Procida is a very small island in the Bay of Naples, along with the more famous and visited islands of Capri and Ischia, and as is often described, is a little hidden gem. Most often visited as a day trip from Naples, we believe to get under the skin of this very ‘lived-in’ island of 10,000 inhabitants, requires a 3 night visit at least….and particularly if you want to sample a few of its stunning marinas, restaurants and beaches.
Following on from Part 1 of our blog where we introduced our highlights to Napoli, below is our wrap of the best of Procida, through our eyes.
Made famous by artists and poets, Procida is charming and quaint with its pastel-coloured harbours, cobblestoned streets and secluded coves of black, volcanic sand beaches. While this is definitely what you see on a day trip if you focus on the major tourist highlights of the island, there is also a ‘scruffy charm’ about Procida which you mostly experience in the early mornings and late evenings as ‘local life’ goes on, and which provides insight into a very traditional, yet somewhat chaotic island life – reflecting the tone and charm of its big sister city, Napoli.
See & Do
- Marina Corricella is the oldest, most beautiful and of course, most photographed village on Procida. Its colourful houses provide the most stunning backdrop to the marina and fishing village that is full of life, day and night, albeit still quaint and quiet….thanks to it being the only place on the island without cars! It is a hub of activity for locals and visitors alike, and we enjoyed wonderful aperitivo’s and dinners at Corricella, while also an early morning walk to experience its beautiful stillness;
- Terra Murata is a fortified village, built on the highest part of the island, and is a must to visit and wander through, if not for its historical and cultural significance with its Abbey of San Michele, Palazzo d’Avalos and the church of Santa Margherita Nuova (now an art gallery), then for its incredible views over the Bay of Naples, across to Capri and closer to home, for the idyllic view over Marina Corricella. Sunrise and sunset are both stunning times to wander up the hill to this imposing, yet quiet and unassuming site on the island;
- Beaches of Procida; spending a day at the beach in Procida is both relaxing and great for people watching. With its volcanic sand, the beaches are not as spectacular as others closeby on the Amalfi Coast, however the water is crystal clear and great for swimming. Our favourite days were spent at Spiaggia della Chiaolella at the Lido Rotonda enjoying days under an umbrella, toggling between our books, swims, sleeps and lunch at any one of the restaurants closeby. Our other favourite was at Spiaggia del Pozzo Vecchio, often also called Spiaggia del Postino (named after the famous movie filmed on the island). More of a secluded cove and with less people, this beach also enjoys clear water and beautiful sunsets, albeit the lunch options are limited compared to Chiaolella;
- Piazza Matiri; Morning or night, one of our favourite ways to pass an hour was to sit in this piazza with views over Corricella and the sea, enjoying a morning coffee and sfogliatelle or an evening gelato, while watching the nonna’s chatting on their bench seat (a nightly outing on their passeggiata) and talking to the many locals who come and go from this ‘hub of life’ on Procida;
Eat & Drink
- Aperitivo at Marina Corricella watching the world pass by on boats and on foot, or at Chiaolella watching sunset unfold over the sea, are both beautiful ways to experience a spritz on Procida;
- La Lampara; sitting above Corricella, this wonderful restaurant in an idyllic setting and with beautiful views over the marina and sea, was where we enjoyed our favourite seafood dinner. With wonderful service and sensational local pasta con gamberi e zucchini and the freshly caught fish of ricciola alla brace (cooked over hot coals) with accompanying contorni of ‘to die for’ pomodorini and our favourite vino con pesche (peaches in wine), this evening was a night to remember;
- La Pergola; set more inland and under the pergola of a beautiful lemon grove, this restaurant was the setting for our delicious meal of the famous Coniglio Procidana or rabbit, procidan style. Our antipasto della casa, followed by our ravioli ripeni di carciofi con coniglio e sugo, were absolute taste sensations. To cap it off, the very local torta caprese al limone and a home made limoncello. Buonissimo! Is there a better way to cap off a meal at a lemon grove than with a lemon dessert and digestivo?!
Via Salette, 10, 80079 Procida NA
- For a great coffee and lingua, the typical local pastry of Procida, lined inside with a light custard cream, go to Bar Cavaliere at the marina;
- For a sensational gelato, it doesn’t get any better than at Chiaro di Luna Bar at Marina Corricella;
- B&B Prochytea; we stayed at this quaint, family run B&B with only 5 rooms for its great location and access to Marina Corricella, Piazza Matiri, Terra Murata and Marina Grande (mainly for the ferry and local buses caught to the beaches). We were delighted by the service of the very attentive Giacomo, who grew up on the island and runs the B&B with his family. It has a lovely garden where you can relax and where breakfast is enjoyed in a tranquil setting. The only thing missing with this B&B were the views;
- La Casa Sul Mare; also perfectly located near Piazza Matiri, Terra Murata and Marina Corricella, this quaint 4 star hotel with 10 rooms, all with stunning views over the sea and Marina Corricella, could just be the pick if your stay is all about location and sea views. It wasn’t available for our stay but came recommended as we spoke to visitors walking in and out of its doors.
If an adventure to Napoli and/or Procida interest you pre or post one of our Italian Cycling Tours and you want to find out more, talk to us anytime when booking in.