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Review: Capri Dolce Vita

A look at this fabled corner of the world through the ages.

Located in the Bay of Naples and famous for its Blue Grotto and rugged coastline, the island of Capri has long been associated with the so-called ‘dolce vita’ and has been a summer playground of celebrities and royalty since the Roman Empire. In the 19th century, it was a magnet for artists, writers and poets – including Graham Greene and Pablo Neruda – and was cherished by Swedish physician Axel Munthe, who recommended its clean air to his patients as a cure for bronchitis.

Munthe’s Villa San Michele, and its garden, is now one of the most visited sites in the island’s Anacapri commune. French film director Jean-Luc Godard used Capri as the setting for his 1963 film Contempt, while style icons such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were drawn to its cobblestone alleys and boutiques, as well as the famous Carthusia perfumery.

Part of Capri’s charm is that cars are prohibited, so transport tends to be by boat or vintage taxi, which adds to its languid appeal. Writer, lecturer and former editor Cesare Cunaccia traces the allure of Capri, with many images of the jet set, and documents the gardens, villas and piazzetta which make up this ‘paradise on earth’. If you haven’t been, this book should inspire you.

Capri Dolce Vita
Text by Cesare Cunaccia
Assouline

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