I don’t know about you, but for me, deciding which places to choose as a base for our travels is a complicated business. My formula goes something like this:
Beautiful and / or interesting to look at (my definition of this is fairly loose and obviously personal)
PLUS enough things to do & see to keep me and the husband happy (but truth be told it’s mainly my preferences that get a look-in – see the post on Who is the Travellingpantaloni?)
PLUS a nice hotel / B&B / apartment to stay in
PLUS great food
PLUS other practical things like somewhere to park if we’re on a driving holiday, or close to a decent beach if it’s hot
It’s a delicate balance …
I can spend hours researching towns in an area (I’m doing this for Puglia in Italy right now for our next trip) before I decide which one has the right mix of ingredients for us (i.e. me)
Sometimes places get rejected because they don’t make the cut. For example we very nearly didn’t go to Cuba because a close friend told me the food was absolutely dreadful. And I’d never go camping (see ‘nice place to stay’) no matter how great the scenery.
So how did Procida stack up?
Before I decided to make it our base I was tossing up between Procida and Ischia (a nearby Island), having long before discarded Capri as being too overrun with day trippers and fancy shops, neither of which are my thing.
Procida won, mainly because it was smaller, and also closer to the mainland for our day trips, but also because early on in the research process I found La Casa sul Mare. It had great reviews on tripadvisor, was perched right on the edge of a cliff, and was small.
We had a great time here and really loved it. It’s rated 4 star, but really it’s more like 3 star. The rooms are simply decorated with tiled floors, a pretty daggy but functional bathroom and an amazing view out over the sea and the small town below.
Breakfast is great with fresh juice, coffee, tea, fresh warm pastries, cake (Italians love to eat cake for breakfast, and I’ve never been able to get to the bottom of why that is), fruit, bread, cheese, meats and yogurt. It’s really the best way to start the day sitting in the sun and looking at that view.
The hosts are very friendly and speak English well (we went there before I started to learn Italian), and will organise bike/car hire, book restuarants etc for you if you ask. But otherwise you hardly see them so it’s more like a B&B than a hotel, which I prefer.
Now to the food!
I also research restaurants and markets for any trip we take, and I had a few on my wish list here.
We mostly ate at Marina Corricella because it was a short walk downhill from our hotel and almost all the restaurants are right on the water’s edge. We were there in June and while it was busy (and we had to book ahead) on the weekends, during the week we could just saunter along the waterfront and sit down at whichever place took our fancy. Sitting there watching the boats bobbing about on the water was magical and sooooo relaxing.
I’ll just tell you about our favourites, and the ones we’d recommend.
The first is La Lampara, and we liked it so much we went there twice! On our first night we snagged the last available table after not being able to get into Ristorante Gorgonia (which the hotel recommended). Although not right on the water’s edge the view was stunning, the food was fabulous and the service was great. On our first night there we had G&Ts (good ones, hurrah!), a seafood pasta each, and we shared fried calamari & salad and a chocolate dessert. The bill came to 52 Euros, but we didn’t have the correct change so they said 50 Euros is fine! Procida is that kind of place. Our kind of place. The second time we went there the manager asked Georgio if he was an actor (he gets that a lot).
The other place we really liked was La Pergola which is in the middle of the island. We drove ourselves the day we hired the Shrekmobile (see previous post) but you could easily get a taxi there. For a place with such delicious food it was eerily quiet the night we went. We sat under a canopy of lemon trees with the giant lemons found in this part of the world. We followed the waiter’s suggestion and shared the antipasti plate which was incredibly good, and I had to try the salad made from those giant lemons (a mix of lemon pith, garlic, chilli, mint & oil – so simple and delicious!). They breed their own rabbits here so I had to try one (sorry rabbit lovers!) and it was also excellent.
Find out more about La Pergola here
The place we had lunch on our first day, and dinner later in the week was La Locanda del Postino (part of the movie Il Postino was filmed here), and it’s also somewhere we’d recommend if you want a great lunch or a casual dinner. You’ll be entertained by the local kids zooming around on their bikes or playing soccer!
Fins out more about La Locanda del Postino here
My one real disappointment in the food department was not being able to find really good gelato. Being a small place I couldn’t find anywhere that made it; it all seemed to be imported from chains on the mainland. Sigh …
The other disappointment was the lack of a good cocktail bar. We found one bar but it was always deserted and lonely so we never went in. Instead we would beg our waiter wherever we happeed to be eating that night to make us a gin & tonic. Sometimes we won, and sometimes we were left thirsty …
Finally I’ll leave you with some photos of the views we had while dining in various places down at Marina Corricella
Stay tuned for the third and final post from Procida about our day trips to Isola di Ischia, Napoli and Pompeii.
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Until next time, safe travels,
The Travelling Pantaloni