My esteemed peer and sometime colleague Lee Marshall once noted in the pages of this magazine that there are two Capris: the one of the day-tripping hordes who clog the quay at Marina Grande and jostle for Instagram shots on the Via Krupp, and the one of the cognoscenti who have adapted their execution of la dolce vita around these masses – still enjoying the ravishing beauty and relative exclusivity of the island, but from a subtle remove that keeps its elements of privacy and luxury intact.
I’d wager many in the latter group have a gentleman called Peppe Fiorentino on speed dial (and those who don’t should immediately enter it into their phones for next season). Fiorentino is a co-founder, with Gennaro Ruocco, of BluRide, the island’s premiere excursion charter firm. When your hydrofoil (or your Codecasa or your Riva) docks at Marina Grande, chances are you’ll clock Fiorentino’s fleet of Baia50 power yachts and Itama 40ft and Imago 32ft speed boats – sleek, gorgeous craft, berthed one next to the other in a satisfying enfilade of navy and white. Most clients discover BluRide via one of the five-star hotels on the island, all of whom are contracted clients of Ruocco and Fiorentino (I myself was turned on to them by Ori Kafri, the owner of JK Place hotels). What not everyone knows is that Ruocco and Fiorentino are happy to charter directly to you, personalising your excursion down to the bays you want to bathe in and the drinks you want with your lunch.
The boats are, as mentioned, gorgeous. The Baias are deeply coddling, with a preposterously sexy white-on-white sleeping cabin in the hull, complete with king-sized bed, and a wide back deck – great for small groups or families. The Imagos and Itamas are ideal for couples (excursions from €680 for four hours); and if you truly want to do it the old-school way, BluRide accommodates with an utterly charming, wood-hulled gozzo (from €250).
But your means of transport is only half the appeal of the experience. The last afternoon we spent with Fiorentino was so delightful because Fiorentino himself was our captain. Drily funny, irreverent and über-competent, he has faultless taste in music and an equally unerring knack for knowing when to break out the chilled Greco di Tufo. And he knows… well, just about everyone. Fancy an impromptu Saturday lunch at Lo Scoglio in July – one of the hardest tables to get in all of southern Italy? A quick call, and it’s sorted. A pickup from Positano tomorrow morning for a transfer to the island? No problem; does signora wish to stop for a quick swim at Li Galli on the way? And so a day in the company of BluRide plays out – needs met with a smile and a joke, and the luxuries of sun, sea and privacy surrounding you. Once you set foot on the island, it may well be back to the masses. But until then, this is the dolce vita davvero.