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Panorama January 18, 2013

Aragonese Castle looms large across the bay of Bacoli. (Photos by Laura Byrd)

Winter Magic in Monte di Procida By Laura Byrd

The mozzarella cheese on my pie is still bubbling. Behind us, a huge pizza oven is heating the entire room – no easy feat in mid-January in a space enclosed by glass windows. Gazing past our table, I take in the view far below. Rick Steves won’t come here. Nobody comes here in the winter, and in the summer it takes far more patience and time than the average tourist will commit. We are alone in a pizzeria overlooking a popular waterfront destination, normally bustling with activity. Today, it is clear and quiet. Perfectly, beautifully, quiet. The waterfront southwest of Naples is the stepchild of the Amalfi Coast to tourists – relatively unexplored by out-of-country visitors but revered by locals. Those lucky enough to be here right now – on a sunny, clear day in the dead of winter – can soak up the big views uncluttered by buzzing scooters, lumbering tour buses or car loads of families headed for the beach. The twisting, winding road from the Tangenziale to this perch high atop Via Panoramica in Monte de Procida, morphs from two busy roundabouts and a ghastly long, dark tunnel laden with obtrusive speed bumps to a narrow waterfront

View from Via Panoramica of Cape Miseno, a popular beach destination in the summer.

boulevard at sea level. The road curls along the marina with views of the harbor boat slips and Aragonese Castle of Baia on a promontory in the distance. Built on the edge of two volcanic caldrons in 1495, the castle was a military fortress occupied throughout the centuries by different warring factions. Used as a military prison in World War II, it currently houses the Archaeological Museum of the Phlegraean Fields. Eventually the road narrows and gains elevation, climbing above the ocean, past the Aragonese Castle on Via Castello, a road that curls in half-circle around the promontory, suddenly offering a small view point harrowingly located

Streets of Italy Join columnist Laura Byrd as she explores things to do in the Naples Laura Byrd area and easy daytrips to places throughout Italy.

on a blind corner. For those deft enough to cross the road, two arches frame hypnotic views of the bay of Baia below. From the scenic overlook on Via Castello, the road descends again through the tiny shops and the village atmosphere of Bacoli.

Heidi and Tucker Axum join Scott Coffin for a scenic lunch at Chalet Sunrise in Monte di Procida.


Jan. 18, 2013 Panorama