Saetta, Stella and Scopolo.

Their names probably don’t mean much. Their appearance, on one hand, is both iconic and dramatic yet historical as well.

As you can easily guess, we’re actually talking about Capri’s three Faraglioni. Anyone visiting the Amalfi Coast and Campania must see them.

In reality, there are four rock formations. The stony cliff of the Moncone, which rises just behind the silhouettes of the three most famous ones, is also part of the group.

Their characteristic shape is the result of centuries of wave erosion, from the wind and water.

The name Faraglioni comes from the Greek “pharos”, which means “lighthouse”.

In ancient times there was the custom of climbing rocks and mountains near the coast to light fires to warn sailors of their presence. These “lighthouses” didn’t have guardians but it was the fuochisti or men who had to light the fires and keep lit who were responsible for the name of the Faraglioni, a constant presence in the Mediterranean Sea. Similar (but less iconic) lighthouses can also be found in the Aeolian Islands, Sicily, Pantelleria, Giglio and in Puglia.

The Faraglioni can be easily recognized from almost anywhere on Capri. A classic is to gaze at them from the lovers’ balcony, where the perfect fusion of elements makes for a romantic setting hard to match. An essential walk for tourists is that taking them from the Piazzetta in Capri to the Faraglioni, before taking them on an equally unforgettable boat tour of the island, before finally reaching the magnificent 3+1.

Let’s get back to their names for a second.

Saetta is the stack attached to the mainland and the highest at 109 meters. Stella is the middle stack, with a central cavity 60 meters long. Scopolo is the outermost faraglione and has on its peak a famous blue lizard whose scientific name is “Podarcis sicula coerulea” and blends in perfectly with the sky and the sea thanks to its extraordinary blue color. Simply amazing!

Like all good self-respecting tales, the stacks are also surrounded by a great deal of myths and legends. We can even go back to Homer, for whom the faraglioni were boulders thrown by Polyphemus, the Cyclops. But it was Virgil, with the Aeneid, who enshrined the immortality of the faraglioni. For the great poet from Mantua, in fact, these faraglioni were the cliffs where the Sirens lived. And we know very well how the Sirens are linked with the Campania region.

Until a few years ago, only a few brave experts were able to climb with their bare hands to the top of the stacks.┬áIn any case, it’s best to enjoy the sight in complete safety.