Campania. Procida – a colorful island off the coast of Naples

It’s just 40 minutes while stayig in Naples to feel the atmosphere of the past century, to back in time about 30 years to the land of fishermen living in small townhouses with pastel facades, rising almost straight from the sea, where life goes on in unchanged rhythm. Narrow streets, old Vespas, iconic 500s, colorful boats and breathtaking views. Come on, I’ll show you the Island of Procida, a little known pearl of the Gulf of Naples that stole my heart during my last trip to Campania. It’s the perfect place for a day trip from Naples.

Procida – only 40 min from Naples

Procida & other Flegree Islands

Procida is one of four Flegree Islands in the Gulf of Naples. The largest is Ischia, then Procida, Nisida is connected to the coast near Parco Virgiliano in Naples and the smallest of them – Vivara, which is currently artificially linked to Procida. To Isole Flegree does’t belong Capri lying on the other side of the bay, but all five are called the Islands of the Naplolitan Bay. For the reasons of tourism, however, the guides describe only the three most important: Capri, Ischia and Procida. Although located close together, they are completely different. In an article for National Geographic, the author made good comparison:

“Capri is a king’s daugther of dazzling beauty, elegant, rich, proud and flirtatious. Ischia is like a princess – stylish, tasteful in monuments, and Procida is like a Cinderella – modest, unpretentious and at the same time beautiful in her simplicity.”

And exactly Cinderella what I want to present to you. Well, why the Cinderella and why is’t not as popular as the other two ladies? At Procida, there aren’t many attractions for tourists, and it may seem that it’s untouched, unspoiled by mass tourism. Of those three, is the smallest (less than 4 km² and about 12,000 people living permanently) and its inhabitants live mainly from fishing and working at sea.

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© Bruno Alb

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© Bruno Alb

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© Bruno Alb

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© dif.word

Procida Penelope Green

Before we start the trip on the Island I’ve to tell you how I was preparing to write this post. Well, a few years ago fell in my hands the book written by Australian journalist Penelope Green, who lived in Italy for several years. Her life in Bel Paese was described in three volumes, of which the first action takes place in Rome, the second in Naples, and the third in Procida. The whole trilogy I reviewed here on the blog and then I judged the island’s memories of the author as valuable, but very boring, putting the unread book on the shelf for several years. I didn’t change my mind, but after the Procida trip I decided to give Penelope another chance and read the whole „Girl by sea” and as I love quoting writers in my posts, I will tell you about the Island also with the words of Penelope Green.

“I learned how different populations colonized different areas. For example, port Chiaiolella was founded by newcomers from nearby Island of Ischia, a zone Sant’Antonio farmers and charming port Corricella fishermen with a completely different character then Molfettese from the southern region of Puglia, who settled on Marina Grande.”

Penelope Green „Girl by Sea”

At Procida I got there by boat from the Neapolitan harbor of Pier Beverello (city center, at Castel del Nuovo) on a cloudy afternoon at the end of March this year, following the end of my trip on the Amalfi and the Cilento Coast, at the invitation of Sposa Mediterranea and Bride & Groom Weddings. Long I wondered whether it’s worth to visit the Island when the rain hung in the air, and dense, dark clouds only occasionally passed the single rays of the sun. I decided and it was a very good decision. With only a few hours left I had no chance to see the entire Procida, but only a fragment that could be described as a center. When clicked, the following map will expand and open in a new tab. Feel free to download and print it if you need it when visiting the Island.

“At Marina Grande, I admire the ruined old buildings in shades of green, yellow, and blue.” Gilda once explained why the buildings in the main port district are particularly bright: fishermen paint houses in vibrant colors to see where the harbor is. Then, as Gilda told me, the Procida sailors who passed the port, sent to the sea, eagerly looked for their homes, wanted to find themselves close to those they loved. I lift my head I hear voices. In the upper floor of two adjacent buildings two older ladies are standing on adjacent balconies and talking, hanging laundry.”

Penelope Green “Girl By Sea”

There are three ports on Procida. The biggest and most important of these is Marina Grande, also called Sancio Cattolico, where dock all ferries and larger ships. After landing on the land eyes come a row of old, colorful and unfortunately neglected houses. Facades of different shades of yellow, pink and blue stretch throughout the port. There you will find several bars, shops and restaurants. Local cuisine specializes in seafood, which, given the fishing traditions of the locals, is natural. Over the Marina Grande is the castle where a jail was held until the second half of the 80’s.

