What to do in Praiano, 6 wonders not to be missed

by Luca Fortis

Praiano is one of those villages in the Amalfi Coast where you can breathe a village atmosphere, not yet devoured by mass tourism.

Praiano laps the waves and touches the peaks of the gods Lattari Mountains and here you can really understand why theUnesco entered the Amalfi Coast in the list of world heritage assets. Thanks to the vitality of its inhabitants, it is not difficult to find out what to do in Praiano. The village maintains a peasant soul, also thanks to the fact that there is no real center, but the houses climb above and below the state of the coast, on two different sides of a promontory, one that looks Salerno and the other watching Capri e Positano.

The inhabitants will have no difficulty in showing you what to do in Praiano, also thanks to the tenacity of the local guys, who have managed to keep the country alive with so many cultural projects and with an idea of slow tourism. The first certain news of Praiano date back to the Middle Ages, the town was part of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, but it is likely that the first name you derive from Latin Plagianum and that therefore the village has an older history, even if not documented.

The country has always been divided into Vettica Maggiore, the part that overlooks Capri and Positano, while the part of the promontory that overlooks Salerno is simply Praiano. One of the characteristics of the village is that the population who lives near the sea it was constituted up to the seventies mainly by fishermen, while the one who lived on the mountain it was mostly inhabited by farmers. Here reigns the lemon, but a little bit of everything is grown. At one time the population specialized in coral fishing, they worked the twisted thread, the flax and the anchovies were put in brine.

Cosa fare a Praiano, 6 meraviglie da non perdere
What to do in Praiano: the sunset from Vettica

What to do in Praiano: The paths of ceramics

Praiano is a village of stairs, you go up and down hundreds of steps that hide so many fantastic worlds, only by following these climbs and descents you can discover the descended to the sea, the houses, the churches, i gardens they vegetable gardens filled with lemons, fruit trees and seasonal vegetables.

At night you can get off at the landing places from which i fishermen of the country leave at dusk with their boats, for fishing for squid. If you ask the locals what to do in Praiano, they will surely show you the splendid routes of the ceramic. Many of the stairs in Praiano have become the fulcrum of the Praiano NaturArte project. The initiative was born in 2013, when the Agenda Praiano association was formed. The idea was to work on the historical identity of the village of Praiano and create a Museum-Garden of Ceramics that would enhance it through a participatory project.

Every artist worked on an iitinerary made up of stairs or pedestrian streets. The ceramists and artists of the territory Francesco Mangieri, known as Mao, Sandro Mautone, Patrizia Marchi, Enzo Caruso, Lucio Liguori, Ferdinando Vassallo, Fausto Lubelli and Paolo Sandulli participated in the project.

Cosa fare a Praiano, 6 meraviglie da non perdere
What to see in Praiano: the itineraries of ceramics

Architecture and historic houses

In an ideal list of what to do in Praiano, one cannot fail to put the itineraries in search of historic houses of the country.

Architecture of the village, like all that of the Amalfi Coast, In the Middle Ages, during the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, was affected by Arab influences. There typical house has indeed mighty walls and vaulted ceilings, in the ground floors, sometimes even a meter thick, where they were cisterns and spaces for animals. While, on the first floor there were houses. The roofs of the houses are formed from traditional domes painted white. The dome is the main element of these ancient houses.

Unfortunately not all of them have survived the centuries, but still today, looking at the town from above, you can enjoy the view of countless domes that follow one another. Among the most famous houses in the country is the House of the Angels.

The Casa degli Angeli is an ancient and very beautiful house in Praiano, not far from the monastery of San Domenico, where a very dark page of Italian justice was consumed in 1970. It was the home of intellectuals, hippies, artists and actors.
They lived there at the time Carolyn Lobravico e William Berger. A couple of actors already known internationally.

In the night between 4 and 5 August 1970 a blitz by the Carabinieri and Police arrested the couple and all their guests with whom they were spending the summer on the Amalfi Coast. With only the evidence of 0.9 grams of marijuana, they were all arrested: the women were taken to the criminal asylum of Pozzuoli and the men to the male one in Naples. After three months of detention, the actress died because she was not guaranteed the necessary treatment against the viral hepatitis from which she was suffering.

William was allowed to see her only once, shortly before she died, when she was already in a coma on Cardarelli's bed, where she had been taken urgently following the worsening of the disease. William will then be exonerated after seven months of imprisonment for lack of evidence.

Cosa fare a Praiano, 6 meraviglie da non perdere

Another famous house of Praiano is L'Orto house, built in 1700 by the ancestors of Carol LeWitt, wife of the famous american artist, exponent of the minimal art, Sol LeWitt: the house is located in Praiano near Torre a Mare, an ancient Spanish watchtower.

