Have you ever thought about visiting Procida Island? Probably not.
So many Amalfi Coast itineraries and visits to southern Italy include time set aside to visit Capri, but the glamorous isle is actually one of three beautiful Neapolitan islands that lay in waiting across the bay of Naples.
Capri, Ischia, and Procida – The three poet’s islands. Procida, the smallest of the three is seldom visited by tourists and in fact, most who come here are Neapolitans who visit during the Summer months to escape the heat and humidity of the Italian sun, and to enjoy their vacation time in peace away from the tens of thousands of International tourists who seize control of their city and the Amalfi Coast during this time.
Arriving early at the Porta Di Napoli, only a handful of us sit waiting for the Procida ferry – an old Italian lady seemingly transfixed by her crossword puzzle, a large Neapolitan family taking a weekend break. No tourists.
The journey to get to Procida from Naples took just one hour by ferry, and as the drawbridge was lowered on arrival, one of the most beautiful villages that I have ever looked upon appeared.
Pastel colored houses showcased perfectly presented floral displays, authentic Italian salumerias organised their produce and Italian Fishermen pushed their boats out to sea.
The island is so small that you could walk it’s entirety in just two days, and there is plenty to see and do in that time. Here’s a suggestion of what you should do if you find yourself with 48 hours in Procida.
Visit the Terra Murata
Situated atop a steep hill, the Terra Murata is a walled 15th century town which encapsulates the crumbling palace of Palazzo D’Avalos, and the 11th century Benedictine Abbey, Abbaziadi San Michele.The abbey is free to enter and although it is rather simple in terms of its decoration (at least if you compare it to other Italian churches like the Sistine chapel), it’s quite beautiful in its own way. Unfortunately a lot of Palazzo D’Avalos is sectioned off, but you can still scale a lot of the walls and look out at beautiful views of the sea, and Procida below.
Have lunch at Corricalla Bay
A short walk down from Terra Murata, this is the little bay that you can see in my classic postcard shot photo of Procida. There are lots of great Italian restaurants here, many of which sell seafood dishes with fresh catches caught locally.
Discover the beaches
Anywhere that is sign posted as a “spiaggia” is a beach. Chiaia beach is arguably the largest but it’s nothing to write home about – a relatively insignificant large stretch of sand. Chiaiolella and Postino however are both very beautiful and worth the journey out to.
Postino felt very rewarding to discover since its entrance was so concealed. In the northern section of Procida Island, on via Battisti, there is nondescript, and actually quite creepy looking pathway that runs behind a graveyard (have I sold it to you yet?). Follow the creepy woodland trail and it opens up to a beautiful beach. There’s even a really cute little wooden surf shack style bar from which you can enjoy a beer as you watch the sea.
Explore the Centro Storico
Although a lot of the businesses close in the middle of the day, there are some really quirky stores, patisseries, coffee shops and gelaterias. Even just getting lost in the little alley ways and marveling at the colorful architecture is an adventure. The layout of the town reminded me a lot of Naples, however once you leave the hustle and bustle of the main port, you will find the roads virtually empty.
On the return journey from Terra Murata, you can pass through Semmarezio. It’s a beautiful little square with views of the sea. It was the site of mass public hangings in the past but now it’s filled with restaurants and Italians enjoying coffee outside (oh how times have changed!) Santa Maria delle Grazie ( the yellow church you see in the photos) is here, and depending on your arrival time you can venture inside.
- It takes 40 minutes to reach Procida by fast boat and an hour by ferry. The price is relatively the same whichever option you prefer (€25 euros return by fast boat and 20 euros by ferry)
- When you arrive at Procida, there are many places where you can rent a bike for the day to explore the island. It was around 10 euros for an hour, 15 euros for four hours, and 25 euros for the day, so certainly worth it.
- The boats are organised in a chaotic manner which you may have come to expect if you have spent any amount of time in Southern Italy. At the port of Naples, there are more than four businesses organising boats to and from Procida, all of which operate boats at different times, some only every four hours or so. It is prudent to arrive early or purchase your ticket a few days before your departure so you don’t waste time with this chaos.
- The first boat from Naples to Procida is at around 6am and the last one back to Naples departs at 8pm.
- Unless it’s an Italian public holiday, you don’t need to reserve your seat in advance, you can just rock up at the port on your intended day of travel.