Praiano is a tiny fishing village on the Amalfi Coast about 20 minutes by car or 10 minutes by water taxi from Positano and it couldn’t be more different from its glamorous neighbour. It is renowned for its natural beauty and charm, so if you like to be a little bit off-the-beaten track and enjoy a more laid-back vibe and authentic Italian atmosphere, then this is the place to be.
Praiano is characterized by narrow streets that wind their way down to the sea beside terraced gardens and simple whitewashed houses. Ca’Pa is a classic example of a traditional fisherman’s house; it is now a gorgeous private villa with six rooms and a landscaped garden that leads down to the sea. Praiano is situated on a natural promontory guarded by the imposing Torre a Mare that has sat on a rocky outcrop for centuries looking out to sea protecting the village and its natural harbour. In the pretty main square is the cathedral of San Gennaro with its square bell tower and classic dome decorated with hand-painted majolica tiles. The cathedral and square become the focus for different festivals and saint days throughout the year; and at the end of July is the spectacular Luminaria di San Domenico (www.luminariadisandomenico.it). During this festival the square and the houses of the village are filled with the light from thousands of candles and torches.
High above the village is the simple Convent of San Domenico, there is a little grassy terrace here where one can rest after the climb and enjoy the beautiful views over Praiano and the coast. Down at sea level is the sundrenched beach Spiaggia Gavitella, with a great restaurant and bar that can only be reached by water or on foot. The village has a privileged position on the coast with panoramic views that extend from the bay of Positano and the islets of Li Galli to Punta Campanella and the island of Capri. Watching the sunset here is an event in itself and it is a magical way start to an evening. The sun slowly descends over the sea and behind the mountains illuminating Capri, the Sorrento Peninsula and Punta Campanella and bathing them in the most incredible purples, golds and reds. Enjoy this spectacle from the balcony of your room, or the terrace of a local bar or restaurant and at least once hop in a water taxi so you are on the sea speeding your way to your favourite bar or restaurant as the sun finally disappears behind the mountains.
In fact wherever you stay on the Amalfi Coast getting out onto the water is a must. There is nothing quite like seeing the coast from the sea and experiencing the pleasure of swimming from the boat or isolated beach. There are caves and rock formations beneath the cliffs to explore and super cool beach bars and restaurants to try. Many of these beaches, bars and restaurants can only be reached by boat, which makes them feel all the more special and exclusive.
More information about Praiano and the different events and festivals can be found at: www.praiano.org
Below are a couple of little gems we enjoyed in Praiano. If you have some personal favourites tell us all about them in the comments section below.
Stay at Ca’Pa – this is a lovely alternative to a hotel and a true hidden gem.
Il Pino’s restaurant – this is a small and intimate restaurant with huge glass windows facing out to sea, perfect for enjoying the amazing Praiano sunset. The service is charming and the food simple and fresh.
Che Bonta – Don’t be fooled by this basic looking cafe with a few tables balanced on the stairs, we thought it did the best pizza we’ve had outside Rome.
Take a water taxi to Il Pirata for drinks or dinner. It is a pretty cool way to start the evening.
Favourite day trips:
Definitely get out on the water. If you can hire a private boat with a skipper and soak up the sun and the views of the coast from the water.
Ravello, near Amalfi – a very interesting mountain town home to the famous Villa Rufolo and gardens.
Walk the Path of the Gods – this is a breathtaking way to see the coast. Click here for more information.