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Capri is an island off the Sorrentine coast in southern Italy that has captured our imagination since Roman times. This dramatic and picturesque island is a favorite day trip from Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast, but today we’re going to build a case for you to stay a little longer. Joining us is local Holly Star who, along with her husband Gianluca, create amazing food experiences on the island and share their love of family, food and all things Caprese!
If you’re a romantic, you need to hear this story. Our guest Holly Star went to Capri on a whim and changed her life. It’s a story best told in her own words and you’ll soon discover Holly’s passion for her family, food and the incredible island of Capri. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how long to spend in Capri, where to stay and what to see and do, Holly generously shares her expert local knowledge on all these things and more.
Listen to discover what to eat in Capri, the best ways to get around, all about the island’s neighborhoods and where to stay as well as that all important spot for people watching and aperitivo. We also uncover some ingenious tips for making the most of island time when you’re in southern Italy and the best ways to keep a little piece of Capri with you when you can’t travel there.
What you’ll learn in this episode
- How to make the most of your time in Capri whether you have a day or a week
- Is this Blue Grotto worth it? (Trick question!)
- Best view points and sights in Capri
- Main areas of Capri to explore
- What to eat when you’re in Capri
- How Capri got its name
- Where to stay in Capri – a brief guide to the neighborhoods of the island
- How to bring a little piece of Capri into your life when you can’t travel there
About our guest – Holly Star from Ristorante Michel’angelo and Giardino di Capri
Holly was born and raised in Sydney, Australia; practised as a lawyer and now director of her employment and industrial advisory business which she still runs abroad from her island home in Capri.
In 2013, she visited Capri for the very first time. On the second evening of her three night stay in Capri, she was recommended to dine at Michel’angelo, only a short walk from the famous Piazzetta. It was this dinner that changed her life! She met Gianluca, the owner of Michel’angelo, a local Caprese and her now husband.
And, whilst they couldn’t speak the same language, they both knew there was something between them from the first smile they shared as she entered the restaurant. Now married, they live on the island year round raising their two children, Valentino (5 years) and Francesca (4 years).
Holly had a quick initiation to island life and joined Gianluca running Michel’angelo after their marriage in 2014. Together they have since opened the Michel’angelo cooking school, teaching guests from all over the world how to cook the island’s cuisine using Gianluca’s family recipes at over 650 classes in 5 years. They’ve taken their cooking class on the road, most recently collaborating with EATALY at their USA and Canadian locations in early 2020. Holly and Gianluca also expanded their offerings to include gourmet picnics, tasting sessions, villa and boat catering and their range of authentic food and wine products they ship around the world.
After 12 years in business Ristorante Michel’angelo will sadly close at the end of the year however, their legacy will continue at their new venture, a sea view garden property, the Giardino di Capri. Launching in 2021, Holly & Gianluca will continue to share their love of the island, its mouth-watering local produce and traditions through cooking classes, tasting sessions, aperitivo evenings, olive harvests, private events, art and cultural workshops, relaxation activities and much more on their farm adjacent to the Grotta Azzurra with unparalleled views of Ischia, Procida, the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius.
You can find Holly on these channels:
- Ristorante Michel’Angelo
- Instagram – Michel’Angelo and Giardino di Capri
- Facebook – Michel’Angelo and Giardino di Capri
Places mentioned in the show
- Marina Grande – main port of Capri with ferries to Naples, Sorrento and Amalfi Coast
- Capri town – main town on the island with ritzy piazza, shopping and gardens
- Marina Piccola – smaller port where you’ll find beach clubs
- Faraglioni – dramatic rock formations found near Marina Piccola
- Villa Lysis – beautiful villa with views and impressive art collection
- Casa Rossa – small museum where you find Roman statues recovered from the blue grotto
- Augustus Gardens – terraced gardens with amazing views in Capri town
- Via Krupp – spectacular hairpin bend road that you can see from the Augustus Gardens
- Tiberio – area of the island where you’ll find luxurious villas and the ruins of Villa Jovis
- Villa Jovis – ruins of one of the Roman Emperor Tiberius villas completed in AD 27
- Anacapri – quiet local neighborhood where Holly and Gianluca live
- Monte Solaro – highest point of the island. You can take a chairlift to the top from Anacapri
Food and wine to try when you visit Capri
- Insalate Caprese – the famous salad made with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella
- Ravioli Caprese – pasta filled with goats cheese called caciotta topped with a tomato sauce and basil
- Torta Caprese – chocolate and almond cake, lemon cake
- Pezzogna all’acqua pazza – fish in “crazy water” – a dish made with tomatoes and garlic
- Totani – local squid either stuffed with cheese and vegetables or fried and served with potato
- Melanzane parmigiana – eggplant crumbed, fried and served with tomato
- White wines of the region – Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo
- Red wines of the region – Aglianico, Taurasi DOCG – red wines of the region
- Read: Our Capri boat tour experience
- Read: Kevin Kwan’s book Sex and Vanity set on Capri and loosely based on my favorite novel A Room with a View
- How to plan a trip to Italy – our article that takes you step by step through trip planning to help you build your dream trip
- Italy Travel Planning – the FREE community on Facebook where you can ask questions and get inspiration for planning your trip
- Travel shop where you’ll find items mentioned in the show
Prefer to read along as you listen? You can download a PDF version of the full transcript of this episode.