For centuries, Praiano was known to be a quiet fishing village along the Amalfi Coast. These days it’s still a fishing village that coexists peacefully with various hotels and restaurants that has sprung up over the years.
Praiano is a comune located between the towns of Positano and Amalfi. Praiano is a 30 minute bus ride from Positano and if you wish to go onwards to Amalfi it will take you another, give or take, 15 minutes on the Sita Bus. Since Praiano is a comune (in English terms a municipality) it is smaller that the rest of the towns mentioned.
I asked Cholo, “Why did you choose to stay in Praiano instead of Positano? After all Positano was where Frances (Diane Lane) found her mojo back thanks to the handsome Marcello (Raoul Bova) in the film Under The Tuscan Sun.”
“Well, it’s cheaper than Positano. It’s less touristy. More quiet.” was his reply.
I realized after we spent an entire day in Positano (that will be another entry), indeed it was true.
Though there are the occasional hotels and restaurants when you go up and down the stairs of Praiano, you still feel like you are living in a small village.
As you make your way through the stairs, you pass by a school which was empty because it was summer vacation. You pass by a municipal hall. You pass by ceramic altars decorated with cherubs and hanging rosaries. You pass by a blue Vespa parked on side of the walkway. You pass by the neighborhood gym playing euro dance music. You pass by a garden tended to by an old man who is curiously eyeing you as you pass by while he takes a piss on his banana tree.
On your way to the beach, you will pass by an old lighthouse converted into a “Mostra d’Arte” . As you make your way into the lighthouse, you’d notice poop all over. A rabbit resides there too.
There an artist by the name of Paolo Sandulli calls this his workshop. He paints, creates art from clay, and infuses his art with the lighthouse.
Inside I saw different art forms of naked voluptuous women. Naked voluptuous women swimming on the sea. Naked voluptuous women cavorting with dolphins. There were also clay heads of different townsfolk made by his students; kids from all over town learning art while school is out.
It was a quaint workshop that reflects the character of the artist. Quite inspiring.
Father down, you hit the beach called Spiagga La Praia which is nestled between towering cliffs from the back and on the left and right hand sides. The beach itself is small. It isn’t like the white powdery sands of Boracay and Palawan; grey stones fill up the beach. The water is clear but cold, which is actually perfect during a hot summer’s day.
La Praia is also a Marina. This is your starting point if you wish to go boating for the day. You can visit the Isla of Capri, La Grotta dello Smeraldo (The Emerald Grotto) or take a boating tour of the entire Amalfi Coast. I’m not sure how much it would cost, but if you can spare a hundred Euros or so, then go for it. As for Cholo and I we decided not to do these tours, we still have 3 more weeks of travelling ahead of us, so every Euro counts.
We spent the entire day basking under the warm Italian sun while the cool breeze caressed our bodies. As you lay there you see the locals enjoying the last days of summer.
You see old and young Italian men in skimpy swimming trunks. Young and old Italian women in two piece swim suits. You get the occasional Easter European tourists. You see boatmen coming in from an Island tour. You see young lovers whisper sweet words to each other. You hear Italian families chattering away emphatically. If you’re lucky you see the occasional butt crack!
For lunch we went to the family run restaurant called Bar Mare Petit Restaurant. Where I had the best tasting pasta vongole con tomato ever! No meal in the Amalfi Coast is complete without having a shot of Limoncello at the end of every meal.
By late afternoon after washing up in our hotel room, we decided to explore other areas of Praiano.
We discovered Spiagga La Gavitella while we on our way to Chiesa di San Gennaro. By following the arrows, walking through quaint houses with drying chilis hanged on the walls, and going down alot of stairs we found La Gavitella. Another beach that is described to be literally “Kissed by the Sun” until sunset. Make sure to leave La Gavitella while there is still some light sicne there are a lot of stairs to navigate.
Chiesa di San Gennaro and Piazza San Gennaro is a where locals hang out until early evening. You see kids playing ball, grandmothers exchanging gossip, and young mothers chasing after toddlers around the piazza. Workers were also very busy installing lights around the piazza. With my curiosity bubbling over, in barbaric Italian with a hint of Spanish, I asked one of the men if there was a fiesta going on. Indeed there was. They were preparing the piazza for the Feast of San Gennaro on Septmeber 19th. We were to miss it by 3 days.
We decided not to have dinner in one the trattoria that lined the main street. Instead we walked all the way to our hotel, passed it, went down the stairs and had a pleasant dinner at Hotel Onda Verde. We sat on the table outside the hotel’s restaurant overlooking the Marina di Praia.
By now it’s dark.
All you see are the twinkling lights of the boats moored in the marina, dancing to the waves.
The stars are out and the cools sea breeze blows in from the shore.
We kept ourselves warm by having a glass of red wine.
Torre Asciola is now lit up and serves as a reminder of it’s Medival Past.
Our waiter is now coming into view.
The celebration of our last night in Praiano has begun.