Travel tales

Capri from above: The summit of Monte Solaro

View across Capri from the top of Monte Solaro, Italy

Towering over the village of Anacapri is the peak of Monte Solaro. At 589 meters above sea level, the mountain is the highest point on Capri and the best place for views across the island and far beyond – weather permitting. With one of Monte Solaro’s nicknames being Acchiappanuvole (cloud catcher), you are lucky if you get a clear view. The temperature difference between the sea and the rocks makes the warmer sea air condense into a thick blanket of fog, and in the mornings and afternoons you often can’t see the summit at all. But on a beautiful spring day, the sky was clear and the mountain was calling. And as I’ve always had a fondness for climbing to the top of tall things for a view from above, I couldn’t resist it.

Chairlift to Monte Solaro

Views across Anacapri from the chairlift up to the top of Monte Solaro

I’d read that there was a chairlift – or seggiovia – which carried passengers from Anacapri town to the top of Monte Solaro, which sounded like a much better idea than the two kilometre walk uphill to the summit. I have to admit that when I heard chairlift, I was expecting something a bit more, well, substantial. But instead there are little individual open wooden seats that you jump on and off while they keep moving.

The chairs carry you up above the rooftops of Anacapri’s houses and over terraced gardens and orchards towards the summit. Although you’re never too far off the ground, you might want to avoid it if you don’t like heights, and make sure you hold on tight to your flip flops and camera bags. But riding up on your own gives you chance to soak up the views across Anacapri and out into the bay with just the sound of the chairlift whirring and the birds chirping to keep you company.

Chairlifts to Monte Solaro

On the (not very high-tech) Monte Solaro chairlift

Emerging at the the top, the wind hits you first and the views a close second. Looking around in a 360º panorama you can see the whitewashed houses which cover the hillsides of Capri Town, the three rock stacks called the Faraglioni lying off the coast, and on out to the Sorrento Peninsula, the Bay of Naples and the islands of Ischia and Procida. The scenery is packed with dramatic rock faces dipping away into the sea, along with wind-battered trees and scattered wildflowers. And surrounding it all are the many shades of blue from the sea and sky. Pathways lead in all directions so you can appreciate the view from every angle, and you might also come across the ruined 18th-century fort, the Fortino di Bruto.

Panoramic views across Capri

Panoramic views across Capri from the summit of Monte Solaro

It’s not all ruins up here though. In the 1950s a holiday complex called the Canzone del Cielo was built at the summit, where visitors could swim or relax in the solarium while enjoying the views. It’s closed down now unfortunately, but their old American Bar has been converted into a terrace café/bar. You can find a spot to relax in a deckchair with an ice cream – or even better a glass of prosecco – have a picnic under the trees, or just lie back and soak up those awe-inspiring views.

Prosecco with a view

Prosecco with a view on the Canzone del Cielo bar terrace

The details

The chairlift from Anacapri to the top of Monte Solaro leaves from near Piazza Vittoria, where buses from Capri Town and Marina Grande port arrive. It runs from 9.30am to 3.30pm November–February, 4pm March–April and 5pm May–October. It costs €7,50 one way or €10 for a return and takes 13 minutes each way. Or if you’re more energetic – or don’t like the look of the chairlift – then there is a walking path leading to the summit which takes about a hour to walk.

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Capri from above: The summit of Monte Solaro – On the Luce travel blog

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  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I went ages ago – 1985 – and had almost forgotten how breathtaking the view is! And how scary the chairlift 🙂 Your pictures are gorgeous.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks, the views really are amazing. I don’t think the chairlift has changed much since it was built! I came across a great photo of Rita Hayworth on it back in the 50s and it looks just the same.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Also did this a few years ago. Loved the walk up the mountain and yes, the chairlift ride down was pretty small scale as chairlift rides go. But I guess it was like most things on Capri – a bit of fun and charming. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Reply
    Andrew Petcher
    May 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    These are the views that I didn’t see – it was misty and overcast the day that I went!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      We definitely got lucky, from what I hear it’s cloudy more often than not!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    I just knew you’d go up there Lucy! My kind of trip.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2012 at 11:01 am

      I can never resist a good scenic viewpoint! Another one to come later this week with a post about Vesuvius.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Looks beautiful Lucy – I might have to take a look when I’m on Sorrento next month – I’ll keep an eye on your blog to see what else there is to do!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Definitely worth a visit if you get a nice day – there are lots of boats from Sorrento and it only takes about half an hour. A few more posts about the area in the pipeline too…

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Spectacular. Nothing more can be said.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Thank you – it’s a really beautiful part of the world.

  • Reply
    May 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    That was great! I’m at work yet I feel like I just took a mini-vacation. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 22, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Thanks – it was a really relaxing place to sit back and soak up the scenery.

  • Reply
    Megan @ Roamancing
    May 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Beautiful photos! I can’t believe how blue the water is.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      May 22, 2012 at 10:29 am

      I know! With the sea and the sky it was shades of blue all around.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    July 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I think it’s a little scary when you’re on the chairlift, but it’s very worthwhile for the views! Nice post 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

      It didn’t feel the most substantial so I was glad that it never went too far off the ground! Well worth it for the views at the top though as you say.

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  • Reply
    Viaggiando con Bea
    August 3, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Hi Lucy, Capri is really wonderful and your pictures look beautiful. Anyway if you want spent a nice week in Italy you have to go to Elba island, I’ve just come back from there, keep an eye on my blog to see how beautiful it is.
    Bye Bea

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks Bea, I love Italy so always looking for new places to visit so will be sure to check out Elba Island.

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