Procida is a fishing village dotted with colorful houses and surrounded by the intense blue of the sea. The island is lively, authentic and smells of myrtle and salt: it is perfect for experiencing the busy life of southern Italy without the excesses of the big city. It will be easy to fall in love with its winding streets that suddenly open onto the sea, its slow and always cheerful rhythm, its dark sandy beaches caressed by the wind. Every day you can discover a different corner that you missed the day before, and always taste something delicious: for example, we love spaghetti with sea urchins or lemon and mint salad!
Where is the island of Procida located?
Procida is a small island in Southern Italy that, when viewed from above, looks a bit like a cat lying on the sea, with its tail (the island of Vivara) towards Ischia and its gaze turned to the Gulf of Naples. It is part of the archipelago of the Flegrean islands (Ischia, Procida, Vivara and Nisida) and among these it is the closest to the mainland, being right in front of the “Monte di Procida”.
Procida: between history and mythology.
There are numerous myths related to the island of Procida; one of the many is the one concerning the origin of its name.
Among the most suggestive hypotheses is the one that derives the name Procida from the Greek “prochetai” which means “lying”; in fact, if you look carefully at the morphology of the island, you realize that it seems to be lying down and lying down in the sea. Still others derive the name from that of a nurse of Aeneas named Procida, who would have been buried here. Greek mythology instead hands down the legend of the giant Mimante, son of Uranus, personification of the sky, and of Gaea, the primordial Goddess, personification of the earth. According to Apollodorus of Athens in his Gigantomachy, he was killed by Hephaestus during the war against the Olympians, and the island of Procida is said to lie on top of Mimante’s body.
During the early Middle Ages, the island was frequently besieged by Saracen pirates. Among the most devastating raids are those of the Muslim pirates led by Barbarossa. One of these raids gives life to the legend of St. Michael the Archangel, who later became the patron saint of the island, to whom the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo above Terra Murata, built around the year 1000, is dedicated. It is said that during a Saracen raid it was the Archangel Michael who defended the island, appearing in the sky with his sword of fire and causing a strong lightning storm that forced the invaders to flee. Even today, the oldest fishermen of the island tell of seeing the chains and anchors thrown away by the Saracens when they flee in the seabed.
The films and books set in Procida
Procida has entered in the imagination of many people also thanks to films and books.
Some have seen Procida for the first time on a screen: the famous film by Massimo Troisi, Il Postino, inspired by the novel by Antonio Skàrmeta, was shot on the island; but also the Talent of Mr. Ripley, an American drama film of 1999 that boasts an exceptional cast. They are both set in Procida, recognizable by the classic views of the sea, the beaches surrounded by rocks and the narrow streets.
In addition to the very famous book by Elsa Morante, L’Isola di Arturo, another famous writing is linked to the life and traditions of the island, namely Graziella by Alphonse de Lamartine.
The writer traveled to Italy and to the islands of the Gulf of Naples and was enchanted by the beauty of Procida; his novel is in fact set here and tells of a troubled love story between the young Graziella and the novel’s protagonist. The figure of Graziella has become a true myth for the inhabitants, and the very image of the typical beauty of Procida. Every summer, during the Sea Festival, Procida elects its Graziella: the most beautiful girl, adorned and dressed in the typical costume of the island.
How to get there?
If you want to visit this fairytale island, rich in traditions and postcard landscapes, we will explain in detail how to get there.
You can only reach Procida by sea from Pozzuoli, Naples or Ischia.
- From Pozzuoli you can embark with Medmar, Gestour or Caremar. The duration of the journey can vary from 20 to 40 minutes.
- In Naples there are two ports: Porta Calata di Massa and Molo Beverello. Caremar ferries depart from Calata di Massa, slower but cheaper: you will arrive in Procida in about an hour. The Caremar and Snav hydrofoils leave from Beverello, it takes about 40 minutes but they are a little more expensive.
- From Ischia you can reach Procida in 20 minutes by hydrofoil or 30 minutes by ferry. Here too there are 2 starting points: Casamicciola or Ischia Porto. The shipping companies are Caremar, Snav and Medmar.
If you travel by plane
The closest airport is Naples Capodichino. From here it is possible to reach the two ports of Naples, Molo Beverello or Calata di Massa, by taxi (around 20€) or by bus that connects the airport with the city center (Alibus). The journey time from the airport to the port is about 35 minutes. Buses depart every 15 minutes, tickets cost € 5 and can be purchased online or directly on board.
If you travel by car
During the summer it is not possible to reach the island by car: you can leave it in one of the numerous guarded car parks in Naples or Pozzuoli, preferably near the pier to be able to embark quickly towards Procida. Some advices? Parking Beverello in Naples, or Marser parking in Pozzuoli.
If you travel by train
From the Napoli centrale railway station, it is possible to reach the port of Molo Beverello by subway, Line 1, Municipio exit: the port is right in front of the subway. For Calata Porta di Massa you can take the same line but get off at the University and reach the port in a few minutes on foot.
If you are already in Ischia
From Ischia you can reach Procida by ferry (30 minutes) or by hydrofoil (20 minutes) starting from Casamicciola or Ischia Porto.
Don’t settle for a hit and run! Procida even if small should be explored slowly and lived for at least a few days. We are sure you will fall in love with it!