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I fell in love with Capri when I was there in 2010 with Mark for a day. The white-washed buildings, the terracotta pots of magenta flowers, the narrow lanes, the spectacular views of the Bay of Naples and Amalfi coast and the endless beaches struck a chord with me; we talked about returning and “living there”. You know the dreams you have when you are in a beautiful place that you do not want to leave.

beach marina piccola-capri-italy on my mind

flowers-sign-capri-italy on my mind

My friend Holly had a similar experience of wanting to remain, but it was entirely different from mine. She fell in love with Gianluca – chef, restaurant-owner, 4th generation Caprese and all-round nice guy.  Hers is a fairy-tale of love, family, weddings in two continents, babies, island life and food. I won’t steal her thunder and let her tell her own tale (as there is a book being planned), but I was fortunate enough to meet Sydney-born lawyer Holly and her husband Gianluca in Australia, when they attended one of my cooking classes in Chewton, in country Victoria.

water-la reginella-capri-italy on my mind

bouganvillea-capri-italy on my mind

Holly asked me to come to Capri to take photos for the book plus run a “take-over” cooking class from their restaurant, which is called Michel’Angelo after Gianluca’s father. So I “lived” on Capri for 12 glorious and busy end-of-summer days in September, staying at the small but very pretty Hotel La Reginella, a steep climb from the township of Capri up “heartbreak hill” (my name for the road as many people needed a short rest half-way up). The hotel had a terrace that looked out onto the water, over treetops and gardens. Every morning on the terrace, as Alex served me my breakfast cappuccino, I would pinch myself, hardly believing my luck at being there, doing the things I love most in the world: cooking and taking photos.

reinelle-little vanes-capri-italy on my mind

bagni-marina piccola-capri-italy on my mind

Holly had a super-busy schedule planned for every day that I was there – I am sure she had it on a spreadsheet (I love an organised gal!). It included restaurant meals, trips on boats, cooking classes, meals cooked in a tiny Caprese kitchen (belonging to Gianluca’s mamma) and days on the beach. Lucky there are SLR cameras as I took thousands of photos that I edited every night in my hotel room at La Reginella. Holly arranged for her good friend Gillian to be there for some of it, including for the cooking class I ran with Gianluca in the outdoor kitchen at Villa Carolina. Many of the locals do not even know about this magnificent Mediterranean style villa, located on the green hill of Tiberio and with sweeping views of the Bay of Naples. The history of the house is very interesting – it was owned by the Rizzoli family (as in Rizzoli books) and when the house was sold to the current owners, they left behind a library of first edition books.

villa carolina-capri-italy on my mind


I spent a total of twelve amazing (and late) nights on the island. Dinner in Capri is after 9pm and when there were concerts at la Certosa (a Carthusian monastery from the 14th century), and the performers wanted a meal, it was a midnight dinner. The atmosphere and contrasts of Capri are sometimes quite surreal but always beautiful: Valentino-spotting in the piazzetta, Aperol spritzes for aperitivo, tour-groups milling around their guides in via Roma during the day, visits to beach-clubs and luxury boats, high-end white-washed wall shops with the latest fashion from Milan and Paris, as well as locals trying to live their regular lives, nonne with grand-children, tiny delivery carts carrying groceries to family homes, teenagers on their way to school.

road to marina piccola-capri-italy on my mind

arches at la certosa-capri-italy on my mind

When my 12 days came to an end, I couldn’t believe how quickly time had flown. I was sad but completely ready for my next adventure – a week in Sicily. I am so grateful to Holly and Gianluca for the incredible opportunity they gave me to “live” in this very special part of the world and briefly share their lives. And of course the daily meals in the restaurant (I ate the freshest seafood every day).

If you plan on visiting Capri (and everyone should at least once if not twice), be sure to go to Ristorante Michel’Angelo, have a meal and a cooking class with Gianluca.

michelangelo-capri-tiles-italy on my mind

capri-child-red wall-italy on my mind

And thanks to Holly for the photo of the lunch on the terrace at Villa Carolina.


  • Jo says:


    • Hey Jo I know!! I couldn’t believe it when I saw them on the shelf – all of them up to 1980 when they sold the house. The house is for rent – even just rooms in it. And my whole time in Capri was truly amazing

  • ciaochowlinda says:

    Oh how positively wonderful. I have been to Capri several times, but never like that! Your trip was heavenly! What a fabulous opportunity – and dreamy photographs.

  • Lisa says:

    Sounds like a dream. I have only been there for a short visit some years ago and was young enough (read foolish) to take the dare, jump into the sparkling blue water and swim into the grotto. Very naughty but a vivid memory. Hopefully now that we have purchased our dream house in Umbria I will be able to return; but this time I think I will stay on the boat…..

    Great photos and story!!

    • A dream house in Umbria?! Ohhhh how exciting for you. And your dive into the grotto must have been amazing – I swam in a grotto in Istria once – incredible and slightly scary

  • David says:

    What an incredible and lyrical time you must have had. To say I am not jealous would be an outright lie! I have never been to Capri before but a trip forming for the summer of 2018 might make Capri a possibility.

    By the way, I got a notice that your book is coming soon! So excited for you! And me! Maybe I will celebrate by making the olive al’Ascolane again.

    • Capri is fabulous – of course quite a bit like a resort – but an amazing place to be. Yes you should get your book very soon. I am totally excited about it being in the shops – and I cannot wait for you to receive your copy too

  • suzana says:

    I too have fallen in love with Capri, we hired a boat and toured the island, it’s magnificent blue waters, we swam, we sunbathed, we explored and we too climbed and climbed the steep streets. My most fabulous memory thanks to my camera is of a private home seen whilst walking around a steep bend in the road, the house was set down low into the rocky hill and the car parking spot was on top, the car (lucky one at that) had the most glorious view of the bay of naples. How perfect, I would have never gotten out of that car parking spot and just sat for hours enjoying the ever changing view of the bay. I vow to return one day.

    • what lovely memories you have of Capri – I am a bit believer in taking photos as they jog the memory of our holiday and bring back all those memories. I hope you do return one day!

  • Jo O'Mara says:

    ….Last night Alistair made your vegetarian lasagne….two types…gluten free and not gluten free for dinner. We cheated and used bought fresh pasta…but it was delicious, and achievable for an eight year old. We added the shavings of lemon to the ricotta….yum!

  • pblevitt says:

    You have painted an amazing picture of magical Capri – the sight, sound, smells and flavors. And that library, what a fantastic experience!

  • paninigirl says:

    Okay-now I have to put Capri in my list! I always thought it was a little too touristy but I suppose if we get off the beaten path it is incredible.

  • Bellissime foto! I have been to Capri many times and the last time I was so disgusted with the touristiness of it all I vowed I would only go back if it was winter or if I stayed a few nights and be far away from the port. Your stay sounds wonderful! Ciao, Cristina

    • I know exactly what you mean Cristina – the main streets of Capri and the large our groups can get you down. But there are such amazing places off the beaten track – it is worth trying to find them

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