The Lures of Praiano
“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
For travelers who have gone globetrotting in all the nooks and corners of this planet, Praiano is a destination that can they go home to. This tiny coastal village’s main draw is the relaxed atmosphere that it offers its guests. The solitude and relaxation, and the stunning views are pluses that made this village in the Costiera Amalfitana a prized jewel and a prestigious resort location of the modern era. You know you have arrived when you see a bloom of white houses cascading down the steep slopes of the Praiano hills. As you bask in its languorous air, live its history and culture, and taste its simple but fresh cuisine, you will come to understand what it is a to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter.
The Sight Towers and Churches That Watch Over Praiano
One look and you will know there is rich history and culture in this pearl of the Amalfi Coast.
- Torre a Mare (Tower in the Seas) built in the medieval times is like a hovering mom that watches over its child from the pirates and attackers that used to haunt Praiano. The promontory where the tower proudly sits placed it in a vantage position to get a view of the emerald-green sea below. Today it is better known as a museum for the artworks of local artist Paolo Sandulli at Via Terramare.
- Torre di Grado is another sighting tower built to defend the Tyrrhenian coastline from 1503 to 1688 from the Saracens. To this day, this brave memorabilia of the past continues to provide an authentic experience to its visitors. It has all the conveniences that is perfect for large groups of vacationers who appreciate uniqueness, value, and authenticity. How can it be not perfect when it is located right there by the sea, it is privates, spacious, comfortable, can be accessed by boats, with a fantastic view, and most of all a real piece of history
- Church of San Gennaro is in principle located in Vettica Maggiore that you can reach by strolling along the precipitous streets. It is remarkable with its floor of the famed 18th-century majolica. It is crowned by a glorious cupola entirely roofed with polychrome tiles and an impressive oceanic view from the churchyard.
- Other Churches of Praiano. There are other churches here such as Saint Luke, the Evangelist Cathedral that was built in 1588 and then rebuilt in Baroque style in 1722. There is the Church and Convent of Santa Maria a Castro that sits at 365 meters elevation on a hill outside Praiano. Other churches in the area include the Chapel of St. Luca and St. Mary
Enjoy the Waters from Sunrise to Sunset and Beyond
A fishing village that it is, Praiano is noted for its clean waters and its seascapes. Certainly, no visitor would want to come home without taking a dip or a dive in its coastal waters. There are a number of spots you can let go off your clothes too feel the waters close to your skin.
• Gavitella Beach is the only beach here that is literally kissed by the sun before it goes down. If you decide to see Terre di Grado, make it a two-pronged excursion. Go for a swim afterwards near the foot of the tower in the Gavitella Beach. Close to the beach is “Fontana dell’Altare,” a natural swimming pool built into a stunning grotto. You can go to this beach by taking a boat from Marina di Praia. The alternative is by walking through Piazza San Gennaro and the street on the right side of the church.
• One Fire Beach at Cala della Gavitella is a great destination for people looking for a sunny beach until sunset. To get here you have to take 400 steps down from Piazza San Gennaro. Once you get there, your effort will be rewarded with an exquisite view of Positano and Capri, iridescent turquoise water, and neat seashore ready to get you entertained. There you can enjoy basking in the sun under one of its big parasols, drinking a bottle of ice-cold beer at the bar, or dining in its restaurant.
• Marina di Praia is the main and the most popular beach around here. It is a fantastic fjord bay located between two rock walls at the end of the Praia Valley. It is guarded by Torre a Mare and made more spectacular by the lovely exotic blooms surrounding the cliffs. The place is teeming with tourist activities and amenities – umbrella rentals, boat excursions, diving outfitters, restaurants, and bar.
• Dance the night away at L’Africana. This is a “legendary” disco off SS 163 in Vettica Maggiore that serves to keep African memorabilia and artifacts that is located at a suspended underground grotto on the sea. The nightclub offers a unique “savage mystery” and serves as venue for a diverse kind of entertainments– ethnic, musical, cabaret, and ballet. This place is rumored to be the mythical hangout during the anni ruggenti of the 1960s as a destination for the rich and famous.
The old-world charm of this place has not been completely lost or forgotten. To this day, visitors are still captivated by the simplicity and unpretentiousness of the local cuisine that basically uses the freshest catch of the day and the local crops. The village is strewn with profusion of restaurants and coffee bars where local delicacies, a cup of cappuccino or a glass of wine
Aside from fishing, lands around are productively used to varied crops such as tomatoes, potatoes, grapes, legumes, citruses, corn and barley. It is common around here for homes and restaurants to maintain gardens as their source of ingredients. The market is a haven for the freshest ingredients locals, restaurants, and even tourists buy if they want to do their own cooking.
Those who are looking for an authentic and exotic dining experience can go to Marina di Praia where the daily catch from the sea are sold and prepared by the fishermen themselves to interested visitors who are in search of a taste of the real beach life. A nice place to dine on edge of the beach is at the Tratorria da Armandino. This is place is celebrated for its finest
Around the Old Town, there are several dining places you can go to when you want things other than seafood – La Brace, Trattoria San Gennaro, Trattoria “da Armandino,” Bar del Sole, and a
• La Brace. If you want the authentic taste of South Italy’s Cuisine, head off to La Brace. You can’t go wrong here where the price is reasonable for an incredible bite of a delicious fare in a homey ambiance. The place is famous for its traditional Italian dishes such as pizza, spaghetti, and of course, seafood and pasta with fresh shrimps. In particular, try their Raviolli con spinache and ricotta, fresh pasta with melanzana, and rucola and parmiggiano. Cap the meal with an unforgettable fresh homemade pastries and sweets like the the pasta frolla and lemon cream profiterol.
• Trattoria San Gennaro. This is a cozy place that you can hang out when you have the time to spare with its Amalfina paintings and decors. The food is something you must share for their generous servings and delectable taste. The recommended fares here include the signature scialatelli allo scoglio, Antipasto di Mare, and grigliata de pesce. The best thing is when you leave room for some sorbetto al limone and torta di nonna and wash all goodness
• Bar del Sole. If you are looking for a nice place anytime during the day, this is it. It is undoubtedly the most popular café or bar in town that serves breakfasts, lunch, dinner, and anything in-between including coffee, afternoon drinks and aperitivo.
Apart from L’Africana, nightlife around here means hanging around in the beaches until and after sunset or dining and drinking in bars and restaurants.
Praiano is a self-effacing and quaint village shadowed by its more affluent neighbors in the Amalfi Coast. Yet, it is undoubtedly as rich in terms of history and culture. Coming here, you have to be ready to embrace a simpler and unpretentious life, the very reason why it is special.