As a child, I would stay on the swings as long as I could. While my sister and friends had moved onto the monkey bars and other playground equipment, I stayed on the swings enjoying each attempt to go higher and fly. As a teen, my swings were upgraded at the carnival, when I found the wicker basket chair and clipped in (not the height of safety). Couples held hands until they had to let go once the ride started to spin round and then lifted up and rotated quickly with the chairs swinging in different directions. You hoped you tied your shoes tight enough so they didn’t fly off (someone always lost a shoe on that ride). I loved the feeling of flying and the views it afforded me of the carnival action below. Years, later, I would get that high looking out the airplane window high above the clouds jetting off to a new adventure….always an adventure.
So when I visited the island of Capri and heard that the Anacapri chair lift afforded great island views, I was pretty excited to try it. A few folks dismissed the ride to the top which I understand if you are tight for time on a day tour as I’d go to the Blue Grotto first too.
At a cost of €10 return (or €7.50 one way, there is a walking path up/down if you have time) and with no line, I was quickly off my feet and in a wicker chair on my way up the mountain. Immediately, I smiled and then I laughed at all the dour faces coming down. Looking down I could see houses, gardens and residents (I waved at a woman outside of her house and she waved back) and looking up I flew through trees and then watched the clouds make their way toward me from the sea. The chair lift was built in 1952 and I wondered how much the view had changed since then (I’m guessing not too much). It is a bit odd though if you are a homeowner and see people flying by your window all day long.
It is a leisurely thirteen minutes as you ascend Monte Solaro giving you time to relax as you look around at the trees, gardens and out to the sea. I had my camera around my neck taking photos and also was using my IPhone (hoping not to drop it). At 589m or 1932’, this ride isn’t for everyone. So if you are the odd (wo)man out, I suggest walking in town to find a gelato to kill the time waiting on your friends.
The view ahead looked a bit misty and I realized that when it quickly turned cold that I was passing through the clouds (so cool!) as they moved quicker than I anticipated. After so many years admiring clouds from the plane or from Table Mountain, I was transported back to that silly kid from the carnival literally flying through clouds now – I never imagined that.
At the top of Monte Solaro, the highest point of the island of Capri, I quickly navigated the various viewing terraces to get my photos but the clouds had beat me on one side, so I ran to the other for a quick photo. There are steps and a rocky path at the rails so be careful when walking. I could see the Faraglioni rocks and realized that I was pretty much above Marina Grande and my hotel.
While work was being done to a fountain and pathways to prepare for high season, the snack bar/café was open with a good selection of patio seating with views of the island. I found a comfy lounge chair to enjoy my snack and people watch – had I known about this area before, I would have brought a book to stay a while.
With a final view, I said “ciao” to Augustus, who first landed on Capri, and was back in my chair with my goofy smile on the ride down, again watching the bored faces of those riding up and feeling sad for them (ok, there were a few happy people -one said “hi” so not all was lost). There are 156 chairs and it was May so not quite the peak of the tourist season yet.
Sadly, the ride came to an end as I was back in the center of Anacapri at Piazza Vittoria. I was tempted to go back and buy another ticket but instead went in search of lunch. Sometimes, the best experiences only need one spin to make good memories.