The area before the ex Cathedral of S. Stephen took its name, in the medieval, of "Great Houses", for the residential complex of Counts Arcucci.
It includes: Villa Cerio that, after being extended in 1689, holds the museum of the paleontological and naturalistic findings in Capri by Ignazio Cerio; the Villa Farace, built in 1372, where the Library of the Ignazio Cerio Capri Centre is found ; Villa Vanalesti, an Episcopalian Seminar in 1787 which today houses the Tourist Centre.
The purpose of the Ignazio Cerio Capri Centre is to promote, also in collaboration with other Authorities, the activities that illustrate the historical, naturalistic and artistic importance of Capri. It also intends to encourage any initiative that enhances the cultural life of the island, which also includes defending its natural beauties, but excluding all religious or political activities:
It was established as a Moral Institute pursuant to Presidential Decree dated 1949 by the engineer and author Edwin Cerio (1875-1960) together with his sister-in-law Mabel Norman, an American artist from Newport. The Center includes a Museum and a Library:
The Museum of the Ignazio Cerio Capri Centre, after a period of five years during it which it was closed to permit static restoration works, was reopened in September 2000 with a new layout of the exhibition rooms. It originates from the untiring activities of Dr. Ignazio Cerio, a physician from the island, but was formally founded half a century ago.
Most of the collections date back to the end of the last century and have over 20,000 naturalistic and archaeological finding from Capri, collected by Ignazio Cerio (1841-1921). It also has a rich herbarium (500 species), the algological collection of Oronzio Gabriele Costa (1789-1867) and a naturalistic collection of Raffaello Bellini (1880-1926):
1.Palaeontology and geology hall
Exhibition of rocks and fossils from Capri, with reconstruction of the main phases of geologic evolution on the island, which around 190 million years ago was part of a submerged carbonate platform.
2. Zoology and botany hall
The showcases hold numerous kinds of both marine and terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates found in Capri and the botany section has a sample of the 500 kinds of plants found on the island.
3. Prehistoric and protohistoric hall
Here there are findings of the inferior Palaeolithic from the Quisisana (around 2,000-3,000 years ago) and from other locations on the island.
4. Archaeology Hall
The room exhibits with a typological and chronological order, the findings dating back to classic Greek and Roman times from Benner-Pagano and Cerio collections, mainly used to decorate burial grounds and the imperial villas in Capri.
Centro Caprense Ignazio Cerio
Piazzetta I. Cerio, 5
Tel. +39 081.837.66.81
Fax +39 081.837.08.58
Opening time - Museum
April-September: Tuesday-Sunday: 10.00-13.00
(Tuesday and Friday: 10.00-13.00/15.00-19.00)
Opening time - Library
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 16.30-20.00
Wednesday and Saturday: 9.30-13.00
Closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays
EUR 1,00 Cheap fare (children up to 14 years and adults over 65 years)
Guided tour (only by reservation): EUR 15,50