This small but rather beautiful tiny island off the Golf of Naples has won Italy’s Cultural Capital, the first island to win the title since the awards was established in 2014.
Procida’s victory was announced on Monday January 18 by Italian Minister for Culture Dario Franceschini, who congratulated Procida by saying that “it will accompany Italy in the year of its rebirth.”
“The cultural project presents elements of attractiveness of an excellent level. The motivation speaks for itself,” Franceschini said.
Its enchanting colourful houses have inspired many cultural masterpieces from ancient literary giants such as Virgil to directors like Michael Radford and Anthony Minghella who used Procida as a backdrop in their respective films Il Postino and The Talented Mr Ripley.
A little treasure box waiting to be found, Procida is less well-known compared to its big sister Ischia and the opulent Capri which overshadows them both. But Procida can more than enough hold her own against the two. Here you’ll find Portofino’s doppelgänger only with less tourists. Pretty fishing villages, cute houses splattered in pastoral colours stacked on top of one another like Jenga, labyrinths of small streets to get lost in and waterfront trattorias which serve the very best fish dominate the menu. But unlike Portofino, the whole island is only 2 square miles which means you can explore it on foot. The island’s glory days are long overdue, but it will be worth the wait.
“Long live Procida”- Dario Franceschini
What to see/ do:
Marina di Corricella
The view over Marina di Corricella is worth a visit alone to Procida. From the road up to the castle is a sweeping, romantic vista across a glistening bay with fishing boats bobbing in the harbour, the ice-cream colours of the 17th-century fishermen’s houses and the lemon sherbet-coloured Santa Maria delle Grazie Incoronata church.
For some morning sun head to Chiaia beach then in the afternoon, head to Pozzo Vecchio to catch the sunset. Pozzo is also known as Il Postino Beach in honour of the beloved Italian film which was filmed on Procida. Both Chiaia and Pozzo Vecchio beaches have small beach clubs along with a public beach area.
The best way to see and experience the island is by boat. Sunbath on deck with lunch and enjoy afternoon swims, exploring the pockets of caves dotted around.
Abbazia di San Michele Arcangelo
Built in the 11th century and remodelled between the 17th and 19th centuries, this one-time Benedictine abbey houses a small museum, the church also has with a spectacular coffered ceiling and an ancient Greek alabaster basin converted into a font.
Where to eat:
Head to Ristorante Girone in Marina Chiaolella for spaghetti ai ricci, the island’s speciality