Capri's 10 Must-See Art Galleries & Museums

Photo of Silvia Buonpadre
20 October 2016

Over the centuries, Capri’s charm and natural beauty has attracted artists and creative minds that not only chose the island as their adopted home, but also played an active role in preserving its natural history and historical artifacts. This is still evident today through the many museums, galleries, and cultural organizations that protect the island’s heritage. Here are ten of the best art galleries and museums you should visit while in Capri.

“Il Corpo Vissuto” exhibition | © Liquid Art System

White Room

White Room is part of Liquid Art System, a project aiming to create a network of contemporary galleries and art spaces where innovative artists from around the globe can exhibit. The gallery regularly showcases works in different mediums by artists from Italy, China, Canada and more. White Room in Capri has, to date, hosted unconventional portraits by Milanese painter Marco Grassi; rice paper installations on canvas by Chinese artist Zhuang Hong Yi and sculptures by South Tyrolese artist Mathias Verginer. Worth visiting for a flavour of contemporary art, White Room occupies a space a stone’s throw from the Giardini della Flora Caprense.

White Room, Vittorio Emanuele 56, Capri, Italy, +39 081 01 91 478

Villa San Michele

Built by the Swedish physician Axel Munthe, Villa S. Michele is home to more than 1,600 works of art, most of which are part of Munthe’s own private collection which includes archaeological artifacts from different cultures; Etruscan, Roman and Egyptian – and periods, ranging from 1250 AD until the beginning of the 19th century. Worth mentioning are the Egyptian sphinx in red and black granite from the period of Ramesses II, Swedish ceramics from the 19th century, sacred medieval art from the Neapolitan Renaissance period and personal medical objects that once belonged to the Swedish physician. In addition to its wide-ranging collection, Villa San Michele regularly hosts classical and opera concerts organised through its cultural institute.

Villa San Michele, V.le Axel Munthe 34, Anacapri, Capri, Italy, +39-081-8371401

Museum Ignazio Cerio

Capri harbour
Capri harbour | © Adrian Pingstone/WikiCommons
Located in the center of Capri, the Museum Ignazio Cerio presents collections across zoology and botany, palaeontology, archaeology, and proto-history. Physician Ignazio Cerio initially founded the space as a family museum to showcase his own geological and archaeological findings, disciplines which fascinated him endlessly. The majority of the objects on display represent the geological history of Capri and have been gathered through various excavations in the island. Also included in the museum are donations and acquisitions from scientists, artists and intellectuals that lived in Capri, such as painters Otto Sohn Rethel and Raffaello Bellini and zoologist Oronzio Gabriele Costa.

Museo Diefenbach

Monastery, Museum
Dedicated to the German painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, this eponymous museum has been situated in the renowned Charterhouse of San Giacomo since 1974. The German painter lived in Capri since the beginning of the 20th century; he captured the essence of Capri through his symbolism and predilection for dark, magical landscapes combined with his interest for mythology. The collection at the museum includes 31 canvases, five sculptures, as well as statues depicting sea gods from the Roman era that were found in the Blue Grotto.

Casa Rossa

American Civil War general J.C. MacKowen built Casa Rossa (‘the Red House’) at the end of the 19th century. In addition to being one of the most eclectic buildings in Capri, Casa Rossa also holds MacKowen’s artifact collection, found and collected across the island. The permanent collection, L’isola Dipinta (‘The painted island’), presents 32 paintings from various artists such as Barret, De Montalant, Carabain, Hay, Casciaro and Vianelli, illustrating daily life in Capri between the 19th and 20th centuries. Casa Rossa also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions by guest artists.

Casa Rossa, Via G. Orlandi 78, Capri, Italy, + 39 081/8382193

Charterhouse of San Giacomo

The Capri Foundation has been actively promoting the culture of Capri both at home and in other countries (Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey) through a series of curatorial collaborations and exhibitions. With others, the Foundation has been in charge of organizing the Photographic Festival at the Charterhouse of San Giacomo. The festival has displayed works by prominent photographers such as Francesco Jodice, Olivo Barbieri, Ferdinando Scianna, Irene Kung and Giovanni Gastel. Each edition focuses on exploring the photographic language applied to describe the history, culture and heritage of Capri.

Charterhouse of San Giacomo, Via Certosa 1, Capri, Italy, +39 081 837 6218

The White Museum

Museum, Spa
The White Museum is a singular endeavour by Toni Cacace to create an “Art Hotel.” Part of the Capri Palace brand, the museum was born from the idea of creating harmony between everyday life and art. Each room in the hotel is turned into an art studio decorated with paintings, sculptures and artworks that Cacace has acquired over the years from galleries in Milan, London, New York and Paris. Italian artists, such as Plessi, Constantini and Tonelli, also contributed to the realisation of the hotel. In addition to acting as a hotel, the White Museum runs a prolific residency program for artists who, upon receipt of the residency, can work in a gorgeous sea-view atelier. Each artist then creates a work of her own with the common theme of investigating art in relation to the territory in which it is located.

Gallery Laetitia Cerio

Laetitia Cerio, granddaughter of Ignazio Cerio, was the president the Centro Caprese. An artist herself, she was actively involved in the promotion of cultural activities and the incorporation of national and international artists in Capri. The Gallery Laetitia Cerio continues to organize contemporary art exhibitions.

Gallery Laetitia Cerio, Piazzetta Cerio 11, first floor, Capri, Italy

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