procida

UPDATED! My aversion to fancy things is almost as intense as my attraction to that which is unpolished. It is both of these factors that draw me to Procida, an island off the coast of Naples, again and again. On my first trip here with with Mamma Parla back in 2005, it felt like a little slice of Naples had broken off and floated into the bay. The chaotic, soulful, and colorful place had so much in common with the nearby mainland, much more than Naples’ other island neighbor, Ischia.

The port is loud and raucous, with backfiring scooters and old women shouting from windows. Up and over the hill in Corricella, Mamma Parla and my hotel La Casa Sul Mare overlooked the quiet marina, which had served as the set of Il Postino. The balcony of our room looked up at the adjacent Terra Murata, the medieval fortification that was once the heart of Procida.

procida 2

On subsequent visits, I have mainly stayed around L’Olmo, a little cluster of houses and shops above Chiaia beach. The rooms and apartments rented out by Ristorante La Conchiglia were simple accommodations and conveniently located near the island’s main bus route and 195 steps above the sea. This trip, I am staying in the center of the island at a friend’s apartment, which is surrounded by citrus groves, fruit trees, and crowing roosters.

procida 3

Getting to Procida is easy. Hop on a train from Rome to Naples (book early to get the best deals on the new-ish Italo train), then walk 25 minutes to the port, or take a cab, depending on your luggage situation. There are regular Snav hydrofoils from Molo Beverello and Caremar ferries from Calata Porta di Massa. There are also connections from Pozzuoli and Ischia. FYI, Procida is a popular weekend destination for day trippers from Naples, so the hydrofoils can get crowded or booked up on Saturdays and Sundays.

Check out La Panetteria at Via Vittorio Emanuele 155/157 for amazing baked goods. Their pizzas, savory breads and torte rustiche are incredible. They also do sweet shortbread crust filled with an eggy and hammy filling. Insane. In the morning, swing by for a lingua procidiana, sweet and flaky pastry filled with custard.

In addition to the stellar offerings at La Panetteria, I always eat at La Conchiglia. The food is decent, it is conveniently situated 10 steps above Chiaia beach, and the tables look across the bay to Corricella. The antipasti are very good, especially the antipasto di terra, a selection of excellent island produce cooked in rich olive oil based sauces. The cappelletti (pasta filled with provolone and eggplant) and stracci cozze e broccoli (strips of pasta with mussels and broccoli) are house specialities.

procida 4

It makes sense to visit Chiaia beach in the morning, because it has the best sun exposure at that time of day and by 4:30pm, the tall cliffs above the beach start blocking out the sun. In the afternoon, head over to Pozzo Vecchio (aka Il Postino Beach), where the sun doesn’t hit most of the beach until 12:30pm. The the beach is good for catching rays as late as 7pm and it is a gorgeous place to enjoy the sunset. Both Chiaia and Pozzo Vecchio beaches have small beach clubs where you can rent chairs and an umbrella from €15 a person, but the free beaches next to the clubs are perfectly nice and the big volcanic sand grains make a pleasant foundation for a thick towel.

Swimmers will prefer the calm waters in the protected bay around Chiaia beach. For me, there is nothing in the world more tranquil than swimming the nearly half mile bay in near solitude early in the morning or after 5pm when the Chiaia beach-goers have packed up and gone home. The water at Pozzo Vecchio is rough and not really ideal for swimming some days. It is worth nothing that the food at the bar is inedible.

girone procida

Another favorite dining spot, this time for dinner, is Girone on Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo in Marina Chiaolella. It’s nice to grab a drink near the port then take the short walk to Girone, a popular place that serves excellent fish. I am partial to the antipasto “sfizioso” with a little bit of land, a little bit of sea, and whole lot of fried stuff. The mussels are fantastic and the spaghetti ai ricci (spaghetti with sea urchin roe) is delicious. If you can stand the idiosyncratic service, you’ll never want to eat anywhere else on the island.

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Culture · Food & Wine · Naples & Campania · Restaurants · Travel

23 Comments:


  • La Panetteria all life long :-)


  • Ah, how I could use a few days in Procida right now!


  • Your travels are uniformly brilliant. Thank you for taking us all with you! That shortbread-ham-cheese thingy looks incredible.


