I should say that one of Praiano's charms is its sea with crystalline waters which can only be reached by foot. Almost a thousand steps from the town center (point of reference, Basilica San Gennaro), one goes down to a paved trail that goes all the way down to the sea. Enroute are residential houses of Praiano locals which oftentimes also hotels, little villas, houses or bed and breakfast for tourists.
It is a very pleasant walk going down especially when you want to sea the beach but it could be an ardous tasks going up. Prop yourselves with a bottle of water to hydrate you on your way up. It is taxing, trust me but everything is part of the adventure.
The Basilica San Gennaro is a very important land mark of Praiano. For Italy to be a catholic country, one could expect that in small towns like Praiano, comunal activities of the townspeople are still centered on religious activities or that the church still plays a very important role among the people.
Masses are held in the mornings and evenings and are well attended.
The church also boasts of a huge piazza, the biggest in town where a lot of activities take place such as the mardi gras celebration/parade which happens to be celebrated during our sojourn in the area.
Paul Sandulli a hospitable painter and ceramist. His studio is inside the Guard Tower, showing his works from terracottas and paintings. For more than ten years, his studio is open in summer for friends and curious people (like me). The beauty of the place contributes to exert a strong charm that attracts tourist....mostly foreigners. As of our visit, a family of Tibetan goats and a dog were one of the in-residents. Don't worry , he said, his dog is okay ;)
The drive from just South of Sorrento, along the 2 lane narrow cliff road East, to beyond Amalfi, is a wonderful experience. The views are fabulous and there are belvideres, where 4-5 cars can pull in and stop and take photos all along the way. One passes the island that legend has it was inhabited by the Sirens (where later Nureyev the dancer lived). Buy a frozen lemon sorbet from the sellers on the side of the road, or some other tasty snack. Take a few hours in Positano to explore the beautiful streets and picturesque beach as well as the wonderful but expensive and chic clothes shops. Consider stopping in the ceramic factories and a church or two. We used the Onde Verde hotel in Praiano as a base, which was wonderfully quiet and half way along the coast. We didn't stop in Amalfi as it appeared too crowded, but we proceeded uphill to Ravello, an exquisite picture perfect Italian little town, nestled in the hills. It has some wonderful expensive hotels, but we visited the the Gardens and the villa of Cimbrone which has one of the most wonderful views over the land and sea anywhere, "the Terrace of the Infinite", set with beautiful sculptures, flowers, trees, cafe and landscaping. This is definitely worth the walk from the town to the terrace and the admission price. We made a day of it and enjoyed the unhurried pace and the beauty of the walk through the whole the garden which is on top of a peninsula of rock with changing views as the walk proceeds. The bus tour only gives a glimpse, which does not do justice to this fabulous area. Take time to explore the numerous little thing that will appear along the way, the weddings, the hidden cloisters, the bodies or blood of saints, the minstrels, the grapes, figs, lemons, wines lemoncello, and colors, smells and visual delights on this coastline.
Marina di Praia is located at the lower part of Praiano village. During the ancient times, it is only the landing point of the Plagianum. It is a narrow beach between two rocky walls at the mouth of the rough ravine of Praia, thus making it beautifully unique. it is an appreciated sea resort . Boat rentals are available for a possible visit to its surroundings like the grottos of Suppraiano, Esmeralda and Africana.
In the higher part of the town, in a beautiful panoramic position, there is the main church of Praiano, dedicated to the patron saint San Luca Evangelista (St.Luke the Evangelist).
It was built in the 1588, upon a preexisting church of the 1123, and rebuilt in the 1772, but it does not show any baroque exaggeration but on the contrary it has a sober and austere style.
Saint Luca's remainings ( reliquia ) are kept there.
You shouldn't miss the majolica pavement inside it , some polychrome marble altars and a wood pulpit with paintings representing St. Pietro and St. Paolo. It also houses a precious silver figure of Saint Luke from 1694 .
"On the promontory there is the Guard Tower of medieval origin, built to watch the sea and alarm the town when the ships of Saracen pirates came for forays"
From the road, we go down to the beach using a scalinatella that reaches an ancient watch tower, and from there we take a charming little pedestrian way that descends to the sea in about 400 meters (440 yards). This way is cut in the rocks, right on the sea.
" The town of Praiano lies between 80 and 180 meters on the sea level, with houses spread on the final stretch of the incline falling from the 1122 meters of Mount Tre Galli"
There are lots of ups and downs all the time...
Next morning, I left the hotel to reach the little nice beach - La Praia, in Marina de Praia.
This picture and some others to follow, show my way down to the beach...
( there is a small yellow bus - pullmino giallo - you can take if you are not fond of walking up and down... )
Since Praiano is a town that overlooks the sea, the sea gives a beautiful dramatic backdrop of the setting sun. It is just one of the best things that you could get in Praiano.
A Guard Tower of medieval origin. Built to watch the sea and alarm the town when the ships of saracen Pirates came for forays. As of this visit, this place is an artist studio. A must!
My trip ( in a good old "cronopio's way" ) since I left Vienna was about to complete 24 hours.... But the view made any tiny little trace of tiredness just blow away...
Going to Praiano by bus from Sorrento is already a "must see activity" itself. The narrow, winding road gives you the most breathtaking views...
This picture was taken before passing by Positano.