Sailing Through Isle of Capri’s Faraglioni Rocks

April 2022

“When the moon hits your eye
Like a big-a pizza pie,
That’s amore!”

Dean Martin’s rich, buttery voice blares from the boat’s bullhorn as the captain steers its eight passengers and three crew through the arched passage of the mammoth rock known as mezzo. The arch is April’s image in my 2022 Southern Italy calendar.

One of three rocks off the Isle of Capri in the Bay of Naples, the trio are faraglioni, or sea stacks, coastal and oceanic formations eroded over centuries by wind and water. Waves bored a giant hole through the center of mezzo, large enough so that modest-sized pleasure crafts can sail through safely.

One of mezzo’s two companions, stella, still connects to the mainland, while scopolo sits a bit farther into the bay.

Apparently, faraglioni formations occur at several locations along Italy’s coastline. Waves attack headlands, land masses that protrude into the ocean. The water seeks out cracks in the rocks and wears the rock away. Over time, the headlands collapse from erosion, forming these sea stacks. Even these sea stacks will eventually collapse from the water’s wear and tear, leaving often submerged stumps of rock. So these spectacular faraglioni represent the middle of a very long erosion process. Enjoy them while you can.

For now, though, Capri’s famous landmark faraglioni sisters all provide a nesting place for birds. Scopolo serves as home to a blue lizard, found no place else. And mezzo thrills the sailing community with its navigable arch.

“When you walk in a dream
But you know you’re not dreaming, signore.
Scusami, but you see
Back in old Napoli, that’s amore!”

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