6/21/2013

Anacapri houses built in Roman style and their gardens

Le Boffe and its central Piazza Boffe - a white piazza looking like an intimate, private terrace of which the white houses represent a natural prolongation: A fraction of Anacapri, with characteristic white-washed houses and vaulted roofs, a sight that you may not expect so near, about seven minutes from the very central and touristic Piazza Vittoria,. This is the historic part, an architectonic jewel to discover easily, you just need to take one of the side streets of Via G. Orlandi to your right and you will arrive in the midst of an agglomerate of houses crafted by artisan masons, building these vaulted houses based on ancient Roman style!! And all this beauty conveys a very private atmosphere, against the black-green background of the pines and date palms. A very structured urban landscape looking archaic and to my mind, yet conveying the essence of what life should be.
Piazza Boffe - this time with a focus on the plants and pine trees of course, that provide welcome shade in the summer
In contrast, if you look at Via G. Orlandi, the houses are pastel-colored, rose, pale yellow and orange, sometimes rosso pompeiano-tinted and surrounded by lush gardens that often comprise both vegetable plots and flower gardens. But just beyond some vegetable gardens and vineyards, or when you turn towards Piazza San Nicola, walk past the white Church of San Michele and continue walking along the shaded (and refreshingly cool and slightly descending Via Finestrale, you come to a crossing, which a bit further ahead opens up into a slargo, a quiet little square, this is Piazza Boffe. 
And then you might think you have crossed some magical border and stepped right into some Arab or egven Greek island environment. But actually, it is the artworks of artisan masons that started building these houses back in the 16th century, based on Roman techniques.
Arabian souk or Greek island - no, Anacapri's delightful Piazza delle Boffe, shaded by huge pine trees
Le Boffe are characterized by architettura spontanea rurale, as this style is called in an insightful article published by L'Isola Magazine. The houses scattered here were built from 1505 onwards, and were constructed next to the Church of Santa Sofia, which is just round the corner. And it was these houses that Edwin Cerio, the famous urban planner, architect and mayor of Capri, chose as models for some of his architectonic creations all over Capri ... But now let us look at how this white-washed agglomerate is livened up by green spots ... tiny gardens structured on several levels, with a central plant bed and seemingly randomly planted pine trees providing shade on might think in a very strategic and conscious manner ...
Entrance to Piazza Boffe, crossroads to the two white Churches of Anacapri
The memory plate in Piazza Boffe remembering the fact that here, two children from Anacapri greeted Josef Ratzinger as "future Pope" in September 2012
Terraces and pergolas were added to the vaulted buildings in the 19th century
Ivory-covered bougainvillea, the whitewashed houses represent the stage for colorful potplants and cacti plants
Structured garden rooms spanning several floors and levels: front garden with citrus fruits, first-floor tiled terrace with terracotta pots
Shade of the oleanders lining the houses
Lush pine trees, pots wsith cacti and asparagus
Even the piazza presents different levels of pavement, conveying the impression of a very private and intimate space to live, almost like a terrace.  
A towering date palm with bougainvillea growing at its feet (this picture was taken in April, so flowers are not yet there to liven up the space in a bright purple color)
Mighty pine trees - pinoli are ripening just above ...

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