LeWitt wanted to open his home to artists and thought Praiano was the ideal place. For the villa in Praiano, Sol LeWitt intended to create a sculpture installation that will never be realized due to local landscape constraints; however, he manages to design two large interior murals, which he never saw realized, as they will be completed on the day of his death in New York on April 8, 2007.

The house is part of the art residences they collaborate with Marea Art Project, the new project of Italian and international artistic residences on the Amalfi Coast. Among the historic houses that collaborate with Marea, hosting artists, there is Casa Tuti, an ancient local residence, which Turan Gharagozlou, descended from an important Iranian aristocratic family, bought in the 1950s, because it reminded her of Persian architecture. There are also the ancient residences, Casa Erato and Casa Federica.

Cosa fare a Praiano, 6 meraviglie da non perdere
What to do in Praiano: look for the ancient traditional houses

The beaches and small coves

In the list of what to do in Praiano, the descended to the sea and a bathroom in the beautiful coves of the coast.
The small beach of Vettica di Praiano is called la Gavitella, here there are both some famous bathing establishments on artificial quays, and a delightful small pebble beach.

Vettica has an seconda descent to the sea, call tower. Going down one of the many stairways in the town, you arrive at a platform overlooking the sea under an ancient watchtower, the Torre Grado.

Always on the list of what to do in Praiano, you can't miss the Praia, the most gmain beaches of the country. La Praia is also the largest port of Praiano and is located on the side of the country overlooking Salerno. Here it is possible to rent boats to swim in the many splendid coves that can only be reached by sea.

Cosa fare a Praiano, 6 meraviglie da non perdere
La Gavitella, one of the landings in Mare di Praiano

The Saracen and eighteenth-century towers

For architecture lovers, in the list of what to do in Praiano you cannot miss a visit at watch towers, built to defend against the raids of the gods Saracens. Of the Torre Asciola, also known as Torre a Mare, we have news already in a document dated 1260, originally it had to have a greater height and underwent adaptations in the viceregal period. Today it houses the art studio of the artist Paolo Sandulli.

Torre Grado it was instead built in 1564 on a small promontory, it is composed of one cylindrical tower of epoch medieval which is recognizable in the part facing the sea and one square with structural features of viceregal era. The merger between the two structures, which took place in 1564, makes this tower attributable to the “composite double height” type.
There is also a tower inside a private villa above the Gavitella. Between 1600 and the 1700, instead the most prestigious Praiano families had their own built tower-shaped residences. Today only a few remain.

Cosa fare a Praiano, 6 meraviglie da non perdere
What to do in Praiano: The Grado tower or Torre a Mare

The church of Santa Maria del Castro and the Luminaria di San Domenico

There church of Santa Maria del Castro, with annex Monastery of San Domenico, rises along the slopes of Mount Sant'Angelo in Tre Pizzi. This place cannot be missing from the list of tips on what to do in Praiano.
L'origin And very ancient, given the presence inside the church of a stone altar, interpreted by scholars as apagan macaw.

Instead, it is thought that the word "Castro" is due to the fact that in these same places there was one defensive structure or sighting, linked to the castra system of the Duchy of Amalfi. The church still retains gods precious frescoes from the Renaissance period.

Next to the church, the convent, on two floors, it directly reproduces the structure of the vaulted houses of the extra-urban area of Amalfi: on the ground floor the refectory and cistern, on the first floor, instead, four cells, kitchen and oven. Each year the convent becomes the center of the feast of San Domenico.

The luminaria of San Domenico

There Luminaria of San Domenico is an ancient tradition of the rich historical and cultural heritage of Praiano, yes festates from 1st to 4th August every year to the convent of Santa Maria del Castro, where San Domenico is venerated. This devotion does handed down from 1606, from the arrival of the Dominican friars from the Sanità of Naples.

The inhabitants of the village adorn the terraces, windows, gardens, streets, domes of houses with wax candles. In addition, the young people of Praiano decorate Piazza San Gennaro with 2,000 candles every evening. In past centuries all citizens, during the year, kept the dry branches of vine shoots, trees and shrubs, creating the "fascine" which then burned for the occasion in the gardens and kept tin and glass cans, rags, oil and rancid lard to then make the torches.

The Luminaria has a precise meaning: the mother of St. Dominic, before giving birth, dreamed of a dog with a torch in his mouth that set the world on fire, meaning that the unborn child would bring the Word of God to the whole world. From the convent of San Domenico you can then reach the Path of the Gods and the Lattari Mountains

Cosa fare a Praiano, 6 meraviglie da non perdere
The illumination of San Domenico, credits Federico Ruocco


Ercolino R., Watchtowers of the Duchy of Amalfi., Salerno 1979.

Russo F., The viceral anti-Corsican towers of the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi 2002.

Duca F., The anti-Corsican fortifications of the Amalfi Peninsula. reconnaissance itinerary, In military historical studies, 1995, Rome 1998.

Scala G. The sacred paths, Praiano and Vettica Maggiore, Salerno 2001






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