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History of Capri



Ancient and Roman times

Capri harbour from Anacapri


According to the Greek geographer Strabo, Capri was once part of the mainland. This has been confirmed by geological surveys and archaeological findings.

The city has been inhabited since early times. Evidence of human settlement was discovered during the Roman era; according to Suetonius, when the foundations for the villa of Augustus were being excavated, giant bones and 'weapons of stone' were discovered. The emperor ordered these to be displayed in the garden of his main residence, the Sea Palace. Modern excavations have shown that human presence on the island can be dated to the Neolithic and the Bronze Age.

In his Aeneid, Virgil states that the island had been populated by the Greek people of Teleboi, coming from the Ionian Islands. Strabo says that "in ancient times in Capri there were two towns, later reduced to one." Tacitus records that there were twelve Imperial villas in Capri (or Capreae, as it was spelled in Latin). Ruins of one at Tragara could still be seen in the 19th century.

Augustus' successor Tiberius built a series of villas at Capri, the most famous of which is the Villa Jovis, one of the best-preserved Roman villas in Italy. In 27AD , Tiberius permanently moved to Capri, running the Empire from there until his death in 37 AD.

In 182 AD, Emperor Commodus banished his sister Lucilla to Capri. She was executed shortly afterwards.

Middle and Modern Ages

One of the symbols of Capri: the Blue Grotto

After the end of the Western Roman Empire, Capri returned to the status of a dominion of Naples, and suffered various attacks and ravages by pirates. In 866 Emperor Louis II gave the island to Amalfi. In 987 Pope John XV consecrated the first bishop of Capri.

In 1496 Frederick IV of Naples established legal and administrative parity between the settlements of Capri and Anacapri. The pirate raids reached their peak
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