Italian landscapes, for the most part, resemble fairytale scenarios, difficult to resist their charm. Especially in summer, when the sun’s rays expand, intent on illuminating the facades of buildings, the colors become more intense and it is impossible – as a result – to ignore the constant beauty that breathes under the often distracted eyes of us Italians. Sometimes too busy worrying about other things and our modern lives, we simply forget.
Iconic and never banal is the Italian summer, which for us represents much more than a period during the year or a season, for us it represents exactly a real state of mind. Summer begins in the blink of an eye and overwhelms you, without warning you. And so you can’t miss the hit song that soon becomes the perfect background for car trips with the windows down. You cannot miss a ride on a Vespa, the bright costumes, the ice cream, frying of good fish by the sea, and the scent of salt that dries the skin just to hear it. But above all, the islands cannot be missing on the list of things to do for a perfect Italian summer.
Drawing up a list of the most beautiful islands would be counterproductive, there are countless and each one has its own “why”. Among the many, in particular, there is one that looks like a real Italian Notting Hill overlooking the crystal clear sea: Procida. Set between Capo Miseno and Ischia, Procida is the flagship of the Phlegraean Islands. Less crowded and less known, it deserves to be walked far and wide on its rocky coasts to discover the most remote and even less explored places. The island looks like a real cinematic scenography, it is no coincidence that it has been the backdrop to many renowned films. And who wouldn’t want to feel like the protagonist of the film to hear the poet talk about the beauty of life and the habits of love on the rocky cliffs of the island?
An oasis of peace throughout the year, as it is almost uninhabited, Procida repopulates in the summer. There are many who approach its shores and port every day, just to be able to savor its uncontaminated freedom. The island has always kept the core of its identity. Unlike nearby Ischia and Capri, Procida is not the classic island dotted with luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, and exclusive clubs. Far from it. Procida has always been an island of fishermen and, as always, it’s few inhabitants identify in themselves their relationship with the sea. Leaning houses and alleys that smell of prickly pears, a jagged profile and hidden beaches, coves, and streets bordered by orchards; the island, despite the perimeter of just over 16 kilometers, is a real palette of colors in the middle of the sea and is the smallest and least known of the Gulf of Naples.
As with any island, the historic center remains the nucleus from which everything unfolds.
Terra Murata, the historic center of the island, undoubtedly represents the highest point of the island (90 meters above sea level), strategically placed to protect it and guard against any threats from the sea. In Terra Murata time seems to have magically stopped as you immerse yourself in a small village of extreme beauty built during the Middle Ages on the island’s peak. It is characterized by a labyrinth of narrow streets and houses leaning against each other, and in this maze of streets, you can then admire the imposing and unparalleled Palazzo d’Avalos, famous for housing a prison until 1988 and subsequently the Royal Palace and the Abbey of San Michele, patron saint of the island. Despite the steep walk to reach it, Terra Murata also remains the most romantic place on the island. The view is lost in the deep blue of the sea and in the background, the gulf of Naples, entirely illuminated in the evening, will be able to capture every emotion, even to the hearts most difficult to melt.
Marina della Corricella, the most photographed and oldest seaside village of Procida, bewitches the eye. Villas and small houses alternate in a palette of pastel colors, resting one on top of the other and often crowned by balconies covered with arches of Arab origin. This location is famous above all for having hosted the film set of the film “Il Postino” with Massimo Troisi and Maria Grazia Cucinotta.
Marina Grande remains the tourist center of the island. It is teeming with craft shops and inns. And just behind Marina Grande stands a lighthouse from where to admire the spectacular panorama. Before leaving the island, do not miss the islet of Vivara, with its characteristic crescent shape. Vivara is connected to Procida by a bridge located on the hill of Santa Margherita; a suspended walk, a story of land and water, enveloped only by the sky and the sea.
But at the end of the day it is summer, and the heat won’t wait.
The sea in Procida is an essential element, wherever you are you never lose sight of it. Along the high and rugged coast there are silent coves protected by cliffs, pebble beaches and breathtaking little openings. Bathers who go there love slow living and a good book to leaf through in natural silence. On the island there is no lack of the opportunity to wander to discover secret places, secluded beaches, hidden slopes immersed in the Mediterranean scrub that open onto wonderful views. There are sandy beaches, hard to reach beaches and stretches of coast overlooking the sea that are worth more than a visit.
One of the most famous beaches on the island is the sandy beach of Chiaiolella which looks towards Ischia, with a view of the open sea as far as the eye can see. On the opposite side of the island, on the other hand, there is the Chiaia beach which can be reached via long stairways. It is one of the most beautiful on the island and can be reached from via dei Bagni or from via Pizzaco to Piazza Olmo.
And since Procida is remembered by many as the island of “Il Postino”, there is no shortage of the homonymous beach. Pozzovecchio beach, nicknamed del Postino after the film, where the hours seem to never pass and the sun never sets. Life flows slowly between long baths immersed in an unspoiled natural landscape, romantic walks and a chat with friends at the small bar of the bagno, where you can take shelter in the hottest moments.
In short, Procida knows how to amaze everyone, from the sportiest to the most romantic.
It persistently ranks among the most characteristic islands for its colors mixed with its scents.
It knows how to amaze and enchant, but above all it does not know how to be forgotten.
How to get there:
Take a fortyfive minute hydrofoil from Naples ports Molo Beverello or Porta di Massa
Bar Roma — for breakfast with the traditional island lemon puff pastry: lingua di suocera
Il Pescatore — Order the crab spaghetti
La Conchiglia — excellent seafood restaurant on a secluded beach
Vineria Letteraria L’Isola di Arturo — wine bar great for an aperitivo
La Medusa — for an excellent seafood meal
Da Mariano — casual seafood restaurant
Spiaggia della Chiaia