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nr 2 on the  map

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From Marina Grande to Terra Murata – no.3 & no.4

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“On the other side of the bay is a majestic but sinister jail built on the cliff of Terra Murata. I glance to the left and I see our roof from the building located high above Chiaia Beach. On the right I see Corricella, bathing in the afternoon sun, colorful patchwork, made up form houses of curved walls and rounded staircases, houses set on top of each other on rocks and ending at the foot of an old prison.”

Penelope Green “Girl by Sea”

Leaving Marina Grande I was heading to a place that is absolutely not to be missed. The viewpoint at the foot of the oldest part of the Island – Terra Murata – offers a wonderful panorama of the colorful houses in Marina Corricella, which you saw at the beginning of the post. We go up the alley via Principe Umberto. It’s one of the main streets, but it’s so narrow that when a car approach you should hide in a side street or stick to the wall. On the way there are numerous shops. I only looked at alimentari for mineral water, but looking at prices I got the impression that they aren’t significantly higher than the prices in Naples.

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Procida-neapol-kampania

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As I climb the alley, I see the Corricelli skyline. In the end I get to the place where there are several benches and some memorial cannon (no. 4). It’s a pity that time and weather do not allow to sit and savor this amazing view for a long time. On a sunny day it’s definitely more beautiful and the colors are more intense. Maybe next time I’ll hit a better aura.

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Procida-neapol-kampania

Before the street turns at the height of the viewpoint and will guide you near the gate in the city walls, pay attention to the small church (No. 5) standing alone on the headland, just above the cliff.

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Procida-neapol-kampania

In the distance visible Naples and the outline of Vesuvius

This panorama can only be seen later with Terra Murat, but I paste it here. These two cones in the distance are Ischia.

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Procida-neapol-kampania

Terra Murata – no. 6 & no.7

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Terra Murata is the oldest part of Procida, created in the Middle Ages at the highest point of the Island (90m n.p.m.) and was surrounded by the walls. Here’s a magnificent 16th-century castle towering the Marina Grande, formerly owned by the owners of the island, later converted into a prison that lasted until 1988. Over the time, the local people began to settle in Corricella and dealt with fisheries.

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From the small square marked on the map as Point no. 6, is beautiful view of all Naples, Vesuvius and Capri. On the left side is visible  fragment of the old castle. Because the weather was comparatively bad, I also added view from this place on a cheerful day.

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© Google Street View

Marina Corricella – no. 8

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“Most of the dwellings in this port have been bought by strangers who use them during the holidays, as the Procidians do not like living in Corricelli.” “Why?” I ask, not really believing that any of the islanders would want to live in this warm, quiet enclave. Because it’s a bit off the beaten track and you’ve to climb  steep stairs here, and the Procidians can not stand walking, fifty meters on their feet is a tragedy for them. But I love this place because it’s like the Island itself. Other than Marina Grande with its traffic, shops and ferries, here are only fishermen .[…] The sun rises from this side and stays all day and I love it. In the summer there’s a bit of confusion with motorboats and restaurants but the winters are beautiful, because there’s no one here, at four o’clock no living soul. “

Penelope Green „Girl by Sea”

Here’s the most picturesque part of Procida. Marina Coricella, it’s so beautiful! Townhouses are in much better shape than those in Marina Grande. There’s a silence and a lazily rolling life. At the table in one of the several restaurants, the girl did her homework learning to read aloud, further the fishermen repaired their boats and nets.

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Notice the pictures below. The body of the old boat was turned into a flowerpot and banana was planted! In Corricelli there’s a unique microclimate, according to Penelope Green, the temperature is always 5°C higher than in other parts of the Island.

