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Thursday, October 03, 2013

two books two islands two doctors - beyond a cappuccino

My uncle Doug (I do miss him) mentioned a book to me when I was some time around 1974. I think I found a copy in their bookcase when the whole family used to visit on a Sunday afternoon.

A decade later 1983, the year before I got married I visited Sorrento and during this holiday took a day trip to Capri.

With my fiancé I found myself walking around the Villa San Michele. The book was The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe. I don’t recall consciously deciding to go to Anacapri, but I found myself there. It really made an impression on the 24 year old. What an amazing place to be, study, to try to be creative if not grandiose.

I’m sure I read the book after this visit, it dawning on me that this was - not just - that place, but the story too.

In between on holiday in Kefalonia in 1995 and read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin while there. Axel Munthe was a doctor and there’s a doctor in de Bernières’ book.

Two islands, two doctors, two books: fact and fiction and the spaces in between.

Thirty years later it was a lovely experience to take the bus to Anacapri this September and spend some time at San Michele.

Now the mix of history and styles is a bit jarring, but it is still, for me at least, an amazing space to be. The views of the Bay of Naples are stunning.

The light, the air, the sky.


At some point if I could spend some time there, beyond a cappuccino...

The Bay of Naples - Vesuvius from San Michele 4 Sept 2013


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