Even regular visitors to Italy may be unfamiliar with Procida, a tiny island in the Bay of Naples. Yet this picturesque island with its multi-coloured houses and quaint fishing traditions is about to become much better known. It has recently received the coveted title of Italian Capital of Culture for 2022.
What Is The Italian Capital Of Culture?
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 Capital of Culture was shared between five cities (including Siena and Ravenna), and later title-holders have included Mantua and Matera. The Cultural Capital for 2021 was Parma, and Bergamo and Brescia have already been chosen for 2023.
Why Was Procida Chosen As Italian Cultural Capital For 2022?
At only 4 sq km, Procida is the smallest of the islands in the Bay of Naples, and tends to be overshadowed by its neighbours, Capri and Ischia. Yet it has its own unique culture. The island 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.
This distinctive culture has caused Procida to be a favoured haunt of writers, artists and film makers. These connections have led to annual events such as the Procida Film Festival and MARetica, a celebration of culture and sport.
Looking To The Future
This is a small island – with around 10,000 inhabitants – and it is the first island to be designated Italian Capital of Culture. However its theme for the year is 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.
It is hoped that designation as Italian Capital of Culture will bring the island to a wider audience. However, Dino Ambrosino, the Mayor of Procida, points out that this is “only the beginning of a long journey”. The aim is to generate new employment for the future by growing tourism in a sustainable manner.
What To See And Do In Procida In 2022
The coming year will see a number of cultural projects on Procida. The Palazzo d’Avalos, a 16th century palace that was later used as a prison, is being refurbished and will host a major art exhibition. And the Civic Museum will be showcasing the region’s Greek history. There will also be a programme of events throughout the year. These will include exhibitions, cinema and live performances.
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.
How To Visit Procida
- Procida makes an ideal day trip from Naples. There are regular ferries, and the journey takes around an hour. Or you could take an organised day trip.
- The ferry from Ischia takes around 25 minutes. Organised trips from Sorrento are also possible.
- There are no large hotels on Procida, but if you want to stay overnight there are a few guest houses and apartments. Alternatively, there is a wider choice of accommodation on the neighbouring island of Ischia.
- You will find a range of bars and restaurants on the island. Recommendations from the tourist board include The Gazebo, The Medusa and The Gorgonia.