December 22, 2014

Gardens of Augustus, Capri

The Italian island of Capri has been blessed with an abundance of scenic locales and one of its most colourful is the Giardini di Augusto (Gardens of Augustus). When we visited in July, the lush botanical gardens were in full bloom. The park is also the ideal vantage point from which to view the famous Faraglioni, a trio of rock formations just off the island’s coast.


Giardini di Augusto, Augustus Gardens in Capri


Giardini di Augusto is a pleasant downhill stroll from the Piazzetta in the centre of Capri town, along Via Vittorio Emanuele and Via F. Serena, then right on Via Matteotti. Here the baroque clock tower of the Carthusian monastery Certosa di San Giacomo (Charterhouse of St. James) rises from the treetops below.


Certosa di San Giacomo, Charterhouse of St. James


Nearby, a cloud of exotic scents announces the location of the Carthusia di Capri perfume factory. The company’s first scent was named 1681, for the year Cartesian monks began to make fragrances with local herbs and spices. It’s been reported that Sophia Loren, Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn have all worn Carthusia perfumes.


Carthusia di Capri




A little further along Via Matteotti is the ticket kiosk for the Augustus Gardens (admission is €1 from March 1 through November 15). A short flight of stairs leads to the park entrance and if you continue straight ahead to the edge of the cliff and look down, you’ll see Via Krupp, a switchback pathway leading to the rocky shoreline and turquoise waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.


Entrance to the Augustus Gardens





Augustus Gardens was originally known as Krupp Gardens, named for German industrialist, Friedrich Krupp, who built the footpath in 1902. It served as his route from the Grand Hotel Quisisana, where he lived, to his yacht in the small fishing village of Marina Piccola, which is now the island’s beach resort. After WW I, the gardens were renamed for Caesar Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire, who made the island his own personal paradise.


Via Krupp


From the opposite corner of the gardens, you can view the Faraglioni, or “stacks”, large rock formations created by erosion from the waves.



Faraglioni Rocks

The landmark was featured in a recent TV commercial for Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue perfume (my favourite summer fragrance).

One of the rocks, the Faraglione di Fuori, is home to the rare blue lizard of the Faraglioni.


Blue Lizard of the Faraglioni


Competing with these breathtaking sea views are the floral delights of the garden: masses of purple bougainvillea vines wound about towering tree trunks, cheery pink geraniums lining the meandering pathways, and white marble figures gathered round a small lily pond.


Gardens of Augustus in Bloom





Bougainvillea Blossoms


Garden Statuary


Lily Pond


Water Lily


Near the pond is a long stone bench embellished with lively ceramic tiles. Majolica is a style of hand-painted ceramics dating from the Renaissance period that incorporates vivid colours on a white background. The tiles frequently depict scenes of traditional island life.


Majolica Tile Bench





The gardens are open daily from 09:00 to 19:30. And though the public park would make a scenic picnic spot, no food is permitted. But Giardini di Augusto remains a little piece of paradise where travellers can escape the heat and the crowds on a summer day in Capri.




Posh Capri Town

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