I have chosen Procida to be the first destination I write about, because it’s been our most recent trip and also our slowest trip ever. L’Isola di Procida has been on my bucket list since 2007, when I spent lot of time on the Amalfi coast and the whole area enchanted me. One day I saw a photo of funny colourful houses on what seemed to be a tiny island, I had never seen this view before. It was before all this social media hype, as far as I remember the photo was on the cover of a guide book. It took me a while to find out the place was Procida, the smallest island in the Bay of Naples. I wanted to see it right away, but every time I was planning to go, the weather got grey and rainy, and for an avid photographer like me, it would have been a complete disaster. I needed sunshine and great lights in a place like this, I wanted to take the same photo, with bright colours and blue sky. So I never went.
In 10 years many things have changed in my life, but my desire to go to Procida never faded. So this spring when I saw cheap flights to Naples for June, I bought 2 tickets right away, for my daughter and myself. I knew it could be a perfect time of the year with great weather and before the busiest holiday months. And it was. Warm weather, but not too hot, hardly any tourists, blue sky and the best lights for 10 days, a photograper’s dream.
So on June 5th we jumped on our flight, in Naples took the Alibus from the airport to Molo Beverello, and just arrived in time for the next hydrofoil to Procida. (The Alibus ticket costs 5 EUR, or you can take a taxi for 20 EUR.) Most boats go to Procida first and then to Ischia island. There is Caremar and SNAV, we just picked whatever came first. We are both prone to seasickness, so took our pills, but the waves were big that day. It only took about 40 minutes and I can tell you, it wasn’t a joy ride, we were very happy to put our feet on land. The windows of the hydrofoil were dirty, we did not see much, so the usual "stare at the horizon" method did not work here. (On the photo below you can see a ferry, that is bigger, slower and you can go outside. The hydrofoil is smaller, faster, and it's not possible to go outside. A hydrofoil ticket costs 15 EUR.)
As I looked around I realized that nobody else cared about the dirty windows. It was late afternoon and the ferry was full of local people commuting to work or school from Procida to Naples, every day. Sounds romantic, but with my seasickness I’d rather commute by car or train. Anyway, all these people didn't really care that they couldn’t enjoy the view that would have been amazing, as they saw it every single day. They were chatting, sleeping or staring at their smartphones.
So, we finally arrived at the Marina Grande in Procida. The late afternoon lights were at their best, houses happily colourful, a harbour full of life, what a great place to arrive at. Do you know this feeling when you arrive in a new place and the very first moment you feel at home and in love with the place? I travel a lot, it doesn't happen too often, but it happenned to me in Procida.
We just had to walk a few steps to find the ticket office and the stop for the local buses. These small buses run around the island, there are 4 different routes in total. Our host told me which bus to take, so it was easy. Finally it was the last section of our long travel day. Sitting on our bus, only a few minutes away from our accommodation, came the first surprise of the island, the insane traffic. We got off at Piazza Olmo, which is a central square on the island and after walking for a few minutes we arrived at our cosy apartment, which would be our home for the next 10 days.
The co-owner, Salvatore gave us a warm welcome, a map and all the info we needed. He is a fantastic guy, I’ll rave about him later. We walked back to Piazza Olmo to pick up some groceries, found a cute little alimentari shop right on the square, where we kept going back for 10 days. Two ladies were running it, I guess mom and daughter and after 2 days greeted us like old friends.
In the evening we took the bus to the other part of the island, to Ciraciello beach, to watch the sunset. There were maybe 2 other people on the beach. Remember, it was June, and still so wonderfully quiet! While I was taking photos of the sunset, my daughter was playing with everything she found in the sand, shells, stones and twigs. We both had a great time.
After the sun disappeared we walked to the cute Chiaiolella harbour, and picked the Crescenzo restaurant, which turned out to be a great choice. After a long travel day I deserved an Aperol Spritz. We just ordered a Margherita pizza, and it was probably the best pizza on the island. The waitress lady was also very nice, joking a lot with us.
From the restaurant we took the small bus again, it dropped us off at Piazza Olmo. For my daughter it didn’t take long to fall asleep. I spent some hours on our huge balcony, enjoying the night view of Procida, the sea and the lights of Ischia island in the background. As I am running my own travel company, doing everything by myself, I work every day even when travelling. But I am passionate about what I do and I love the freedom and flexibility of being a digital nomad. In June of course I had many emails to answer and bookings to make, but what an amazing office I had!