is a quaint and colourful island with lots of character. The narrow,
winding walled streets of the town cover the expanse of the island
and are quietly surrounded by the coastline, which is cloaked in
volcanic black sand. The island is very small and can easily be
walked around in three or four hours, rendering the bus service
pointless if it weren’t for the sheer entertainment factor
of watching the adventurous drivers squeeze their long buses through
the tightest of corners! If the bus is too much of a white-knuckle
ride for you with all the cobbled streets and tight corners, then
the rackety rickshaws (or ‘micro taxi’s' as the drivers
proudly advertise) are a fun alternative.
Procida is a unique island with crumbling beauty
and it is clear to see why the faded colour washed houses lined
on every street were chosen as a location for 'The Talented Mr Ripley'
film. The interior streets, which are formed by high walls, either
side reassert the secret nature of this island; everything is hidden
from sight behind the high walls, adding to the beauty and mystery
of Procida. On Monday evenings a stroll down Via VI Novembre is
especially memorable as the sound of the local gospel choir rehearsing
in the school drifts over the streets.
Although usually a sleepy island, in the summer
the beaches of Procida are filled with Italian families and couples,
although despite its popularity Procida remains an authentically
Italian isle with comparatively few foreign tourists. There are
a few hotels on the island, but the most popular accommodation are
the campsites which have good facilities and lots of mosquitoes!
The unpretentious port town is a picture of unconventional
beauty with gently rocking battered fishing boats; sun bleached
pastel coloured houses, laundry lines fluttering in the breeze and
enchanting winding streets. The shopping here is limited but the
few shops there are are an eclectic and interesting mix. Worth a
mention are the hardware stores which compensate for the lack of
shops by squeezing four into one — in these Aladdin's cave
style shops you can buy anything from collectors items to household
dusters! There are quite a few good seafood restaurants and pizzerias
by the port, however if you do have a kitchen and like culinary
experimentation than the fish markets offer a wide variety of cheap
fish and sea creatures to play with. Procida also homes a couple
charming bakeries, but they can be quite hard to find — following
the smell of fresh bread is not always the best method of navigation
through a maze of streets! Although the warm pastry reward of finding
them is delicious and I recommend the bizarre sausage and chips
foccacia bread, surprisingly good!
If you are an avid bird watcher (or just fancy
an afternoon out) the nature reserve on the north western tip of
the island, which is only accessible by Foot Bridge, is worth a
wander. There are many things to visit on the island with some beautiful
churches and piazzas; however the best way to spend your time is
to while it away getting lost in the labyrinth that is Procida!