Peter Cumberlidge picks out his favourite spots on the Campagnia coastline, from Sorrento to the Bay of Naples and the remote Pontine islands
The Galli Islands
These unexpectedly low islands are three miles south-west of Positano. Italian boats come out to anchor in the clear shallow lagoons, especially between the largest island and Castelluccia just east of it.
Hardly larger than lonely rocks, the Galli have an ancient link with Homer’s epic Odyssey, whose obtuse puzzle of Mediterranean settings has absorbed scholars for over 2,000years.
Out to Capri
West of Galli you soon pass the craggy tip of the Sorrento Peninsula and Punta Campanella lighthouse.
Offshore is the beckoning profile of Capri, the original ‘idyllic Mediterranean island’ which has kept its romantic appeal despite centuries of tourist invasion.
Arriving with your own boat is a memorable experience and from Campanella your first sight of Capri is its almost sheer east coast.
Rounding Capo Tiberio, you follow the north side close inshore towards the main harbour at Marina Grande (pictured below).
The marina is inside the pierheads to port, where you lie stern-to a quay with bows pulled out to a mooring.
This east end of the basin is relatively peaceful and you can enjoy the bustle of harbour life from a safe distance.
It’s quietest and coolest to explore ashore early morning or evening. There are cafés and bistros on the waterfront, or take the legendary funicular railway up to the town centre, high above the sea.
You emerge on to a colourful piazza with views over the harbour and across to the mountainous west end of the island. There are no cars up here, making it pleasant to explore the labyrinth of lanes.
This fantastic site has heady views across the Gulf of Naples, which enemies of Tiberius were able to savour briefly before they were pushed over the ‘Tiberius Jump’.
On the west side of the island, the small town of Anacapri (pictured below) is reached along a hair-raising road with sheer drops on its seaward side.
The garden’s shady paths end in a stupendous pergola walk where the blue Mediterranean lies far, far below.