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The tiny fishing village of Conca dei Marini is a coastal gem nestled in between Amalfi and the Furore Fjord and has become one of the Amalfi Coast's most exclusive retreats. It was an important part of the historical Maritime Republic of Amalfi and once boasted 27 galleons crewed by skilled sailors and experienced traders.
Lovers of style will appreciate this nugget of information; in the early 1960s, Jackie Kennedy and her family (complete with bodyguards and entourage) returned several times to La Capitaneria over the years. They loved the villa, the gardens, the long lunches and the village of Conca dei Marini. Her children John and Caroline used to play on the beach with the local children, dipping their taralli savoury biscuits into the sea to soften them, exactly as the other children did.
The houses here are typically Mediterranean with vaulted ceilings, whitewashed walls and balconies overlooking the sea. The terraces are still cultivated today with lemons and another delicious local speciality, piennolo cherry tomatoes. These juicy tomatoes are tied into bunches immediately on picking and stored in the dark where they keep for up to a year. Their distinctive taste is due to the iodine-rich sea air and they are an essential ingredient in the village's legendary fish soup.
For a village with only a couple of hundred inhabitants, there is a lot to see. Conca dei Marini is perhaps most famous for its Emerald Cave, la Grotta dello Smeraldo. This 30 metre high, karst cave was discovered in 1932 by a local fisherman and is named after the shimmering green interior light as sunlight filters through the turquoise waters of the underwater entrance. The cave can be reached either by boat or via a set of picturesque steps.
The Monastery of Santa Rosa of Lima is a former Dominican monastery built in the 17th century on a rocky promontory overlooking the whole Gulf of Salerno. The austere facade is in contrast with the richly decorated interior and it is here that the exquisitely sweet Santa Rosa sfogliatella was invented by the nuns in the 18th century.
Among the countless enchanting places to visit in the area, perhaps Ravello, Positano and Amalfi stand out for the first time visitor. Ravello, at 350 metres above sea level, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers both unforgettable architecture and scenic beauty. The 11th century Cathedral and Villa Cimbrone are magnificent and a summer music festival is held each in the year in the gardens of the 13th century Villa Rufolo. D.H. Lawrence wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover here and the town has been frequented over the years by the likes of Greta Garbo and Winston Churchill.
The delights of Positano and Amalfi have inspired artists, writers and lovers for centuries. The higgledy-piggledy, white-washed houses clustered up and down the winding steps and sophisticated shops and restaurants all combine to create an exceptionally chic atmosphere.
Naples international airport is only 70 km away, the island of Capri is half an hour by boat, the world famous archaeological site of Pompeii is 40 km away and the timeless resort of Sorrento is 30 km away. Amalfi and Positano are a mere 4 km and 15 km along the breathtaking drive of the celebrated Amalfi Coast road and Ravello is just 10km up the hill.
La Capitaneria is a luxurious home away from home and gateway for discovering the marvels of this extraordinarily rich area. It is ideal for visitors wishing to emerge themselves in the wonders of the sea accompanied by excellent food, wine, art and history.
The Property. This magnificent property was once the soldier's quarters and is set snug into the cliff above the sea. Blissful seclusion is ensured by the 150 steps to the villa's entrance and the private steps from the villa down to the sea through gardens of bougainvillea and lemon groves. This private access also offers mooring for a large boat (up to 14 metres) for day trips to Amalfi, Capri or Positano. There is also a fantastic, rocky platform with spacious areas for a lunch time rendezvous around the table or simply soaking up the sun. There are also a couple of perfectly designed steps leading directly into the water for a cooling dip in the azure sea.
From the front gate, another 100 steps bring you directly to the three restaurants on the pretty, pebbly beach at Conca dei Marini.
The views from La Capitaneria are indeed unique and breathtaking. There is a 180° panorama along the Amalfi Coastline from Amalfi to Positano. The entire property faces the sea and has lots of outdoor lounging and dining areas as well as the terraces leading directly from the bedrooms.
La Capitaneria is sublimely decorated and furnished in chic Mediterranean style. Alongside the selected antiques are some fine pieces of contemporary art yet coupled with modern facilities such as air conditioning and satellite TV. All of the rooms are large and airy with high ceilings, a rather rare feature of houses in the area.
There are three large double bedrooms on the ground floor, each with en suite bathroom and balcony and a large twin bedroom, again with en suite bathroom and balcony. The double drawing room is light and spacious and has a fireplace, satellite TV and various sitting areas with comfortable armchairs and sofas. There is also a winter dining room, a modern kitchen and an office for the staff.
The entrance hall is on the first floor and leads into a large, lounge area and then out onto a glorious terrace. There is a large double bedroom with en suite bathroom and Turkish bath, satellite TV and a vast terrace with various sitting areas. There is also a single bedroom with en suite bathroom and large terrace and a twin bedroom, again with an en suite bathroom.
The superb landscaped gardens and terraces are a joy to behold and the evening scent of lemon and bougainvillea is perfect for evening dining at home with the Mediterranean sea and stars.
At the bottom of the steps, there is a little house right by the sea featuring a sauna, bathroom, fridge, outside shower and terrace.