Good morning on Thursday 29th April. I remember once as a child asking my mum what would happen if there was no news one day. Would the newsreaders on BBC just sit around shuffling papers or would there just be a blank screen for half an hour? Of course as we all know, the media look for or even create news as much as they report on it and it's quite easy to spot a genuine no news day. Yesterday was one and today is another so rather than going to the lengths of creating a news story myself because that would probably involve some kind of personal trauma, I'll instead just report on the few facts there are.
Yesterday in Italy there were 13,385 new cases of Covid 19, a very slight decrease on the previous Wednesday's figure and another little sign of stability after the loosening of restrictions at the beginning of the week. Daily vaccination numbers swelled to half a million on Tuesday but dropped a bit yesterday to just over 350,000. I've been reading reports this morning of people turning up for vaccination appointments only to find "chiuso" written on the locked door of the vaccination centre. Word on the street is that vaccine supplies aren't finding their way to some vaccination centres as quickly as they should. Let's hope they're not being intercepted somewhere en-route.
After a pretty disappointing April in terms of the weather, the wheel finally seems to be grinding towards summer with temperatures reaching as much as 28° Celsius in Calabria today and around the mid-twenties in the fellow southern regions of Puglia, Sicily and Campania.
That last word, Campania, still doesn't strike much of a chord with international travellers to Italy, despite being one of the country's favourite holiday destinations. It can boast the likes of the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and Naples with its archeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, or the Cilento Coast and Greek temples of Paestum further to the south. Perhaps best of all though, Campania is the home to three wonderful islands just off the coast of Naples.
Over the next month or so, the three islands of Ischia, Capri and Procida will be undergoing a mass vaccination program to make each one Covid-free. The idea is to prioritise vaccine supplies to these three islands in order to achieve herd immunity as quickly as possible and to open them all up for tourism within the coming months. Last week I named Ischia as the number one in my list of Top Ten Italian Islands and I recently reported on Procida's award of Italian Capital of Culture for 2022 so let's have a look at the third island in this happy triumvirate: Capri.
Whilst there's every chance you haven't heard of Campania as a region, it's unlikely the island named after a 1970's sports coupe* will have escaped your attention. It's one of the most popular destinations for a day trip from the ever-popular Sorrento and can be reached by ferry in around 20 minutes. On arrival at the port of Marina Grande you can either take the funicular railway up to La Piazzetta at the centre of Capri Town, or take one of the excursion boats around the island to visit the enchanting Blue Grotto.
Capri has that "chic" tag attached to it and whilst it's true that you can happily empty your bank accounts in the upscale boutiques of Via Camerelle, the reason the island attracted tourists in the first place was because of its natural beauty. Divided into the two communes of Capri and Anacapri, the Capri commune offers such diverse charms as the Augustus Gardens from where you can look down on to the evocative Faraglioni sea stacks, the beach area of Marina Piccola where the water is of the brightest blue variety, and Villa Jovis, the Roman palace of the Emperor Tiberius from where he ruled the world's affairs while conducting his own rather shady ones: throwing ex (and when I say ex I mean a few minutes ago) lovers from a cliff once they'd fulfilled their purpose.
You can take a hair-rising bus ride from Capri to the more elevated Anacapri, winding your way around the cliff-edge as the bus sways and slightly dices with death whilst at the same time creating some dramatic views. Anacapri is the more natural, less-touristy half of the island, dominated by Mount Solaro, the 589 metre high summit of which you can reach via a chairlift, and the Villa San Michele/Axel Munthe Museum from where you can enjoy the views down to Marina Grande, just without all the swaying this time.
Well that's all from me today, I'll leave you with a few photos of Capri for and I'll be back tomorrow with the latest Top Ten on Friday; I'm thinking either Top Ten Seaside Towns or Top Ten Hill Towns but all will be revealed tomorrow.
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My name is Dion Protani, founder of Italy Review. The Italy Review blog is designed to provide ideas and inspiration to visit places in Italy you might not have heard about, as well those you have.