Visiting Procida, The Tiny Island In The Bay Of Naples

Procida

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Even regular visitors to Italy may be unfamiliar with Procida, a small island in the Bay of Naples. However this picturesque island with its multi-coloured traditional houses and quaint fishing traditions became better known when it received the coveted title of Italian Capital of Culture in 2022. But why should you visit Procida, what is there to see and do, and how can you plan your trip?

The Smallest Island In The Bay Of Naples

At only 4 sq km, Procida is the smallest of the islands in the Gulf of Naples. Volcanic in origin, it rises up from the sea and is fringed with black sand beaches.

The island of Procida tends to be overshadowed by its larger neighbours, Capri and Ischia. Yet it has its own unique culture. Procida is steeped in history and tradition, with medieval fortifications and centuries-old festivals linked to the fishing industry. It has a typical Mediterranean architecture, and a long history of craftsmanship, its many artisan workshops being a feature of the island.

Procida, Italian Capital Of Culture 2022

The concept of the Italian Capital of Culture was first introduced in 2014, with a different city (or cities) being nominated each year. The aim was to develop the cultural heritage of the chosen town or city, and to attract tourists to the region. In 2015 the title was shared between five cities (including Siena and Ravenna), and later title-holders included Mantua and Brescia. The Capital of Culture for 2024 is Pesaro.

Procida’s distinctive culture made it an ideal choice for 2022, giving the island an opportunity to generate employment and grow tourism in the region. It has long been a favoured haunt of writers, artists and film makers, and these connections have led to annual events such as the Procida Film Festival and MARetica, a celebration of culture and sport. Films shot on the island include the Italian classic Il Postino.

Procida is small – with around 10,000 inhabitants – and it was the first island to be designated Italian Capital of Culture. However its theme for the year was la cultura non isola (“culture does not isolate”). Procida may be geographically isolated, with its own characteristic culture, but it is also connected to the mainstream of Italian heritage and tradition.

What To See And Do In Procida

You might choose just to remain in the picturesque fishing village of Marina di Corricella, walking the narrow streets, watching the fishing boats, and photographing the multi-coloured houses. The village has plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, too.

However, because it is so small, it is easy to walk around the entire island, and to discover its other attractions.

Multi coloured houses on the side of a hill rising from the sea, and fishing boats in the water
The village of Marina Corricella

Terra Murata

​Terra Murata (“walled land”) is probably the number one attraction of Procida. If you are happy to tackle the steep uphill climb you will be rewarded by a historic walled town with spectacular views and historic sites.

Fortifications on a cliff beside the sea, and houses and mountains on the other side of the bay
The walled village of Terra Murata

Within the walled town you can visit the 16th century Palazzo d’Avalos. This was once the royal palace, but was later used as a prison, and it is now possible to take a guided tour. Then there is the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo (Abbazia San Michele Arcangelo). Dating back to the 11th century, this is a former monastery with some impressive artworks. And La Casa di Graziella is a museum devoted to the legend of Graziella, a young girl whose story was told in a 19th century novel.

At the foot of Terra Murata is Casale Vascello, an ancient settlement with the brightly coloured houses that you will by now have come to associate with the island.

The Island Of Vivara

At the far end of Procida is the island of Vivara (Isola di Vivara). This wild, uninhabited island is a fantastic natural reserve, home to all manner of plants and birds, and even wild rabbits. It is worth visiting for the hiking trails, natural beauty and even some Roman remains.

You can reach the island via a footbridge close to Chiaiolella beach. However, as this is a protected area, note that access may be limited at certain times.

Boat Trips

From Marina Corricella it is possible to book a boat trip around the island. Fishing boats and kayaks are available, as are fishing trips and snorkelling excursions.

Cuisine Of Procida

Visitors are also encouraged to enjoy the island’s cuisine. As you might expect, seafood is prominent, with fried anchovies being a local speciality. Then there are the famous Procida lemons. You will find these everywhere: in salads and fish dishes, in liqueurs, and in lingua di bue, a local dessert of pastry filled with lemon cream.

Basket of lemons beside a small vase filled with white flowers
The famous Procida lemons

How To Visit Procida

About Bewitched by italy

Bewitched By Italy is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), but Italy remains one of my favourite destinations. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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