Travel: Procida, the Capital of Italian Culture

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Procida is a tiny spot of land in the Bay of Naples, might be best known as the island between Ischia and Capri. But in late January, it was named Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2022, beating nine other candidates including Rome, and becoming the 1st island to ever be granted the title.

Under 2sqms in total, the island has flown under the tourist radar except in July and August, when many Neapolitans come here for their summer vacations, overshadowed by its better-known locations. This despite its big-screen moments—Procida has served as the set of Il Postino and that it features the same pastel houses, cafes-lined marinas, and narrow streets as its bigger counterparts, but also historic sites, wild nature, and near-empty beaches.

The Capital of Culture announcement was marked by church bells and celebrations among its 10,500 inhabitants. “It was a moment of real pride for all of us,” says mayor Raimondo Ambrosino. “But it also felt like a recognition that’s been a long time coming.”

The proposal that earned the island the award and EUR1-M includes 44 projects spanning art, urban regeneration, environmental sustainability and more, involving 240 artists and 40 original works.

“We wanted to demonstrate that Italy’s cultural wealth isn’t just found in its larger cities, but also in those places that are considered minor, even marginal: our islands and borghi,” says Agostino Riitano, the project manager behind Procida’s candidacy.

Procida lies 14 miles off the coast of Naples. There are daily ferries and hydrofoils leaving from 2 of the city’s piers, Molo Beverello and Porta di Massa, as well as from Pozzuoli, just north of Naples. Depending on the ride you will get to the island in 40 mins to 1 hr.

Via Roma is Procida’s main street and a good spot for lunch especially at La Medusa, which has been around since Y 1954. Before you move on, stop for an espresso at Bar Roma and make sure to order lingua di suocera, Procida’s traditional puff pastry filled with lemon custard. Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà, an 18th-Century church with an iconic baroque belfry, and the lemon-yellow church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built in Y 1679, are also nearby and worth your visit.

Among Procida’s most scenic beaches are Pozzo Vecchio, whose black sands were made famous in Il Postino; spiaggia Chiaia, to the East, which overlooks Ischia and features clear, shallow waters and a backdrop of rocky cliffs, and Ciraccio. the longest and most secluded. Further down, the spiaggia della Chiaiolella is another gem, though slightly more frequented, especially in the late afternoon, when its stabilimenti, as beach clubs with rows of sunbeds and umbrellas start rolling out aperitivo.

The San Michele, in Corricella, has 12 tastefully decorated rooms done in earthy tones and minimalist design. A similar aesthetic is found in its slightly bigger sister property La Suite, a stylish accommodation near Ciraccio that comes with a pool, a garden, and striking views.

In Chiaiolella, the three-star Hotel Ristorante Crescenzo is a popular choice not just for its simple, brightly colored rooms but its pizzeria, one of the most famous in Procida. La Vigna, in a beautifully restored farmstead within a vineyard that overlooks the Bay of Naples, delivers charm and tranquility.

Enjoy your travels, the chaos is over, Keep the Faith!