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Procida-neapol-kampania

“[…] on Procida, the houses were designed not by architects, but by masonry masters who worked closely with clients, most often without sketches.” “The client simply said how many rooms he wanted, and the builder drew lines in place. And then, as the family grew … […] additional rooms were built […] – Coricella attracts far too much sunlight, therefore the windows are small, and the stairs outside are an additional cover. If someone wanted to put stairs inside, they would occupy a lot of space and would violate the layout of the vaults, so the stairs were moved outside … There are idiots who cut down ceilings where hot air is gathering and build an attic. And then they say that they can not stand there anymore! Apart from the fact that such alterations are illegal, it also undermines the beneficial effect vaults which maintain an indoor climate at home. “

Penelope Green “Girl By Sea”

Marina Chiaiolella & Isola di Vivara

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There are two basic fishing methods on the island: the first is the paranza, which means pulling a long net at the bottom of the sea and catching up with everything that is on the way.” The word paranza can also be found on every card. The fishing boats are usually dock in the port of Marina Grande, where the reddish orange nets winds and sails in the sun, hanging up on chairs and buckets, the second method called in the Procidian dialect, zaccalea the word derived from Italian saccaleva, which literally means “lifting the bag.” The trawler is equipped with two small boats called a lampara […] The launchers are letting go and the fishermen use spotlights to make fish out to the surface. They throw a net loaded with metal rings and ropes and then circled the lamparas. At the end they pull a net that creates a big sack, and they lift it up. The trawlers usually dock in the ports of Chiaiolella and Corricella. “

Penelope Green “Girl By See”

Marina Chiaiolella is the third port of Procida, the closest to Ischia. It’s in this part of the island are reportedly the prettiest beaches, exactly between Chiaiolella and Punta Serra. Well known from the movie  “Il Postino” beach of Pozzo Vecchio is located a bit further from Punta Serra to Punta di Pioppeto. The pretty large beach is also located in the Chiaia residential area halfway between Marina Chiaiolella and Marina Corricella. When you visit this part of the island you will see lemon groves and there are very large fruits of the variety of the Procida. The Vivara islet is a reserve, you can walk there.

How to organize a trip to Procida?

Although I spent only half a day on Procida, I urge you even for a few. It’s a perfect place for a few days trip. How to organize such a trip? It’s very easy and relatively inexpensive. First you need to get to Naples. We now have direct connections to the capital of Campania with low cost airlines such as Ryanair, Wizzair and Easy Jet flights. The first ones offer connections from Gdansk, Modlin near Warsaw, from the end of October this year the connection will also start from Wroclaw. Wizzair flights from Warsaw Chopin and from Katowice Airport. Easy Jet from Krakow. What’s next? Naples has only one airport, is called Capodichino and is located quite close to the center. Starting at the arrivals hall, you will have no trouble getting to the bus stop called Alibus. This’s a line that provides a direct connection from the airport to the center of Naples. Ticket costs 4 euro / person, is bought at the driver. Departure every 20 minutes. The first stop is Piazza Garibaldi (main train station and subway) and the other is Molo Beverello Pier, the main port of Naples. There you get off, go to the cash register and buy a hydrofoil ticket. Only left the accommodation. How to do it? I always recommend to my readers the booking.com website. The transportation on the island, with a few days the best option is just to walk. Procida is small enough to walk anywhere without much effort. Having a large luggage ask the owner of the hotel / guesthouse to drop you off at Marina Grande. The accommodation providers have this service most often in the price.

Books, whose action takes place on Procida

Books

  • “Girl by sea” Penelope Green;
  • “L’isola di Arturo” Elsa Morante.

Movies, that takes place on Procida

  • “Listonosz”, Włochy 1994;
  • “L’isola di Arturo” , Włochy 1962;
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley USA 1999.

Proven restaurants and overnight stay

Guys! This is the story of Agnes, which, was influenced by the post, went to Procida, and stay there a couple of days! Agnes gives tips on checked accommodation and gastronomy. Definitely you should read it!

https://italia-by-natalia.pl/procida-nakarmi-dusze-milosnika-wloch-opowiesc-agnieszki/

Additional information:

  • Hydroplane (It. aliscafo) to Procida from the center of Naples (Molo Beverello Pier) takes 40 minutes and costs € 13.50 or € 15.50 per person depending on the carrier. The ferry (It. traghetto) takes an hour and is cheaper;
  • Timetable you will find. here;
  • Main photo wall.alphacoders.com.
  • In the absence of the English-language novel “Girl by see” I translated it into English from Polish-language by myself  – please excuse me for the grammar mistakes.

https://italia-by-natalia.pl/procida-nakarmi-dusze-milosnika-wloch-opowiesc-agnieszki/
If you have any questions, please, ask them in the comments on this post, I will try to answer each and advise. I’ll be happy to read your experiences, the weather in Sicily, go ahead and share the information, I’m sure it will help those who just planning to go there 😉

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Natalia

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