Cross your fingers and hope you’re the only person reading this. Because the island of Procida is still the best-kept secret in the Bay of Naples. And if you want to experience the stunning beauty and genuine charm of seaside Italy without the crowds, you’ll want to keep it that way.
Small, sweet and pristine
Procida is tucked away in the Bay of Naples just off the Amalfi coast between the mainland of Italy and the popular destination island of Ischia. It’s only a short ferry ride from Naples to Procida, and here you’ll find all the heart-stopping beauty of the Amalfi region with none of the tour groups.
As you step off the ferry at Marina Grande, take a deep breath. That’s the fragrance of lush lemon and orange groves mixed with the salty sea air. Then take a good look around you. Colorful pastel buildings tumble down to the water’s edge. Local fishermen are sitting in the sun, mending their nets.
The restaurants here are modest, with menus featuring the fresh catches of the day. There are no designer clothing stores, and no one will pressure you to take any kind of tour. In fact, you’ll want to bring your Italian dictionary here — you won’t hear much English unless you’re talking to yourself.
Procida is the smallest island in the Bay of Naples. You can walk the whole place in a day, if you want. But relax, and take some time to discover the soulful ambience of this little hidden gem.
What to do on the island
Naturally there are some lovely dark sand beaches here. The one locals recommend most is in Chiaiolella. Take a stroll through the picturesque village of Marina Corricella, where curious locals will wave at you from arched second-story windows.
Climb to the highest spot on the island to visit the medieval walled town of Terra Murata and the crumbling ruins of its old fort. Soak up the spectacular views at the top, and then head to the Abbazia di San Michele Arcangelo. Built as an abbey for Benedictine monks in the 11th century, it now houses a small museum and atmospheric catacombs that lead to a small hidden chapel.
You can easily hire a boat just about anywhere on the island. Make sure you do — and spend time exploring the grottoes, volcanic craters and coves you can only see from the water. You’ll also find the little local buses extra-convenient for traveling around the island.
Intimate and evocative
People who have been to Procida recall it with words like “romantic,” “unspoiled,” and “charming.” And it’s not just tourists who feel that way — the island has been the setting for several movies over the years, including the Italian classic Il Postino and more recently, The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Procida is just 40 miles away from the teeming tourist destination of Capri — but its charm, beauty, and simplicity make it seem like another world. Even at the height of the summer season, Procida is a natural, magical place and a true joy to visit.