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Welcome to Praiano
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 1,915 (2004)
Official Site: Praiano
Wikepedia: Praiano

Map: Multimap

Praiano, originally known as Plagium or Pelagianum - or "open to the sea" - was once the holiday resort of the Amalfitan Nobility - for good reason
The town is set like a diamond in an enchanting location, nestled among the beautiful inlets of the breathtaking Amalfi coast, a mere seven kilometers from Positano and six kilometers from Amalfi.  For those who don't like crowds of tourists, this is a great option.  There are great vistas of the sea and of Positano herself, but this location in many senses is even more idyllic. 

Praiano, which was once an ancient fishing village and favourite retreat of Amalfitan nobility is still an oasis of calm, tranquility and colour.  With an excellent position along the coast, and comfertable climate almost all year long, the lush vegetation of the Amalfi coast coupled with the scent of the sea, warmth of the sun and hospitality of the people - has made this small village a favourite holiday destination of Italian tourists.  Whereas Positano, just north is a constant drone of activity, sleepy Praiano down the coast allows for rest and relaxation. 
Driving into the town, one is presented with  a cascade of white houses which tumble down green, flowering slopes to the sea.  Needless to say, the town has maintained its timeless charm as a small fishing village perched on the cliffs between its more famous neighbours, Positano and Amalfi. For its defense a tower was built by Charles I of Anjou.

Praiano’s local economy was built upon two products, the first being the production of silk, and its use by the local women in the manufacture of handmade articles for clothing etc. In past centuries silk and thin, fine yarn was turned white and worked by the women of the town, and the popularity of this fabric helped the town flourish. The coral fishing industry was no less lucrative, and the men collected coral from the sea and fashioned it into beautiful jewelry, among other things.

Both historically and architecturally, the most important building today in Praiano is the Church of Saint Luke the Evangelist, which also holds this saint's remains. The Church boasts fine paintings by Giovanni Bernardo Lama (including the Madonna with Child) and a silver bust of the saint, dated 1694.

Today Praiano is a prestigious sunning, swimming and boating destination, offering tourists from all over the world a tranquil location from which to sample the joys of the coastline, with convenient proximity to the tourist towns of Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello.

To the west, the village of Vettica Maggiore is a charming site for a seaside sojourn. An old local adage says "Chi vuol vivere sano, la mane a Vettica, la sera a Praiano".  The prescription is clear:  for a healthy life, morning hours must be spent in Vettica and evenings in Praiano. Here you'll find the secrets of local vitality and love of life.The coastal towers, dramatic symbols of the past, are characteristic of Praiano, one of the most famous resorts of the Amalfi coast. It is a favourite destination for visitors who love to enjoy nature in all its original splendor.

Praiano does not lie directly on the coast, but parallel to the sea, and for a long stretch, upwards and downwards of the state road. Scattered houses which at intervals gather and spread over the countryside. Now and then a "scalinatella" (a flight of little steps) winds up among the houses and then goes downwards to the high and impassable coast, among the lemon terraces and through the Mediterranean blooming bush. Here and there, a little creek, a little beach, a Paradise corner, as for example the seashore of Praia, the only real landing-place of this steep coastal stretch.

Praiano is a farmers' village with a great past: it was the seat of an Angioin University, the summer residence of the Amalfi doges and even the production place of precious cloths. That is why it economically prospered and developed even though not completely, because of the prevalence of Amalfi in its neighbourhood. Not unlike the other coastal villages, then, Praiano shared the decline of the powerful Sea Republic till it knew the bitter poverty of the last  centuries and of the beginning of the 20th century. Then, tourism, at first the tourism of great travellers, then the tourism of common Italian and foreign travellers, developed.

The Night Club "L'Africana", one of the most famous clubs on the Amalfi coast, an be approached by a path excavated in the rock dropping to the sea.  It was once the seat of a iconic "cultural meetings" - Fifties and in the Sixties, where Sofia Loren is said to have graced the dance floor. The memory of the merry nights of dancers and singers, of the short-lived and passionate loves of actresses and Latin lovers is still alive....


40°37′N, 14°32′E

Amalfi Coast