Procida, a tiny spot of land in the Bay of Naples, might be best known as the island between Ischia and Capri. But in late January, it was named Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2022, beating nine other candidates—a mix of cities and small towns—and becoming the first island to ever be granted the title.
Under two square miles in total, the island has mostly flown under the tourist radar (except in July and August, when many Neapolitans come here for their summer vacations), overshadowed by its better-known siblings. This is all despite its big-screen moments—Procida has served as the set of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Il Postino—and the fact that it features the same pastel houses, cafes-lined marinas, and narrow streets as its bigger counterparts, but also historic sites, wild nature, and near-empty beaches.
From here, it’s a 15-minute walk uphill (then downhill) to Marina Corricella, Procida’s oldest fishing village. Only reachable on foot or by boat, the area is one of the best places to stay for a taste of slow island living, and is full of restaurants—Caracale, La Lampara, Il Pescatore, to name a few—gelato shops like Chiaro di Luna, and bars.
At the opposite end of the island, Marina Chiaiolella is another fishing village with great eateries (try Da Mariano and Lido Vivara), craft boutiques, and old-school bakeries—not to mention access to one of the island’s most popular beaches, spiaggia della Chiaiolella, known for its sunsets.
Terra Murata, the fortified medieval stronghold at the highest and northernmost tip of the island, is another highlight. A tumble of skinny lanes and crumbling houses, this is Procida’s most historical center, home to Abbazia San Michele Arcangelo, which honors Procida’s patron saint, and Palazzo D’Avalos, a 16th-century palace that was the former residence of the island’s governing family. In 1830 the building was converted into a prison that eventually closed in 1988. Two viewpoints here offer the island’s most panoramic vistas: Corricella in all its candy-colored glory to the west; and the Gulf of Naples, with Capri in the distance, to the east.
On the opposite coast from Marina Grande, in the southern part of the island, there here is a place that no guide on “what to see in Procida” will ever forget.
The seaside village of Corricella is simply suggestive and lively at the same time. It is the classic fishermen village animated by bars, restaurants and small craft shops where you can buy the most typical souvenirs, which anyone who comes to Procida cannot avoid to love and photograph.
Here you can stroll among the fishermen’s nets, admiring the very old colourful houses and deeply breathing the sea in the air.
Among Procida’s most scenic beaches are Pozzo Vecchio, whose black sands were made famous in Il Postino; spiaggia Chiaia, to the east, which overlooks Ischia and features clear, shallow waters and a backdrop of rocky cliffs (plus the excellent seafood restaurant La Conchiglia); and Ciraccio, the longest and most secluded. Further down, the spiaggia della Chiaiolella is another gem, though slightly more frequented, especially in the late afternoon, when its stabilimenti (beach clubs with rows of sunbeds and umbrellas) start rolling out aperitivo.
Spaghetti alla Pescatora Povera – Recipe
This “poor” version of seafood spaghetti contains just anchovies, cherry tomatoes, and a dusting of Pecorino Cheese.
Luveri al sale
The waters of Procida abound with Pagello fish, which locals call luvero. The most popular way to cook this sea bream is in a salt crust (al sale) with some herbs.
Coniglio alla Procidana
In addition to the sea, locals have also sourced food from the island’s terroir. Procida, like Ischia, has a signature rabbit dish, usually prepared with cherry tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, and white wine.
Recipes vary, but the Procidani usually slip anchovies into their filling for stuffed squid.
Pizza di Procida
As Procida is just a 40-minute ferry ride from Naples, it should come as no surprise that the island’s pizzaioli emulate the wood-fired style of the world’s pizza capital.
Tortano con i carciofi
Especially popular around Easter, this savory bread is stuffed with artichokes and, at times, sausage.
Spaghetti ai ricci di mare
Creamy and briny, sea urchin has a particular taste, one that fuses nicely with spaghetti when sautéed with olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a hint of lemon.
Lingue di Procida
Procida is famous for its lemons, which are larger and sweeter than other varieties. The Procidani prepare them in dozens of sweet and savory recipes, and a signature dolce is the Lingue di Procida, or tongues of Procida, lemon-flavored, cream-filled pastries.
L’insalata di limone
Speaking of lemons, the lemon salad with mint, garlic, crushed red chili pepper, garlic and olive oil makes for an airy, refreshing start to any meal.
WHERE to STAY
The San Michele in Corricella, has 12 tastefully decorated rooms done in earthy tones and minimalist design. A similar aesthetic is found in its slightly bigger sister property La Suite, a stylish accommodation near Ciraccio that comes with a pool, a garden, and striking views.
In Chiaiolella, the three-star Hotel Ristorante Crescenzo is a popular choice not just for its simple, brightly colored rooms but its pizzeria, one of the most famous in Procida. La Vigna in a beautifully restored farmstead within a vineyard that overlooks the Bay of Naples, delivers charm and tranquility.
MOVIES SHOT on PROCIDA