Updated: Nov 12, 2022
Our week staying at the lovely and very underrated town of Praiano.
Previously, I wrote of the fun times we had getting to the Amalfi Coast by public transport from Rome (see here). It rated pretty low on our scale of 'stressful travel experiences', however for our kids it was a much bigger deal at the time. Once we arrived at our accommodation in Praiano, they soon perked up though! How could you not with this magical view? They were also excited that they didn't have to share a bed anymore (one is super cuddly, the other not so!) and that there was a bath, so happy days :-)
Praiano is a lovely little town and a great place to stay if you want to get away from the tourist crowds at Positano and Amalfi. It is pretty much smack bang in the middle, being about a 20 minute drive to either.
Blumavy (left) is a very comfortable house in Praiano and it was the perfect place to finish off our travels and relax a bit before heading home to Australia. Our wonderful #Airbnb host, Ivan, picked us up from the bus stop and made sure we were all settled in. We're so grateful that he did, as it's quite the uphill hike from the main road to the township!
There were supplies for us to make dinner that night, cold beer in the fridge and a bottle of red - very much appreciated after a long day of travelling - and the boys quickly whipped up a delicious pasta. During our stay, we were able to get most everything we needed from the teeny-tiny grocery store located literally on our doorstep. Big loaves of bread for about 1 Euro, a bottle of wine for 8 Euro, fresh produce and small goods. I did come home slightly heavier and I blame it all, happily, on Italy!
After recovering from the big day of travel to get there, we quickly settled into a routine of alternating between exploring further afield and staying close to home. Regardless of the day's plans, we regularly seemed to gravitate to the rooftop balcony ...
First on the agenda when we arrive at a new place is to go for a walk. Get the lay of the land, so to speak. There is so much to see here - and quite a few stairs - so give yourself plenty of time to just amble and observe the smaller details.
The town cathedral is dedicated to Saint Luke the Evangelist. Built originally in 1588, it was redone in Baroque style in 1772.
The church bells played the loveliest tune every evening. I attempted to film this from our balcony, you can just make out the cathedral on the far left...
The old village used to be situated down by the beach, but due to the repeated invasions by Saracen’s they apparently moved higher up the cliffside for safety reasons.
Torre Asciola sits on a promontory where it has stood guard over Praiano for centuries. It is one of an extensive defensive system of thirty or so medieval ramparts spread along the Amalfi Coast to protect the towns from attack. This tower is one of the best preserved and was built in 1270 when Praiano had a thriving silk industry and marauding Saracen pirates were a constant threat.
Artist Paolo Sandulli has been working in the tower for some 30 years now and his artwork can be seen through the streets of the town, along with other local artists as part of the NaturArte Project. I've read that Paolo's quite open to visitors and is happy to show you his paintings and terracotta artworks. There is a lovely short film about him and the tower here.
There are two spots where you can soak up a bit of sunshine by the Tyrrhenian Sea...
~ Marina di Praia ~
There is a beautiful walk along a cliff path that takes you past the watch tower and the occasional restaurant to the base of the cliffs where you will find the most picturesque little boat harbour.
Summer In Italy write:
In ancient times, Marina di Praia used to be the core of the activities of the village, the place where people built boats, made fishing nets and prepared cured fish. It was also the landing place for ships that loaded wood brought from Agerola, by way of an aerial ropeway, to sell it on the shores of Africa. Nowadays the beach mostly thrives with tourist activities: a dive centre, boat cruises, sunbed and umbrella rental, a bar, and the well-known restaurant Alfonso a Mare.
Like many beaches along the Amalfi Coast, it ends up in shade later on in the day so best to get there early rather than later. We sat on the pebble shore and watched the boys collect sea glass and bits of terracotta tiles, and make friends with the local kids. It was very peaceful, but I can imagine this place being packed in the height of summer.
On your return walk, continuing along the cliff path will take you to the Africana (bottom right) which is apparently the 'most fashionable dance club on the whole of the Amalfi Coast'. We certainly were not in the clubbing demographic on this trip!
~ La Gavitella ~
This was a bit further for us to get to and there are quite a few stairs to go down but once there, you have views along the coast towards Positano. You start out at the Piazza San Gennaro (below) and just keep following the signs to Alla Spiaggia.
It helps that there is such beautiful scenery to admire along the way!
These cute fish sculptures line the path :-)
Then you find the stairs, all 400 or so of them!
Then, ta-da! The view opens out to Positano and further beyond you can even make out Capri's Faraglioni.
The boys swam because they are kids who LOVE water and will end up in it one way or another! It was a bit fresh at this time of year (end of April) so we were happy to supervise. Plus just walking on these pebble beaches is a challenge, let alone trying not to slip on wet rocks (water shoes would be handy)!
The 'beach' as you can see below is not overly large, but there are various access points to the water from large concrete platforms. There is also sunbed hire and a restaurant.
Couldn't resist taking a shot of this man working on his boat.
After all this walking up and down stairs, you'll be ready for food and whilst Praiano may be small, there are some fab restaurants to try. We loved Kasai with its stunning views and gorgeous decor. A bit cool and windy to sit outside, but how lovely is it inside?
The staff were very attentive and helpful, being more than happy to cater for our children too (which was our experience everywhere we ate in Italy). Our meals were divine with great flavours. I highly recommend dining here!
La Moressa is another little gem with very attentive staff, who were also more than happy to cater for slightly fussy children. I didn't take any photos here, must of been too busy eating! The boys devoured the gnocchi, whilst we both had seafood - calamari with pasta, and shrimp risotto. Both divine. We followed up with a pear and ricotta torte and then needed the walk home afterwards! With fabulous local wines on offer and stunning views from the terrace, what more could one want? Perhaps another week here, which leads me to...
Other things to do that I wish we had!
~ The Path of the Gods ~
Praiano is well situated for access to this epic trail. We didn't try it on the advice of our host, who said it was a bit hairy in spots where the track is close to the cliff edge - I think he was worried about our little kids! On reading other people's experiences, it does sound like you need to take care but that it's not super challenging. Probably the most strenuous bit is up the stairs from Praiano! You could do a half day hike to Positano, have a swim and catch the bus home. Having seen some photos now of the views from the trail, I want to go back and do it!
As mentioned, we alternated between exploring local and doing day trips. We didn't have a car, so caught the local buses, which was fine but they were generally very full. We caught the bus to Positano and Amalfi, and did a cruise out to Capri but I won't go into these here as this blog is long enough! I shall save those stories for another day...