by land and by sea

Hot Property: The Chic of the New

Capri is the James Bond of the Mediterranean: It's seen so much of the world by now that it has settled back into a kind of permanent amused irony. Which is why the smartest place to stay is the Capri Palace Hotel & Spa in Anacapri, the discreet cousin to overexposed Capritown. Overlooking the Gulf of Naples, the Capri Palace's 82 rooms are awash in white and creams with splashes of old gold on the ornate mirrors and chandeliers. All rooms except the gardenside doubles have terraces, many with sea views. Ask for one of the name suites: Andromeda, which has more modern decor and a private pool, and the rooftop Megaron, which also has a pool as well as a hanging garden with an olive tree that was winched up by helicopter. The staff here is exceptionally attentive (not something one takes for granted on this island), as is the spa, famous for its "Leg School" program, a series of treatments that includes vascular therapy ($30) and medicated mudpacks ($50). Rooms, $370-$2,360. At 2b Via Capodimonte; 39-081-978-0111;

—Lee Marshall

Great Find: Family Jewels
For eye-catching necklaces, brooches, and earrings, pay a visit to Grazia Vozza. She and her sister, Marica, use amethyst, jade, amber, and gold to create pieces that look like what Liz Taylor wore as Cleopatra, only more stylish. Prices go from $280 for earrings to $3,150 for a chunky necklace. The Vozzas also make gorgeous leather handbags with detachable amber handles ($900-$1,010). At 22 Via li Campi; 39-081-837-4010;


Hot Tables: Just Outside Capritown
ONE TO WATCH Le Grotelle, near the famous Villa Malaparte, serves some of the best typical island food, like ravioli capresi (filled with sheep's cheese in a simple tomato sauce) and grilled fish drizzled with olive oil. But its main draw is the setting: half inside a cave and half on a verdant terrace. Nearby, Da Tonino is one of the few restaurants on the island that offers adventurous dishes like anchovy millefeuilles on a bed of red peppers with basil-and-arugula pesto. It also has a splendid wine cellar. La Grotelle: Dinner, $70. $ At 13 Via dell'Arco Naturale; 39-081-837-5719. Da Tonino: Dinner, $115. At 12 Via Dentecale; 39-081-837-6718. Open March to January.


Yacht to Charter: South Wind
If you're staying at the Capri Palace, rent the hotel owner's 65-foot South Wind, entirely outfitted in teak. It's yours for the day for $1,560 for up to 12 people. The route is up to you; most popular are a complete circle of the island and a trip to Positano to shop. 39-081-978-0111;


At The Source: A Whiff of Capri
It's worth a trip to the perfumer Carthusia, where exceptional scents such as Caprissimo and Aria di Capri have been popular since the '50s. Silvio Ruoco, who now runs this artisanal shop founded in 1948, still makes his perfumes on Capri, but has modernized many of the classics, adding notes of jasmine and green tea. $40-$60. At 2 Viale Parco Augusto; 39-081- 837-0368;

—Carla Capalbo

Trek to Take: Seeing the Villa Malapparte
The best way to glimpse the Villa Malaparte, the 1930s masterpiece built for Curzio Malaparte (Italy's answer to Hemingway) and made famous in Contempt, is on foot. Set out from the Belvedere of Tragara heading north past Grand Hotel Quisisana, along Via Camerelle. From the Belvedere, take the steps down to the paved coast path. Go past the sign for the Faragliono rockstacks. After about 15 minutes you'll see the Pompeian-red house (now a private foundation) standing on a rocky spur to your right.


Hotel rates range from the lowest-priced double to the highest-priced suite in high season. In most cases VAT is not included. Meal prices are for a three-course dinner for two, excluding beverage and gratuity.

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