Antonino is a “Mulese” in heart and mind.

On Capri, those who belong, not only by birth, to the Marina di Mulo, or rather the Piccola Marina di Capri, are defined as “mulesi”. The place name Mulo derives from the pier that stood in that Marina to the south of the island where Roman ships docked in the Augustan-Tiberian period. An enchanted place that the ancient watchtower for Saracen raids (now the church of S. Andrea) still divides into three distinct locations that the people of Capri call “Mulo” in the center, “Pennaulo” on the left and “Confalone” on the right.   Antonino is the last descendant of the Albanese family, which, as Giorgio Weber recalls in his memoirs, together with the Desiderio family were the first to reside all year round at the Piccola Marina at the end of the nineteenth century.   At the beginning of the century Ciro di Mulo built the first cabins on that little beach where painters, writers and poets sought their siren ideal. In 1930 Salvatore Albanese welcomed on that beach and in his inn on the sea royal families and old European nobility who created the myth of summer Capri, marine and solar. His sons Aldo and Ciro, with all their families, in the seventies united the restaurant da Ciro to Bagni da Maria, creating a single bathing complex, known as Bagni Internazionali.   Almost as if by magic, that beach where at the end of the nineteenth century only the few soldiers of the penal colony bathed, was transformed into one of the most glamorous beaches of the summer in Capri. Since 2014, Antonino has been at the helm of Bagni Internazionali – Bagni da Maria, whose colorful cabins recall the shades of Capri’s flora and sea, and of the “Ciro a mare” restaurant. “I am proud to continue this ancient family business that has contributed to create the Myth of Marina Piccola – confesses with emotion Antonino – Only by knowing their roots, not betraying their history, you can plan for the future, creating a modern company.”   “Innovating in tradition” also seems to be the philosophy of chef Lorenzo Gargiulo, who offers in his rich menus ancient recipes of Capri’s kitchens. The treasures of Capri’s countryside and sea are always present on the tables of da Ciro’s restaurant. On the terraces of Bagni di Maria, lighter and more dietary foods are served: the crostone in its various types, (a tasty big fresella) is the most popular.   “Marina Piccola has its own magic – continues Antonino – that not everyone can perceive. The colors of the Solaro mountain, the scents of the sea, you can enjoy them only in the early hours of the morning, when the sun is sweet and silently kisses your skin and on the beach there are few bathers. Unfortunately everyone goes down to the sea too late and doesn’t experience this exciting beauty“.   But when you cross the threshold of Bagni Internazionali there is a poetic mirror that welcomes you. It is a magic mirror that reflects you among the colored deckchairs and the Faraglioni rocks. The magic of this mirror was intuited by the photographer Luigi Ghirri, who immortalized it in an iconic photograph: your image reflects your joy of living, of enjoying a beautiful day in the sea of Capri.
edited by Renato Esposito

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