  • I discovered Procida last year and never realized it was the scene for Il Postino. It’s at once charming, romantic and ever so small. You’re lucky to keep returning :)

  • Katie

    @Andrea infatti!!!

    @Frank it is invigorating. do it!

    @Ann it was so incredible. I had a puff pastry filled with the same stuff today. off the charts!

    @Lisa isnt it a gem? once you get out of the port, the pace slows down. what an amazing place.


  • Ahhh….I want to go back….especially for the pizza at Panetteria.


  • Wonderful place, amazing food…
    A special place is the “spiaggia della Chiaia”, which the coastal vegetation reflects his green to the calm sea of the bay… You can taste the Procida’s food just on the beach…
    Also the restourant sent’co at the Marina Grande (the arrival port) offers an unbelievable “Linguine allo Scoglio” (pasta at the rock) with all kind of seafood…

  • Katie

    @jessica tell me about it. why dont we have that place in rome? preferably on via merulana…

    @silvana yes chiaia beach is fabulous. it is one of my favorite places to swim and the water is so calm. i am not a huge fan of sent’co. i tried it a couple of years back and had a really awful meal and havent been back since. maybe it deserves another try?


  • Look fantastic!! We are goiing to Italy over 3 weeks time!! Will stay for 5 days on Procida at end of May 2012. looking foreward to try some of meals!!


  • Molto bella essere Procida. io avere dormito Albergo La Suite spa. bello, bello, vicino Postino lido.


  • I’ll be in Procida in June for the first time and this info is fantastic.I’m really looking forward it, my mouth is watering


  • We were in Port Corricella, and had the most fantastic, freshest mouthwatering seafood at La Locanda del Postino on the waterfront that
    we ever tasted !!! hope we can go back again!!

  • Katie

    procida is spectacular


  • Thank you for the helpful information.
    Can you please give me more details as to where to take the train from Rome to get to procida?

    Would appreciate it!

    Thanks

  • Katie

    you can take the train to anzio, then get the ferry


  • You won’t get very far if you go to Anzio, unless you’re heading for the island of Ponza. You need to take the train from Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale and either go to Calata Porta di Massa (for ferries) or Molo Beverello (for hydrofoils) – these two ports are actually only about 500 yards apart. For a cheaper option that avoids the bustle of Naples port, take the metro from beneath Napoli Centrale to Pozzuoli, walk down the hill to the town’s port (approx. 20mins) and take a ferry from there (or else take the same metro but get off at Montesanto in Naples city centre, transfer 50 yards to the Cumana train for Pozzuoli where you’re let off in front of the port).
    Trains from Rome to Naples vary from €11.20 to €44 – the most convenient cheap regional service leaves Roma Termini at 8.27am and gets into Napoli Centrale at 10.45am. The frequent high speed train only takes 1hr 10mins but cost four times the price (although you can book in advance to get a cheaper deal). A full list of ferry times for Procida can be found here: http://www.procida.net/orari.htm

  • Katie

    you are totally right, nick! i was thinking of ponza and so beat from work i am evidently having literacy issues. thanks for the thorough reply!!


  • procida’s secrets lie behind big wooden doors that hide wonderful limon-trees gardens, where locals can cook a rabbit for you in the typical procidan style, the CONIGLIO ALLA PROCIDANA.
    Nice report. Brava.


  • THANK YOU for talking about Procida! I always tell people to go there and they look at me like I made it up.

    LOVE La Casa sul Mare. When I stayed there back in 2004, they brought us an enormous breakfast to the room’s terrace for a euro. They’ll take you in a boat over to the beach, too.

    There’s a possibly no-name place on the quai below LCSM where I had the best mussels. THE BEST. I wish I could tell you what it was; I remember it being just a door, and I think their only seating was outside at plastic tables. Whatever it was, we ate there three times in two days.


  • We are headed there next month! Can’t wait!


  • Just to let you know. Only part of the Il Postino was shot in Procisa. The beach was the beach of Pollara in Salina, Eolian Islands.


  • I spent a week on that beautyful island last summer. I stayed on a central and very comfortable guest house <a href="http://www.gioia13.it&quot; Gioia 13 Residence


  • […] Procida is famous for its lemons and our hotel even gave us a bag to take home.  Try the sorbetto while you’re there, but in terms of other eateries, check out Katie Parla’s guide to the island. […]

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