Arturo’s island is the title of a famous novel by Elsa Morante about Procida, a small island close to Naples.
Procida is the less popular of the Campania islands: Capri with its famous “piazzetta” and its streets full of rich shops, Ischia with its thermal baths and its expensive spa, and then Procida , the smallest one, still wild and close to nature.
A volcanic island, Procida looks like a small piece of Naples, detached by this and fallen in the sea. Also its history is very similar to the Neapolitan one: initially colonized by the Greeks and then by the Romans, it has continued to be occupied by many different kingdoms. It underwent the feudal rule of Federico II, became spoil of Carlo V and was plundered by Saraceni pirates.
It is very easy to get to Procida, you can take a ship or a hydrofoil from Naples or from Pozzuoli, and in just an hour or less you get to the beautiful harbor of Marina Grande. The first thing you see, together with the many coloured little houses on the sea front, is a castellated pink palace, that was first a royal residence and then a convent. Following via Roma you can reach three different and very beautiful places.
If you want to visit the top of the island, you have to go to Terra Murata. There are many churches, but the most beautiful is S.Michele abbey, with its gold panelled roof , so called in honor of the patron saint of the island. Still walking you can see, the old borbonic castle that has been a prison for a long time. Passing the Castle you get to a terrace from where you can see, Ischia, Capri and the entire gulf of Naples.
Going down from Terra Murata, you can find the wonderful seaside village the ” Corricella”. The Corricella is the best example of Procidan architecture, with colorful buildings leaning one against the other, connected by stairs and arches. Legend has it that the houses must be of different colors, in order to be recognized by the sailors coming back home. Corricella is also famous because here the movie ” il Postino” with Massimo Troisi was shot.
On the opposite side of the island there is the ” Chiaiolella”, a small harbor where you can swim looking at Ischia in front of you, and Vivara on the right side.
Vivara is a small island connected to Procida by a bridge. Right now Vivara is a nature reserve for many species of animals and plants. You can visit it with an organized tour.
Then last but not least is the food. Procida has many tipical dishes and many restaurants where you can taste them. There are many restaurants where you can eat “il coniglio alla cacciatora”, meat of rabbit with tomato and spices. All around the island you can eat ” la lingua di bue”, a dessert made with cream of eggs and sugar. Another must-try dish is ” la pasta alla pescatora” with anchovies and green peppers.
Finally, going to Procida is cheaper than Ischia or Capri, and the island is perfect for families, couples, singles and guys.
So, what are you waiting for?