Via Krupp

Via Krupp Capri Italy history and tourist information

This beautiful and sometimes treacherous path zigs and zags around the mountain from just below the Gardens of Augustus to Marina Piccola.

Friedrich Krupp inherited Germany’s largest privately-owned steel industry and was renowned for producing weapons such as cannons and armor. Despite his passion for marine biology, his father compelled him to pursue business studies instead of biology, which he dedicated himself to throughout his life.

Friedrich Alfred Krupp and his “scandal”

Friedrich Alfred Krupp began the construction of a pathway as a way to improve the amenities of his high-end hotel, the Grand Hotel Quisisana. The pathway was designed to lead all the way down to the marina, where Krupp’s marine biology research vessel was anchored. The plan was finalized in 1902; however, Krupp was later exiled from Italy due to his involvement in a sexual controversy.

Due to his poor health, he frequently visited Mediterranean destinations to take a break. Away from his father and wife, whom he was forced to marry, he could indulge in his love for oceanography. He also found himself attracted to the young men of the Mediterranean. In 1898, Krupp decided to live semi-permanently on Capri, Italy to pursue both his scientific interests and his attraction to young men. Although the locals may have been aware of his preferences, they generally overlooked them because of the generous contributions Krupp made to the community. In recognition of his contributions, the Capri city council granted him honorary citizenship in 1900.

Due to his business commitments, he couldn’t permanently stay in Capri, but he didn’t want to lose his young male companions either. Krupp arranged for several Italian men to work at Hotel Bristol in Berlin, with the understanding that their duties would revolve exclusively around him when he visited. However, these men turned out to be unsuitable as hotel staff, and when Krupp stayed there, other guests complained about the noises coming from his suite.

In 1902, Italian newspapers threatened to expose him as a homosexual if he returned to Capri. Krupp seemed oblivious to the danger this might entail and continued his activities. He did not realize that the papers had photos they were prepared to publish if necessary. Nor did he have any knowledge that the Berlin Chief of Police possessed an extensive dossier of his indiscretions, many of which violated the law against sodomy.

Over time, scandalous tales of wild parties on Capri Island spread from the Italian media to German news outlets. It’s believed that Krupp’s spouse was institutionalized, perhaps to prevent her from revealing anything. Within a few weeks, the speculation became harsh allegations, leading to an article titled “Krupp in Capri.” Krupp took legal action for defamation and asked to meet with his friend, Kaiser Wilhelm, Emperor of Germany. However, on the day he was set to meet the ruler he was found dead in his home. This occurred on November 22, 1902, and the circumstances of his death have remained unknown, but it is believed that he committed suicide.

The Krupp steel firm passed to his oldest daughter, Bertha, after whom the famous cannon used against the Allies in World War I was named.

Sad Realities

If Krupp had lived a century later, the events that caused his early death would have been nothing more than a trivial tabloid story. Malcolm Forbes and Fritz Krupp share many similarities – both owned large businesses, lived their lives in the public eye, and were homosexual despite being married with children. However, while Forbes accepted his sexuality without shame, Krupp was persecuted for it.

The Via Krupp Today

Occasionally, the Via Krupp becomes accessible to the public, so if you happen to visit during that time, it’s worth taking a stroll down the path to Marina Piccola below. If you prefer not to climb back up the hill, you can always opt for a taxi or bus ride back to Capri. ​The path has been closed for the most part since 1976 due to the risk of falling rocks. As a result, it can usually only be observed from the Augustus Gardens mentioned earlier or from the sea by taking a boat tour around the island.

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Kristal Ham

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