I have been writing a few times about Procida: when the FourItalianFriends spent a week-end there a couple of years ago, for the Easter procession, and a few other times. I am pretty sure it is not because of our articles (:-)), but it seems Procida is becoming a famous place around the world, and the demand for hospitality is growing. In previous articles we mentioned about pictures of the Corricella fishermen port being shown during Apple and Microsoft events, and more and more pictures like that are popping up in ads and travel news in various languages. I have also other facts to confirm this increasing exposure, facts coming from a privileged source: my parents!
Shortly after retiring from business and moving from busy Napoli to the oldest quarter of Procida, my parents decided to become hosts. They own two studio flat, and rather than renting long term they decided to use them for hospitality. <ads mode on> You can find them on AirBnB (https://www.airbnb.it/rooms/7597581 and https://www.airbnb.it/rooms/7596102) or on their web site (www.casa-gianna.it) <ads mode off>. They actually enjoy this activity a lot, as a way to exercise their hospitable nature as well as an opportunity to meet people from around the world. Small things like picking up the guests at the port and introducing them to island on the way home, offering locally grown fresh fruit as welcome, and whatever they feel like doing for their guests are always very much appreciated. It is also a way for them to have fun by showing off their fluent French and improving their English…
It was just amazing the immediate response they got, with the first guest showing up at the door just 2 days after going live on AirBnb; a clear sign of a strong interest for Procida. Since then they have gathered a good insight about visiting people. In addition to that, since their home is close to one of the main sites of the island (St. Michael Abbey), they have information also about daily flows of tourists up there. And here are the facts they inferred from their observations.
First, there is a consistent flow of tourist visiting Procida, specially from Spring to Fall. Winter, specially Christmas, is a bit slow because there is not much to do there, but in all other times of the year there are visitors every day.
Second, many visitors are from abroad: US, Nordic countries, Germany, and specially from France. There are historical ties between Procida and France, but these facts may be unrelated.
Third, there are a few recurring pattern of visits:
A day trip for people spending vacations in the neighbor, more famous island of Ischia
A 2-3 days excursion for people visiting Naples or Rome
A long week-end escape for people from Naples area
A week- long vacation in summer time
Fourth, this flow is growing, mostly due to the beauty and genuineness of the place: in fact the services for tourists are not always the best. One example is the St. Michael Abbey: often they see tourists climbing up there only to find it close, as the visit hours are pretty short and not well advertised. Anyhow nobody complains as a few meters away there is a terrace overlooking the whole Gulf of Naples where it’s impossible not to feel in peace with the world! In the last years there has been anyhow a growing attention to what is offered to visitors; initiatives like ProcidaPortoniAperti (“OpenDoor” – free visits to halls and gardens of old houses), Procida Film Festival, the opening of the Museo dei Misteri (dedicated to the Easer procession floats), the “Festa del Vino” (wine fest) are steps in the right direction. Today there are many ways to discover and enjoy the Island and feel at home there.
The world is constantly changing, rightfully so, and so is Procida: this increasing exposure brings opportunities and challenges. It is time for the island to evolve towards more advanced hospitality standards, to build on what it was gifted by nature and history. The challenge is to do it fast, and to preserve its genuineness while doing so. Will it work out? Who knows… but like craft beer it is fun to check its taste during the maturation process 🙂