Have you ever heard of Procida island?
Don’t worry you’re not alone! Most people, even Italians, give me a blank stare when I talk about it, and no one else I know has ever been there … it’s that secret.
This is the story of how I discovered it and why it’s one of my favourite places.
Many years ago I was watching ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ on TV and I became enchanted with the scenery. Forget the plot – I wanted to know where this was filmed! I headed straight to IMDb and there it was … Procida Island.
Filed in my memory bank, it wasn’t until several years later I was able to organise my Procida adventure. All my research pointed to this being a truly magical place, like Italy was 50 years ago. And the more I found out about it, the more excited I became.
Getting there was an epic journey. We awoke in Paris at some ungodly hour, taxi to the airport, 6am flight to Rome, train to Rome termini, train to Naples, taxi to the port, ferry to the island. Quite remarkably for a journey of so many sectors everything ran smoothly, and after a slight delay trying to find a taxi on Procida (they wait near the ferry ticket office not where you get on/off the ferry as you’d expect) we were checking in to our B&B, our home for the next week.
By now it was about 1.30pm and definitely time for lunch. We were pointed in the direction of Marina Corricella a short walk down the hill, plopped ourselves down at the nearest establishment serving food and OH MY GOD the FOOD! Forget the view (which was incredible mind you) – after the dreadful food experiences we had in England and Paris this was truly a godsend. For the first time on this holiday (11 days in) I exhaled and really relaxed. This is where we were …
Procida (pronounced PROSHida) is a tiny island of four square kilometres, just off the coast of Naples, in the Bay of Naples, together with Ischia (pronounced ISKea) and Capri (pronounced CAPri not Capree, where capri pants originated and are still made). Here it is on a map – it’s the unnamed smallest island closest to the mainland.
So what is there to do for a whole week on a tiny island I hear you ask …
Well, LOTS actually.
We planned to divide our time between hanging out on the island and doing day trips to other islands and the mainland, an hour away by ferry. Which is exactly what we did.
Hanging out on Procida consisted of:
1) Wandering around the charming, very narrow streets, jumping out of the way and flattening ourselves against the wall when cars approached…
2) Relaxing at the beach …
As an Aussie it’s always with trepidation that I go to the beach in foreign countries; they’re rarely as good as what’s just down the road from me. But these were pretty good: sandy, no stinging jellyfish and those fabulous beach beds/umbrellas and snack bars. I just love being comfy on the beach! There are three beaches on the island and we went to all three. Our favourite was spiaggia ciraccio (second picture), just because it was smaller and a bit less crowded.
3) Zooming around in a ridiculous green rental car and a scooter (not at the same time)
4) Exploring spooky Terra Murata where there used to be a gaol
5) And poking our noses into churches (a favourite pastime of mine). In some we came across these huge floats which are used for the Easter procession
We were there in June, and apart from weekends when Napolitani arrive with their boats and hang out in the many coves, coming ashore for dinner at night it’s really very quiet. And it’s absolutely dead during the long afternoon siesta hours when the streets are deserted and everything shuts up so tight you’d never know anything was ever there. But come 5pm the streets are filled with people having their early evening stroll and shops are again open for business. I love that time of day for a wander, gelato and a sit by the water.
It’s the kind of place where you see baskets being lowered by a nonna on the third floor down to someone who puts in the day’s bread delivery, where the green grocer won’t let you pay if you’re only buying a piece of fruit, and where after a few days you begin to see the same people over and over again.
The next post will be about where we stayed and where we ate, and the one after that will be about where we went on our day trips. Stay tuned!
In the meantime here’s a few more shots of lovely Procida ….
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If you enjoyed this post you might also like a story about Capri
Until next time, safe travels,
The Travelling Pantaloni