Are you fascinated by history? Do you dream of endless sea views far above the crowds? Tiberius’ Villa Jovis on the Isle of Capri is just the place for you!
While tourists fill the shops and beach clubs, Villa Jovis remains tranquil even in high season. Perfectly suited for adventurous travelers, the villa allows its guests’ imaginations to wander.
The climb alone is exhilarating. Flowers peeking out of hidden gardens drape the path and fill the air with their sweet perfume. Glimpses of sparkling blue between villas encourage you as you continue up.
Beautiful as it is, and as challenging the climb, one can’t help imagining the difficulty involved in building this place during Roman times.
Tiberius was famously paranoid, and certainly chose this location less for its beauty than its isolation and difficulty to reach. Defense was vital to an emperor who felt he was under constant threat!
While much of the marble once covering the villa is gone, there are still places it is visible. Enough of the structure remains to give us a good idea of what it what have been in its day.
Legends abound of Tiberius’ life here on Capri. It is said that he would toss those who offended him over the cliff into the sea far below. To this day, the spot is known as “Tiberius’ Leap”.
How impressive the scene must have been to the visiting Caligula, summoned as a young boy. He is thought to have acquired many of his infamous traits from his time here with Tiberius.
Now a church and a statue of Mary seek to redeem the place from its dark history. As Mary keeps watch over the villa and sea below, once can’t help feeling rather peaceful in her presence.
Tourists today, under the welcoming arms of the Madonna, are much safer than the guests of the emperor. Though, possibly in danger of losing our breath from the extreme beauty of the sea below!
Tiberius’ victims’ screams have now been replaced by sounds of the sea. Happy boat captains giving tours of the island and gleeful beach goers playing in the brilliant blue waters are audible even from this height.
What was once a terrifying place has become enchanting for those who make the ascent.
If you would like to visit, Villa Jovis is open in April, May, and October from 10:00-6:00 and June-September from 10:00 to 7:00. (Shorter hours during low season) Last entry 45 minutes before closing. Tickets cost 6 euros for adults.
Allow yourself about an hour for the climb (you’ll want to stop for photos on the way), an hour or two inside, and 45 minutes back down. There is a nice little bar on the way over-looking the sea, a perfect pause for a icey granita or limoncello as you admire the ancient views!
PFI Travel, USA