Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Weekend in Procida

This past weekend was spent on the Island of Procida, the smallest island off the coast of Naples. It was incredible!! Procida is one of those places that attracts some tourism, but with most of the swarms of visitors going to Capri and Ischia, Procida is left mostly to the locals and a handful of visitors. Our time was spent walking (a lot of walking!), eating, swimming, and relaxing.

We were invited by Brian's advisor, Claudio, to join him and his group of language immersion students for the weekend. It was a two-hour train ride down to Naples, where we met Laura, a Neopolitan friend from SB, who treated us to a caffè and sfogliatella, a neopolitan specialty. Then we made our way down to the port to catch a 40 minute ferry to the island. While on the train, we made up a story for Matteo that we were taking our Thomas train to the Island of Sodor (he's a big fan of Thomas the Tank Engine so all the trains are lots of fun for him!), so he was excited about the boat, but, of course, fell asleep as soon as we sat down.

Architecture unique to Procida
Upon arrival, we were met by Domenico, the owner of the residence we were staying in, who shuttled us up the hill, through impossibly small ("can we fit?!?") streets and passageways, to this beautiful, quiet house surrounded by vegetable gardens and lemon groves. The house was converted to private residences, each with private outdoor seating areas. As soon as we stepped out of the van I, literally, felt my whole body relax and melt into the hot sun. I had no expectations of what to expect in Procida, but this far exceeded anything I could have imagined!

On our hike... Matteo was such a trooper!
We dropped off our bags and then headed down towards one of three harbors on the island. Along the way we met Claudio, who pulled up next to us on his vespa... very Italian! He led us towards the beach to a little restaurant that sat right on the water. All of the beach-front restaurants have private beach access right in front of their establishment, complete with lounge chairs and umbrellas. While we waited for our lunch to arrive, Matteo and I walked down to the water to get our feet wet. The water felt amazing, perfect Mediterranean temperature and so refreshing as it was a balmy 90+ degrees. Matteo is a water baby, and had the best time just walking up and down the shore, jumping over the waves and getting wet.

View from the castello, where the students take their classes
Our lunch, of course, was exceptional. So simple, but the freshest seafood one could have. We ate alici marinate (marinated anchovies, my favorite!), and a mixed seafood antipasti with octopus, mussels, shrimp and squid dressed in a simple parsley/lemon vinaigrette. We finished with a trio of vegetables (eggplant, peppers, squash) cooked in olive oil. I could eat that meal everyday.

Walking bridge connecting Procida proper to the "wilderness" island
After our late lunch, we headed to the walking tour Claudio had organized of a small, protected wilderness island, now only connected to the main island by a walking bridge. It was a beautiful two-hour hike, but with the heat, Matteo on my back, and just my simple sandals, I was wiped out afterwards! But, no time to rest... it was back to the residence to get ready for the annual street food festival that celebrates the welcoming of summer on the island!

Playing and making friends at the festival

Daddy and tay-tay checking out the views
The festival was such a great opportunity to mingle with the Procidans and it made us realize just how small of a community this was; everybody knows everybody, the old fisherman chatting with the young teenagers, parents talking while their little ones play. Matteo made friends in the playground and had a fun time going down the slide with the other kids. We tried our first alici fritti (friend anchovies), and while they were tasty, covered in salt and lemon, I still prefer my marinated, tangy anchovies anyday ;) By the time we made it back to our bed, it was midnight and we were spent!

morning after the festival... this picture cracks me up!

We had to reward him with lemon sorbeto... it was hot!
The next day consisted of more island excursions with Claudio's group of students, a midday nap, then some swim time! We found a (free) beach for us to swim and enjoy the setting sun... yes, swimming in the beach at 7:30 in the evening. Then a short walk down the beach to the harbor for dinner (pizza this time), gelato, then Matteo and I headed off back home, while Brian hung out with Claudio to mingle, drink, eat, and drink some more.

Picturesque harbor  

Breakfast on the rooftop
We woke Sunday morning and walked to the residence where the school group was staying to enjoy breakfast on the roof... breathtaking! We had a 360° view from the top where we could see all the sights and attractions of the Island. After breakfast we made our way to the beach for some ore swim time before we had to catch our boat back to naples... but not before mama bought a few souvenirs to remember our trip :)

First time buried in the sand

All in all, it was an amazing weekend. I had no idea what to expect, but was smitten with the beauty, peace, and hospitality that was shown to us.

Our boat ride back to Naples

Ci vediamo, Procida! Ciao, ciao!


  1. this is dreamy!
    is the kid carrier ok?

    1. the boba air is GREAT! thank you for the rec! it folds up so small that i can throw it in my purse and we always have a backup plan when matteo gets too tired to walk :)

  2. Chucho, what a fabulous post, your pictures are amazing! I am super jelly : ) Your little family is beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us, I can taste all the food you described! Keep the posts coming I check your site constantly for updates and think of you often. Tell Bry i said Hello.
    Ciao Bella

    1. unominame!! thank you for the blog love! we miiiiissssss youuuuuu! thanks for following along. i'll do my best to keep posting :) xoxo bry says, "ciao!"