The etymology of the name “Capri” comes from tle Latin “capraeae” (goats), not from the Greek “kapros” (wild boar), even though numerous fossile remains of this animal have been found on the island.
Inhabited since the Palaeolithic era, when it was joined to the mainland, the island was first Greek and later Roman. When Caesar Augustus visited it in 29 B.C., he was the first to build a villa here.
Tiberius, his successor, lived here from 27 to 37 A.D. After Tiberius, other emperors stayed on Capri and until the 7th century A.D. it was visited and inhabited by Roman nobles. After the collapse of the western Roman Empire, the island belonged for a time to the Duchy of Naples. In the 7th century it was raided by the Saracens and in the centuries thate followed it was dominated by the Longobards, Normans, Anjouins, Aragonese and finally the Spanish. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the island came back into fashion, in unison with Naples’ period of great political and artistic pride, thanks to an active diocese and the privileges conferred on it first by the Spanish and later by the Bourbons.
This is confirmed by the superb architecture of the churches and monasteries that can be admired in the two century onwards, the travellers who arrived with increasing frequency from nothern parts, attracted by the sunshine and in search of a mythical primitive world, included Capri in their itineraries. From the mid-19th century onwards, following the “rediscovery” of the Blue Grotto, Italian and foreign visitors flocked to the island, attracted by the climate, the inhabitants’ hospitality and the colours and magnetic atmosphere of the places.
Artists, intellectuals, writers, exiles, eccentrics and wealthy visitors chose it as their permanent or seasonal residence, contributing to form the highly varied cosmopolitan international colony that has made the name of Capri famous throughout the world. (S. Borà)