Anacapri History

The historic town of Anacapri, rising just above the well-known town of Capri on the island of the same name, and within close proximity to the Bay of Naples, has a very extensive history. Settlement on the island itself is evidenced to date back to ancient Roman times and, in fact, there are still a number of structures in Anacapri that are said to have belonged to Emperor Tiberius even earlier than 79 AD. You can go to many places and discover history, but few places have such a rich history, and evidence of it, that dates back as far as that of Anacapri.

That being said, you have to be wondering what historic wonders might be waiting for you in the quaint little old town of Anacapri, Italy. And you would be surprised at how much there really is to see in such a small town like Anacapri. But there are five historic sights specifically that you must put first on your list of sights to see. Make sure you save enough time on your trip for other sightseeing though, as there are many other sights and activities that have a little less to do with history that you will not want to miss out on either. A good place to start when you visit any city though is definitely the area’s history, so start your sightseeing adventure with these historic sights to see in Anacapri.

  1. Historic Center of Anacapri – Anacapri has a very long history, as does the rest of the Island of Capri, and there is no better place to get a feel for that history than the Historic Center of Anacapri. This area of the island is unlike any other and a trip on foot along the pedestrian path through the Historic Center of Capri will afford the visitor a look at a simpler, more peaceful side of the Island of Capri. The Via Giuseppe Orlandi will lead you to the Casa Rossa (a red Pompeian building once resided in by an American lieutenant after the Civil War ended), the Church of San Michele (an architectural masterpiece from the 18th century of the Italian baroque style), and the Church of Santa Sofia (a beautiful example of architecture that dates back to 1510). This is only the beginning of the historical wonders you will be able to see, and for sure the perfect place to begin your historical exploration of Anacapri.
  2. Villa San Michele – Only a short distance from the main bus stop in Anacapri is one of the most marvelous houses to sit on the island, that also houses a museum. Villa San Michele was the home of the famed Alex Munthe, a Swedish doctor that for many years lived in Anacapri. The museum is open year-round and for a very nominal fee visitors can have the opportunity to not only witness the spectacular architecture that is Villa San Michele, but also a wide range of ancient artifacts that were collected by Munthe during his time on and around the Island of Capri.
  3. Villa Jovis – Another historical architectural wonder can be found in the Villa Jovis, a Roman villa that dates back as far as the first century B.C. According to history the Villa Jovis was once inhabited by the Emperor Tiberius. The grounds, which are more a complex rather than a single building, spans the side of a cliff on the Island of Capri, and is only a short distance from the center of Anacapri. In total the “villa” covers about 5500 square meters of space, offering plenty from a time long ago to see.
  4. Villa Damecuta – Villa Damecuta is yet another fantastic work of architecture that was resided in by Emperor Tiberius and just as mesmerizing to see as Villa Jovis. Although Villa Damecuta has been mostly reduced to remains it does not take away from the wonder of seeing something that has lasted for so much of history. Like Villa Jovis, Villa Damecuta is built on a cliff, likely due to security reasons. Villa Damecuta is only a 30 minute walk from the center of Anacapri, which makes it a perfect trip to fit in between other activities that you are enjoying during your stay in Anacapri.
  5. Charterhouse of Giacomo – At last, one of the oldest examples of architecture on the Island of Capri is the Charterhouse of Giacomo, built in the 14th century. The land that the building is built on is land donated to the Island of Capri by Queen Giovanna 1st of Angio. The property actually consists of a number of different buildings, including a women’s church, a pharmacy, a monk’s workshop, stables and a building for guests of the property. And best of all, this one of the historic sites on the Island of Capri that visitors can go to for free.

Anacapri, and the rest of the Island of Capri for that matter, is full of history. There is so much historic architecture to see during your visit that it is essential that you plan your time wisely, especially since some of the historic sites are in Capri rather than right in Anacapri. You do not want to miss out on any of them so the best thing to do is to plan your itinerary well before you arrive in Anacapri. This is how you can truly make the most of your vacation in Italy.