Plagianum, “sloping land to the sea”, this is probably the meaning of the name of this very secluded gem of the Amalfi Coast. Looking out at sea from Praiano's terraces one immediately understands why locals chose such name. Praiano and the sea have an inextricable relationship: the sea dominates the coast asking for the due respect, and in exchange it offers Praianesi (and tourists) some of the most impressive colours nature has ever deployed.
Cala della Gavitella's sunset red is incomparable to any other nuance in the sky, and same is for the astonishing emerald green of Marina di Praia's water, where one has the feeling of diving into a pool of precious stones.
Praianesi have a special relationship with their surroundings, indeed as Praiano did not have a very easy access from land and neither from water they had the chance to really tailor their town to their likings: small alleyways, decorations, terraces and then sudden openings down to the sea that really give the feeling of stepping into a secret land for few privileged men.
At Roman times Praiano was one the favourite holiday resorts of noble families, who built many villas where they would spend the warmest months of the year.
Then Praiano became an inherent part of the Republic of Amalfi, being the Doge's favourite summer resort. Praianesi became very famous for their maritime skills as well as for their great ability in manufacturing and fixing boats. Legend says that even a Caravel was taken ashore in Positano to be fixed by locals. Furthermore Praiano was home of famous coral fishers who wore earrings which clearly hinted to the Saracen influence. Women also had an important economic role, as very quickly the fish net industry evolved to a very renowned hair net business which continued to flourish until very recently. Throughout its history Praiano was a very devout town, where religious values, practice and rituals played a key role in the daily and annual routine. The local religious fervour did not however undermine Praiano's night life, which since the 1960s became extremely popular and fashionable with some of the most famous clubs in the Coast where VIPs have been mingling ever since. Read more on the history of Praiano
What to see
Church of San Luca Evangelista
The Church has was built in 1588 over the ruins of a 1100 church. The simple and white outside look is in great contrast with the grandeur of the silver statue of Saint Luca held on the central altar of the Church. Furthermore the maiolica tiled floor gives the idea of stepping back in time together with the numerous religious paintings by Giovan Bernardo Lama and by Padovano di Montano.
Convent of San Domenico
This convent stands in the Campo valley and it is decorated by some very marvellous paintings. From the Convent's terrace there is one of the most breathtaking views of Praiano. Here starts one of the many hikes around Praiano along myriads of steps, coasting beautiful panoramic spots as well as many smaller churches.
Praiano's caves – Suppraiano and Grotta dell'Africana
These gorgeous natural grottos show incredible colour and light designs painted by nature. It is possible to get to these unforgettable caves only by sea, by boat or with the sea taxi.
Torre di Grado Mare
This medieval tower perched just above the sea can be reached along a beautiful hike from Praiano's town centre and then along the cliff over Marina di Praia.
Marina di Praia
This pebbled beach with emerald green water is one of the most astonishing bathing sites of the coast. It is closed on three sides by cliffs, and can be reached from a long set of steps. There are no bathing establishments but it is possible to eat delicious local dishes at the nearby restaurant.
Spiaggia delle Praie
Is the romantic choice when in the Coast, it is only accessible from the sea, thus very intimate and secluded.
Cala della Gavitella Beach
This sun-kissed beach offers the most astonishing sunsets of the Amalfi Cost.
First week of August
Luminaria di San Domenico This magical yearly event turns the town of Praiano into a stage for amazing light and fireworks performances. The whole town lights up and there are all sorts of entertaining activities, concerts, dance shows and contemporary art installations. A truly mystical experience.
1st sunday of July and 18th of October
Festa di San Luca Saint Luca is Praiano's Saint Patron and to celebrate him locals take the silver statue on procession along the steep streets and alleyways of Positano and then back into the Church. The celebration end with fireworks.
1st sunday of May and 19th of September
Festa di San Gennaro This celebration echoes the one in Naples where the Saint is invoked to have his blood turn liquid as a sign of prosperity. The statue of Saint Gennaro is taken on procession and then the night ends with a fireworks show.
May to October
Il suono degli Dei A local cultural association has had the idea to merge Praiano's music heritage with the gorgeous landscape, and every year they organise a very intense and prestigious music festival hosting local, national and international artists who are called to play their music in enchanting natural spots.