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Capri—Off the Beaten Track

James Andrew, Capri — photo Scott McBee

James Andrew, Capri — photo Scott McBee

I would certainly have been content to spend our whole holiday in Capri luxuriating seaside at La Fontelina beach club, however there are quite a few other marvelous sites to see on this island paradise.

McBee, loving all things Classical, had a keen interest in exploring the ancient ruins of Villa Jovis, the magnificent island residence of Roman emperor Tiberius. Getting there is about a 40 minute walk from Capri town up some narrow steep and winding little streets.

View from Astarita Park

View from Astarita Park

Astarita Park lies just before the Villa Jovis, and it’s the perfect place to catch one’s breath—that is, just as one loses it (one’s breath) again upon seeing the spectacular views this little park has to offer. The ruins of Villa Jovis are equally engaging, and one can’t help but be awed by the history of Capri and the powerful allure it’s had over the centuries.

Down a rather treacherous path from here is the amazing Villa Lysis, designed at the beginning of the 20th century in a Neo-Classical/Art Nouveau style by the artist and architect Edouard Chimot for Baron Jacques d’Adelsward-Fersen who has quite an engaging history himself!

Villa Lysis

Villa Lysis

Fersen, said to be a descendant of Count Axel von Fersen, Marie Antoinette’s Swedish lover, fled Paris following a number of sex scandals, and took refuge in Capri. He met and fell madly in love with a 14 year old Roman boy, Nino Cesarini, there and kept him as his “secretary,” while paying homage to him through photos, paintings and sculpture. 

Nino Cesarini

Nino Cesarini

Sadly in 1923, Fersen died of an overdose of opium mixed with a cocktail of Crystal champagne laced with cocaine. 

Fersen left Villa Lysis to Cesarini who subsequently sold it to Fersen’s sister. For many years the villa remained derilect and only recently has it been restored and opened to visitors. 

Villa Lysis was certainly a must see for us with its beauty and wild history. Apparently the villa is for sale now, any takers? I’d love to help with the continued restoration and decoration!

Grand Staircase - Villa Lysis

Grand Staircase - Villa Lysis

Dressed (top) for our adventure, I’m sporting an indigo paisley batik print shirt by Rag & Bone, white cotton slim short by Mario Matteo, navy suede Gucci loafers, vintage Rolex watch,  straw hat with black grosgrain ribbon trim from India Hicks’ Sugar Mill, Tom Ford “Miguel” sunglasses in white, my fragrance is Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.

4 Comments

  1. Dean says:

    Dear James,

    This post is one of your more daring and interesting ones. How titillating! I knew Capri was known for the wild side of life, and appreciate knowing more about this enchanted island, thanks to you and WIJW!

    Dean

  2. Marc de Paris says:

    Wonderful pictures and very interesting discoveries. I have many documents about Capri but nothing as original as your posts. Congratulations.

  3. Tedly says:

    The Island of Capri is gorgeous….and so are you!

  4. James Andrew says:

    Dear Marc,

    Villa Lysis was a dream and such wonderful history about the place.

    Cheers

    JA

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