Capri: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Limoncello

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The smell of lemons growing on the trees very nearly reaches my nose, and as I look around the piazza I spot a lively group of friends, whose melodic exchange in Italian is like music to my ears. Their conversation and laughter fill the square, as they enjoy each others’ company over a quickly diminishing bottle of limoncello. Here on Capri, limoncello flows as plentifully as water. The lemons are grown all over this cliffside island, and then processed into the limoncello liqueur that keeps the islanders and visitors alike smiling.

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From the moment the ferry boat approaches the docks and my eyes spot the colorful homes dotting the slopes of the island and the sailboats moored in the harbor, I’m captivated. The crystal blue waters surrounding the island are a barrier between this slice of paradise and the rest of the world. A boat tour around the perimeter of the island offers unique views of the island and the rock formations beside it, as well as the highly-photographed rock archway.

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The makeup of the island lends itself well to a hiking excursion. There are trails that cover all sides of the rocky Capri cliffs, and an adventure to the Anacapri side of the island offers as a reward the less-visited but equally beautiful part of town. It is in Anacapri that I have found the best art shop, and I fill my shopping basket with handpainted lemon-themed tiles. I’ll incorporate these into the decor of my home, as the people living here have done with house numbers and villa names and staircase decoration, and I’ll be constantly reminded of the lemon trees that grow everywhere on Capri and the charming neighborhoods I’ve had the pleasure to meander through.

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The shopping entices me but for now I just window shop, as I am interested in splurging on a long dinner in the piazza tonight. And I consider the advertisement shouted by a couple of Italian teenage boys outside their family’s scooter rental shop, but decide I’m sufficiently uncoordinated for the task. Perhaps tomorrow if I resist the limoncello at lunch, I will be confident enough to try a scooter ride. Or perhaps I’ll make a friend who can drive the scooter while I go along for a ride. For now though I’m happy to resign myself to walking around the town, exploring the piazzas and shopping streets and residential pathways and the docks at the harbor. What a lovely island you are, Capri!

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