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CAPRI

It is easy to be rhetoric speaking of Capri. On the other hand, is it really rhetorical to state that this island has not equals around the world and that its nights and its legends have a unique charm? We think it is not, together with the thousands of artists, aristocratic and intellectuals who elected this beautiful island as their home land, during the past 2000 years. So lets discover it, guided by those people who have always loved and lived it

Article by Rosalba Giugni, Photographs by Luca Sonnino Sorisio


A MYTH ON THE SEA

If I should explain Capri in two words I will choose "myrtle" and "pine". My Capri (there are millions of different Capri, each telling stories of charm and magic) perfumes of pine and myrtle, ancient preellenich trees, friendly to humans, true and solid, projected to the sky. The Capri's sky. In the summertime, walking on the shore, I feel the pine and myrtle flavor, stronger than the algae and cliffs one. It arrives slowly and intermittent. But it is strong. My Capri's flavor is strong. Those landing at Capri for the first time should arrive by night. Arriving during the day, they will tell you stories about the charm of this unique island (is it unique over the entire universe?), about its woman body shape, remembering a marine goddess laying on a cobalt blue sea: her profile marked by the Solaro mountain, and her hairs are Tiberio point. Capri, by day, is amazing, and superb as well. Capri, by day, will never disappoint you. Capri is my Capri by night only.

First of all the moon. There are several moons. There is the moon which illuminated Babylon's gardens and Cartage's ruins, the night after its destroy. There are the Egyptian and Pierrot moons. The Saracens half moon and the tin foil one over cribs all around the world. There are the poets' and lovers' moons, the Garcia Lorca moon and the colored one with which we have all played when kids. There is the love songs' moon. Then there is Capri's moon. Which is like no other. It is the big moon of the sirens' island.

Capri's moon is big and close just like a middle summer moon can be. Here the moon perfumes of myrtle and pine as well. And it has the perfume of that fresh wind which only blows on fables. You should, with the full moon, take a walk on the highest island portion, climbing to the Madonna di Cetrella sanctuary, or, on the other side, till Tiberio villa or, to the even more worrying Baron Fersen one. Carmelina used to dance, under Capri's full moon, the Tarantella on the Emperor's villa ruins, just after she had served the "furastieri" (tourists) in the restaurant which is now managed by her grandson Augusto. The beauty of Carmelina, the moon, the rhythm of Tarantella, the perfumes, the flavor of the sea, the close and far voices of the inhabitants, the songs in the night, the charm, the passion's games, the strong life feeling just like our blood should be heavier and our bones lighter and just like Capri's nights should not follow gravitational rules letting us flying high in the space and backwards in time. These are the nights in Capri, the same nights so dare to the artist and poets who have lived here.

A sign of their charm is left on Dieffenbach's night paintings, executed under the moon and candles light (just like the "crazy" Van Gogh used to do, fixing candles on his easel and on his hat, when painting in the Provential plain constantly tormented by the Mistral wind). Diefenbach is, in the same way, gloomy and clever, restless and fascinating on the big cliffs, in the middle of the big sea and under the big Capri's moon. We were used to go fishing, by night with that moon following us; Tripolino, a consummated fisherman memory of my childhood, excelled on this ancient art and, in the middle of the night on the deep blue Capri's sea, he harpooned octopuses and others fishes: just one hit, a "toreador" thrust, a lash on the water surface, a clear sound remembering birds flying away from a marsh. Stars were, in those years, glittering so much and they seemed to be weaker than pearl. Tripolino and Carmelina, together with many other heroes I knew in Capri, are not there anymore. Capri seems to me different now. There are no more huge multicolored sea-urchin fields. Many fish species now have disappeared, or moved away seeking shelter from human "civility". Capri's sea is different, that is for sure. Sometimes it looks like my childhood's Capri sea, the one of those years wen I first arrived at Capri, with my father and my mother. Life was still immaculate then.

I try, once in a wile, to find again "my Capri". And sometimes I feel it happening. Just like during an unforgettable night two years ago; I organized, together with some friends of mine, a suggestive dinner in the Grotta Bianca (White Cave), for the occasion illuminated with candles and torches. We were all white dressed, with large peplums or white "pareo" reminding sea shells. The small lake inside the cave was covered with white flowers. We all had dinner with local white wine; afterwards we sang and then we stayed quiet listening to Capri's sea in a Capri's night. It was a fascinating night. It reminds me another charming night when, at the foot of Tiberio Villa's precipice lighted up by the moon, I clearly heard soft whisperings and voices coming from the sea. Were them sirens, presence or imagination? They were true to me; it was a full-moon night, but is it enough to feel ancient presence?

Everyone of us who know and love Capri, who think to now it well, can tell, season by season, of new sensations or legendary flavors unfelt from years (or from centuries),which are charming and suddenly rediscovered in Capri. It can happen in a day like another, in a sunny afternoon, in a windy sunset or in night of passion. This is Capri. This and much more. I love Capri but I am not able to write about it. I can speak about it, sometimes, with friends of mine. Capri is only mine, it is inside my life and my memories going back to one thousand nights and one thousand days of sea.

There is, then, another Capri, crazy and fashionable, ephemeral and fatal. That one does not belongs to me anyway. My Capri has myrtle and pines and has friendly moons.