THE MAGIC OF CAPRI
/A bit of History
Capri, Marina Grande
3 rooms, 7 guests
The ancient charm of the blue Island
An historical and prestigious summer home in Capri, just a brief distance from Marina Grande
Capri, a magic Island, where beauty and grandeur chase each other relentlessly and the enchantment of the wild nature mixes with the fragrances and colours of the Mediterranean Sea.
Enchanted by its atmosphere, the charming Countess Mona von Bismarck, an eclectic American woman with an attractive beauty, hosted friends and International celebrities in her mansion named “The Fortress (Il Fortino)” between the 1940s and 1970s. Mona discovered Capri in the late 1920s, when she gets married for the second time to Harrison Williams, the richest man in America, and celebrates her honeymoon with a long cruise that touched the ports halfway around the world, one of them is Naples and its wonderful Bay. When her yacht got closer to Capri and passed by Marina Grande, Mona glimpsed a formidable mansion in a state of abandonment and got interested and decided to buy it. Mona bought it in 1938 to add mythical historical event to a place that was already a myth.
The first one to inhabit that hill was the Roman Emperor Augustusand his successor Tiberius. IThe former had 12 mansions built there in 27 B.C., each of them dedicated to one of the Olympian Gods, and the latter had several works restored and completed, specifically the Imperial Palace, which was known asPalace by the Sea over the years.
It is on these very ruins that the Hungarian painter Hahnhad his Villabuilt by the first half of 1800s, then transferred to his French colleague Dubufe: it is the period when Capri is the destination of just about every artist, and among the French painter’s guests for a long period there was the French composer Bizet as well. According to the locals, it was this very mansion, the place where the musician, listening to the sound of the sea, would get the inspiration for his most famous work, Carmen.
But between the Roman Emperors and the European painters there is a small and crucial interlude in the age of Enlightment during the French domination in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Gioacchino Murat had a lookout tower built on the ruins of the Roman Age. This work will mark the layout of the present Estate on a permanent basis, affecting the name for a long time: the Countess’ mansion will be then called The Fortress.
A breath-taking view, consisting of a medieval tower and of four houses surrounded by an awesome park on two levels: here is the scenario where the International jet set, hosted by the famous Mona filled the pages of newspapers and magazines.
A woman of a great stand but always at ease with the others was held the most refined woman in the world, who managed to bewitch Salvador Dalì, to inspire the writerTruman Capote or to turn up in a song by Cole Porter, who had friends and acquaintances at the utmost ranks. to such an extent that when her second husband passed away in the 1950s, she married EdwardVon Bismarck, nephew of the more famous Prussian Chancellor.
The legend of the Countess Von Bismarck saw its decline with the death of her third husband. Nonetheless, by the end of her life, in New York in 1983, she had had five husbands.
The initial Estate, which formed by 4 independent houses, the Little House of the Flowers, The Building of the Guests, The Building of the Waiters and Mansion Mona, was then divided in different lots.
The Relais Bismarck represents now a significant part of one of the former houses The Building of the Guests of which it has also inherited a portion of its magnificent garden. Today it serves as an historical and prestigious summer house just a brief distance from the Portand from Marina Grande.
Charm, quietness and a little bit of mundanity are the legacy of its past sumptuousness.