Sheering out of the sea just off the far end of the Sorrentine peninsula, the island of Capri has long been the most sought-after part of the Bay of Naples. During Roman times Augustus retreated to the island’s gorgeous cliffbound scenery to escape the cares of office; later Tiberius moved the imperial capital here, indulging himself in legendarily debauched antics until his death in 37 AD. After the Romans left, Capri was rather neglected until the early nineteenth century, when the discovery of the Blue Grotto and the island’s remarkable natural landscape coincided nicely with the rise of tourism. The English especially have always flocked here: D.H. Lawrence and George Bernard Shaw were among its more illustrious visitors; Graham Greene and Gracie Fields had houses here; and even Lenin visited for a time after the failure of the 1905 uprising.

Capri tends to get a mixed press these days, the consensus being that while it might have been an attractive place once, it’s been pretty much ruined by the crowds and the prices. And Capri is crowded, to the degree that in July and August, and on all summer weekends, you might want to give it a miss, though the island does still have a unique charm, and it would be hard to find a place with more inspiring views.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Italy features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Where to find the best beaches in Italy

Where to find the best beaches in Italy

From secluded coves to lively seafronts, there are plenty of places to sun worship in Italy. But with an increasing number of hotels charging for access to the …

20 Jul 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month