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Procida is the smallest island in the Bay of Naples, in southern Italy, situated halfway between the Italian mainland and the island of Ischia. Originally formed by the eruption of four volcanoes, its craggy coastline boasts six beaches and attractive port towns.
A pastel-coloured gem, this beautiful island is filled with archaeological attractions and Greek-style architecture. Around 10,000 residents call this four-square-kilometre island home, so it’s just as lively as the neighbouring tourist hotspots, but exudes a more authentic charm and makes an excellent day trip given its small size. Best of all, opposed to Capri’s pricey cafes, on Procida, you’ll find humble narrow streets, colourful waterfronts with fishermen sowing nets and traditional portside trattorias.
Built into the cliffs of Terra Murata, above the port where the ferries disembark, stands the Abbey of Saint Michael. Although decaying, this charismatic and atmospheric structure is a must see on your trip to Procida, with guided tours offering the chance to walk through its skull-decorated chapel and library containing works from the mid-1500s.
Adorning the long natural bay of Corricella is the most picturesque set of buildings on the island. Backing onto a cliff, the style of architecture is similar to that found on the famed Amalfi Coast, offering the perfect setting for a relaxed lunch with turquoise waters lapping against pretty fishing boats. Simple cooking is a staple of Procida; local favourites include lemon salad infused with chili oil, spaghetti with sea urchin, and stewed rabbit.
In terms of beaches, within walking distance from the main port is a popular spot, but past Corricella, on the east coast, lies a finer stretch of sand which can be reached down a long flight of steps. The island’s best beach, however, can be found in the town of Chiaiolella, on the southwest corner, offering superb views of Vivara and Ischia in the distance.
Sandwiched between the island of Ischia, to the west, and Naples, to the east, ferries regularly sail to Procida from both, with multiple companies providing fast and reliable routes. Hopping over from Ischia can take as little as twenty minutes, depending on the port of departure, while some routes from Naples can take an hour, offering one of the most scenic ferry journeys in southern Italy.