Culture / Travel

Inside the Rich, Young and Wild Scene of Capri

Mega Yachts, $45,000 Handbags and Tony Island Retreats

photography Shelby Hodge

Ah, the jeunesse dorée decorating the cafe tables and dressing the narrow lanes of Capri. The young and the restless, the rich and hardly famous, Americans, Europeans and the ubiquitous Asians. Those who tender in from their mega yachts and those who ferry over from Sorrento.

The summer tableau of Italy’s sublime island pulsates in a kaleidoscope of high fashion, high style and astronomical wealth.

Where else in such a diminutive hamlet are $45,000 handbags sold alongside $40,000 whimsical rhino sculptures and where jewels are easily priced in six and seven figures? Where else does the town square (in this case the Piazza Umberto) nightly become the vortex of social interaction? The cognoscenti understand that table reservations in the square are a must, particularly at the terribly chic Gran Caffè.

The toniest address on the island is the Grand Hotel Quisisana where preening is at its finest in the outdoor cafe at the hotel entrance. At the end of the main mercantile drag, draped in riotous banks of bougainvillea, through Capri proper, the five-star Punta Tragara beckons with its al fresco La Pergola bar where mixologists work martini magic with all varieties of gins and mixers.

The luncheon scene rolls into high gear at Il Riccio Ristorante where the seafood is fresh, the pasta homemade and the rosé dispensed from jeroboams and methuselahs (eight bottles) and the midday repast easily reaches $300 a person.

The toniest address off the island is on one of the mega yachts that populate the waters off the southern face of Capri and within view of the world famous Faraglione, the trio of giant rocks rising from the sea. This is where you’ll find Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s  533-foot Eclipse, L Brands (think Victoria’s Secret) CEO Les Wexler’s 315-foot Limitless, or David Geffen’s Rising Sun.

Holiday Gifting

  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Elaine Turner - GiGi Flats
  • Wayne Smith
  • Elaine Turner - Felicia Stole in Magenta
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Asher Gallery
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Cotton Club
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Cotton Club
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Wayne Smith
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes

Yacht owners and their guests tender over to be greeted by a parade of extended convertibles ready to sweep the gilded tourists up the winding roads to the Capri township for rarefied shopping and sophisticated people watching. The taxis will take you onward and upward to Anacapri and its more down to earth charms.

The storied Blue Grotto reigns as the island’s top tourist attraction. But for Capri regulars, it’s an excursion best left for the day trippers.

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