If you are going to the Isle of Capri while visiting Campagnia--Naples or the Amalfi Coast--then you might want to feel what film stars feel like and take a taxi ride around the island. But these aren't just any taxis... these are Capri taxis. Some are as long as limos, some like vans and others are vintage custom Italian vehicles--all with their roofs cut off to enjoy the sun. And if the combination of sun and dizzying views over the cliff edge get you a bit light headed, ask the driver to roll out the canopy over your head to help keep your cool.
These unique looking, top-chopped, sun-worshiping taxis first appeared on Capri in the 1930s. They were mostly Fiat convertibles, or custom made convertibles with their roofs cut off. By the 1950's, they'd become a welcoming symbol for the chic isle, with some drivers becoming as well known as the film stars they transported... Sophia Loren, Princess Margaret and Brigitte Bardot. Later on, Jackie Onassis and her hubbie-to-be Aristotle Onassis brought even more attention to them. One driver even proved his loyalty when Onassis left wallet on his yacht, the driver paid for their meal. This is the stuff legends are made out of--at least in chic Capri. By the seventies, finding replacement parts for the colorful canopy frilled taxis became more difficult and today only a handful of these vintage vehicles can be hired--for higher than normal fees. There are hotels that use vintage taxis to transport their guests from the harbor to their hotel. Still, the modern breed of unique vehicles offer the same sun and wind filled adventurous ride while passengers soak in the sights along their way...
There are many taxis to pick from at the taxi parking areas as you get off the ferry or you can book ahead online to plan a tour. Most do a circumnavigation of the island, giving you all the best views from the magnificent curvy roads. You can choose from the less expensive van or sedan type or, if you can find one and can afford it, choose to ride in a 1950s or 60s era classic vehicle. Circumnavigation tours around the island range from around $100 to $200 dollars, depending on the vehicle and the length of your tour. To go from Marina Grande up the mountain to the Piazzetta in Capri town, a 10 minute taxi ride will cost you about $22 (whereas the Funicular rail car will cost about $3). It might well be worth splurging on the ride for a truly unique experience. (I'd still take the funicular for that experience also!)
A Fiat 1600 Taxi and a wedding party
Now I for one would love to be at the wheel while driving the twisty roads of Capri, as I did on the Amalfi Coast. (Click HERE for Amalfi Coast Drive: Part Paradise - Part Hell). Voyagers to Capri should be aware that, while renting a car is possible in Capri, it's not recommended. The rental car rates in Capri are much higher than rates in Italy, mainly because the Capri government itself wants to discourage excess car traffic. The situation is so bad that in the busiest months travel by car is restricted to residents only! (In my opinion, they should also do this along the Amalfi Coast during the high season). So when visiting Capri, relax and let someone else do the driving for you. Besides these taxis, there are other local taxi services you can call by phone, taxi stands, cheap buses, the famous funicular in Capri town, and of course, the always available and pleasant water taxis and ferries.
We drove a Fiat 500L in Italy, but not like this one: The new Capri Tiberio 500L Capri Taxi Special, named after Emperor Tiberius, who used Capri for his summer palace.
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