From the Natural Arch to the Faraglioni: the Pizzolungo is one of Capri's most spectacular walks.
If your idea of Capri is of a Mediterranean playground for the rich and famous, where the world's millionaires come to pose for the paparazzi in the Piazzetta - think again! Beyond the glitz and glamour of the main square, Capri is a walker's paradise.
One of the island's most rewarding walks is, without doubt, the "Pizzolungo", a spectacular coastal path which links the Natural Arch with the Tragara viewing point.
The route can be followed in either direction, although the fall of the land makes departure from the Natural Arch advisable
From the Piazzetta, make your way through the picturesque lanes of the historic center of Capri, following the signs to the Natural Arch, an awesome rock formation, the result of erosive forces and a succession of landslides.
It is likely that the archway once served as entrance to a large cave preceding the smaller cavern still visible in the rock face behind the arch.
The composition of rock, Mediterranean shrub and the intense blue sea, framed by the arch, is a quite unforgettable sight.
Grotta di Matermania
Descending a long flight of steps, walkers some to the Grotta di Matermania. Here, the natural cave was embellished with artefacts dating back to the Roman period. The cave was once divided in two distinct areas, complete with vaulted ceiling. Traces of ancient wall paintings and glass mosaic can still be seen.
Although legend has it that the Grotta di Matermania was the site where the cult of Mater Cibele was worshipped, in reality it was just one of the many nymphaeums present on the island of Capri
At the end of a seemingly interminable descent (hence the advice to start at the Natural Arch and not from Tragara!), the Pizzolungo walk begins.
The Pizzolungo was once the principal pathway skirting the southern coast of the island.
From here, through a landscape made up of rock, lush vegetation, and sea, the views are quite spectacular.
All of a sudden, the unmistakable profile of Villa Malaparte appears. This striking edifice, constructed on a spur of rock which stretches out in to the sea, was built to the designs of one of the most important exponents of Italian Rationalist Architecture, Adalberto Libera, for the famous journalist and novelist, Curzio Malaparte.
A rare example of the integration of modern architecture within a natural landscape, the essential, minimalist interiors have windows so large that they seem to allow the sea to enter the building.
After the death of Curzio Malaparte, Villa Malaparte became the seat of a foundation for the artistic and cultural development of the people of China. Today the villa is owned by the heirs of the writer and is no longer open to the public.
The latter part of the Pizzolungo walk brings visitors to a small terrace overlooking the Faraglioni: three gigantic sea stacks which have become the symbol of Capri. Each rock has been given a name: "Stella", "Faraglione di mezzo", and "Scopolo"', this last inhabited by the Blue Lizard''', the unique color of which has been attributed to a mutation following the separation of the rock from the land.
Here the Pizzolungo comes to an end. Next to the Tragara terrace, a path leads to the platform beneath the Faraglioni and one of the most stunning places where to take a dip in the sea.
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