The Living Room of the World

“A small square, which starts from the cathedral and ends at the customs officer’s house, is the market of Capri, where broad beans and some fruits are sold, sometimes macaroni, but hardly ever meat. If by misfortune a cow falls from a rock, and she remains dead, she publishes herself with the trumpet for the whole island that will sell meat ”. Thus at the end of 1700 the Austrian historian Norbert Hadrawa described the square of Capri. This quadrangular widening formerly, for a long time, was the site of the local market where fruit and vegetables and fish were sold.

The square completely changed its face in the nineteenth century, when the first carriage road was built on the island and the first public pharmacy was opened (“the Strada Nuova”, now Via Roma in honor of the new capital of Italy).
In addition, in 1877-78, the carriage road to Marina Grande was completed and a tree-lined shelter was built to stop the carriages.
On the threshold of the twentieth century, the square became in effect the heart of the tourist Capri.
In 1900 the square, until then anonymous, was named in honor of Umberto I of Italy, the king who had just passed away, thus officially becoming “Piazza Umberto I”. In 1907, on the other hand, the funicular of Capri was inaugurated, the cableway that connected the square to the village of Marina Grande.
The square took on a more worldly character only when the Caprese Raffaele Vuotto, between 1934 and 1938, opened his bar, the “Gran Caffè Vuotto”.
After the opening of the latter, other Capresi followed him by opening their own businesses and from that moment the Piazzetta has become the heart of the social life of the island.

But this space already had a written future of its own, a magical destiny that would have projected the entire island outside the perimeter desired by the sea, a space that would therefore take the name of “Living room of the world”. In that open space, in fact, on that unmistakable pavement made of lava stone, practically everyone would have stopped: from the most dispersed tourists to characters of all kinds and of all ranks. Nobody would just pass by without stopping to refresh themselves, to listen to the beating heart of the island or just to admire the part that looks north, from the Solaro to the Gulf of Naples with Ischia, Procida and Naples placed in the Tribuna d’Onore Capri.

For this reason, the square has not become just a meeting place like any other typical square: it is the life of the island, it is its very identity that shows the mood of an entire town: parties, funerals, frenzy of work or vacation strolling, worldliness or sleep, in that space there is the beating of a heart that refers to everything else.
And that lifestyle that we identify with “Fashion Capri”, that essence made up of people and traditions, of beauty and elegance, conquers its “brand of origin” right here: from the Piazzetta, in fact, they rise as in showcase a thousand strong symbols that recall an identity, that “ fashion ” which becomes international, “of the world”, thanks to those who stop there and to those who project it in a thousand ways off the island (from ancient images of the past to selfies and videos of today). Just stop for a few hours, at various times of the day and seasons, to have all the knowledge of a unique style. “Living room of the world” because it is projected everywhere, “living room of the world” because anyone from everywhere passes through here, savoring, imitating or being part of this small symbolic universe.
“Living room of the world” which names this site which, with sobriety, lightness and elegance, aims to tell the island in all its most representative aspects that contain the charm of Capri in its very name.

(Photo: Piazzetta di Capri , Oil on canvas, 2013 – Claudio Marineo painter)

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