In this regard, he did not disappoint. The window of our modest Airbnb was decorated with a typewriter because it was supposedly where Elsa Morante, the great Italian author, wrote her 1957 novel, “The Island of Arturo”.
“The Procidans are gruff, taciturn,” Morante observed, adding, “The arrival of a stranger does not arouse curiosity, but rather distrust. If he asks questions, he is reluctantly answered because the people of my island don’t like their privacy being spied on.
All I saw through the bedroom window was a brood of hens and an endlessly noisy rooster perched on the tall branches of an orange tree. A path through the garden’s lemon orchards led to a dilapidated prospect, its plaster of withered and fallen painted vines, which overlooked the dark beaches of Chiaia. To get there, we took narrow lanes, descending winding metal stairs or old concrete stairs as steep and straight as locks.
We took an affordable boat ride around the island, stopping for a dip in the cold, clear sea. To be fair, it was a lot less spectacular than a similar walk around Capri. There was no Blue Grotto. The Faraglioni of Procida are only pebbles compared to the majestic rocks of Capri. The skipper of Capri had pointed out the cliff above which the Emperor Tiberius lived, and the Casa Malaparte, a favorite of fashion houses, who “don’t have paintings because the windows are the paintings,” he said. On the other hand, our skipper in Procida shook his head in front of a concrete block with two tiny windows at the top of a small climb in the Mediterranean scrub. “A squatter’s house, built overnight,” he says. “A parody.”
At the fishing village of Corricella we had fresh lemon and orange juice from La Locanda del Postino bar, where the movie was shot. The mounds of white and brown fishnets and the persistent, leathery old men looked like props for another movie. But the two fishermen who bicker over leaving a bucket on their boat do not act.
“People are going to go crazy,” the chef said in Caracalé when he finally inspected their catch of cod.
The food throughout the island – from cream-filled pastries in the form of beef tongues for breakfast to nespolino nightcaps made from medlar seeds – is memorable and, compared to Capri, much more affordable.