A day in the sky on the island of Capri

The island of Capri viewed from Castel Sant'Elmo in Naples, Italy

The island of Capri viewed from Castel Sant’Elmo in Naples, Italy

Two years of knowing and not-knowing; two years of a one-sided fascination – it may never have become anything else if it hadn’t been for a friend.

Her invitation to spend the weekend with her at home on the island of Capri was a gift … but we had a problem.

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Ferry trip from Pozzuoli to Ischia and back

A look back (first published 24 July 2015): the Bay of Naples is so crammed with history and legend it’s hard to know where to start – this is an attempt.

The Phraser

Ferry to Ischia with Procida in the foreground Ferry to Ischia with Procida in the foreground

Islands are impossible to resist.   Sit for just one pizza on the seafront in the Bay of Naples and you’ll feel the pull. Capri is the big magnet but swing your eyes to the other side, away from the Sorrentine Peninsular to the opposite end of the bay, and you see Ischia with little Procida tucked between it and the mainland.

Our trip was to Ischia by ferry – a brief journey to join an afternoon sail.

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The Royal Palace at Portici, Naples

Royal hideaway in Portici, near Naples

Royal hideaway in Portici, near Naples

It was a warm day and we were on an old road in a corner of what used to be a royal park.  It is now university grounds but still has that swish of palaces, intrigue and celebrity at play.

In front of us a smallish red building curved its face to catch views of Vesuvius and the sea. This, we were told, was where the king entertained his mistresses. Instantly the Italian guide had our attention.

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Fireworks boom around the Bay of Naples

The lone bright light in the left third of the picture is the Mt Vesuvius Observatory. It is minutes before the end of 2014.

The lone bright light in the left third of the picture is the Mt Vesuvius Observatory. It is minutes before the end of 2014.

It was cold and seconds off midnight.  A sub-zero wind fleeced coats, squeezed eyeballs and jumped camera shots into shaky blurs.  Plenty of reason to go indoors but none of us did.

The view from our hill of steeply barked pines was incredible.  We could see right across the night to the lights on the opposite shore of this mythical bay.

We stamped frozen feet as we stood suspended between geography, history, and two calendar years – Vesuvius to our front, Roman remains beneath and behind us, and Naples about to mark the annual switch.

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