Procida had many surprises for me. When we arrived, after I got over my first shock about the crazy traffic, the next surprise was to see so many beautiful hydrangea bushes in the lush mediterranean gardens along the main road. I am a huge fan of these flowers and Procida has them in several different colours.
Procida belongs to the Flegrean islands, located between Naples and the island of Ischia. It’s an area of volcanic activity, with the world-famous Vesuvius volcano dominating the bay. Ischia offers many thermal springs, while Procida is proud of its black sand beaches. Procida was created with the eruption of five volcanoes, all of them submerged and dormant now.
With its rich volcanic soil, Procida, despite its small territory, has many gardens. Some of them are full of mediterranean flowers, others are wilder with lemon trees, but you will also find numerous orchards and vegetable gardens on the island.
You need to walk around the island and go into the smaller streets to be able to peek into these hidden gardens. From the main road you can usually see the front of the palaces, showing the wealth of rich Procidan families. Behind these palaces there are large gardens, and at the back of the gardens the magnificent view towards the Tyrrhenian Sea and over the beach of Chiaia. If you walk along the panoramic road from Olmo square, you can see well these green areas sitting on top of the volcanic rock.
Everybody seems to have a lemon tree in Procida. Our host, Salvatore put a huge box of freshly picked lemons to the reception of the apartment house and offerred them to his guests. We also received several lemons as gift from the ladies at the alimentari shop where we went every day. These lemons are huge, with thick and untreated peel, and inside it’s sweeter than the lemons I had tasted previously. Procidans often make lemon salad with garlic, olive oil, mint and some chili, it’s surprisingly delicious. My daughter’s favourite was the restaurant where we were eating in the middle of a lemon grove. She wanted to go back there all the time.
I loved the oleanders in front of the houses of Marina Grande, adding even more colour to the harbour.
We admired the huge bougainvillea bush at the gate of our apartment house every time we got home. What a nice welcome!
One of my favourite spots on the island was the garden of a wonderful 4-star hotel, with a nice pool, amazing seaview and of course many hydrangea bushes. If you’d like to relax here, I can book for you this hotel as well.
Even the bank has a nice garden here, I took the photos below while waiting for the ATM.
Let’s not forget that although Procida has been mainly famous for fishing, sailing and ship-building, it is an island of farmers as well, who have been proudly producing vegetables and fruits for many centuries.