Praiano: In the heart of amalfi coast.
Situated in the middle of the coast, between Amalfi and Positano, this fishing village may not be as famous as those, but its beauty shouldn't be underestimated. Perched on a steep cliff, it still has access to the sea with its little Gavitella beach and the hamlet Marina di Praia. One of the perks of Praiano is being a quieter village, despite being so central on the coast; the main center is on the upper east side, and requires a detour from the main road, to reach St. Luke square and its church. The west side, instead, hosts the hamlet Vettica Maggiore, which was once an independent town; the Amalfi Drive goes through it, and you can see the main square and church of St. Gennaro just below the main road.
The two sides are split by Capo Sottile (Thin Cape), the southmost ledge of Amalfi Coast, with the adjacent Rock of Isca; once you pass the "devil's tunnel" on the road above, the view will switch from Positano and the rest of Sorrento Peninsula, to Amalfi's side, visible up to Conca dei Marini's Cape.
Climb up towards the mountains, and you can go for some great hikes: to the Convent of Saint Dominic or further, to reach the middle of the famous Path of the Gods.
As you can expect from a fishing village, seafood is a staple of the local cuisine, but local vegetables are also widely used. Typical dishes are squid and potatoes, or the "migliaccio praianese", a traditional first course (not to be confused with the classic or Neapolitan migliaccio, which is actually a dessert) made to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. It is a rustic pie based on semolina, with pasta, eggs, lard, sausage and cheeses.
Praiano… from the cycling point of view:
Praiano, but mostly its hamlet Vettica Maggiore, is on the Amalfi Drive, and you will pass it while riding to Positano from Amalfi or vice versa. To reach its main square St. Luke, though, you need to climb a very steep one way road to its upper part, from the big crossroad near St. Gennaro Square, back down to the other side of the devil's tunnel. If you keep going up a little more, you can reach the little Constantinople church, or close a small loop from the end of the road to the internal pedestrian alleys (with a few steps).
The beach at Marina di Praia is reachable by bike, while for the Gavitella one better leave it at home!
If you choose this town as a cycling base, you can opt for any routes on Amalfi's or Positano's sides, but they will be a few km longer, as you'll have to reach those towns before having more choices.
We can bring our rental bikes (up to 4 at a time) here at a 15 € fee one way, 25 € for both delivery and pick up.
Some attractions we recommend here:
Christmas Crib in the rock
The Devil's Grotto, at the road side, will surely catch your attention while passing: it hosts a nativity scene (like the ones traditionally set in the houses for Christmas holidays) that is actually a miniature of the village itself. While it stays set up all year, best time to visit it is in the winter holidays, when it gets cleaned up and illuminated at night. A smaller one is also found above Marina di Praia.
Convent of Saint Dominic
There's some hiking to do in order to reach the convent of Saint Dominic and the church of Saint Mary in Castro next to it. They are in fact situated in a peaceful spot above Praiano, immersed in the nature and facing a lovely view of Sorrento Peninsula. The famous Path of the Gods passes above it.
This is just an overview with our picks and there might be more worth seeing: we encourage doing some more research to also check updated opening times, fares and other details of the attractions listed.
Yearly local events worth mentioning:
Saint Gennaro's patron feasts
Second Sunday of May and September 19th
Patron of the hamlet Vettica Maggiore, Saint Gennaro is celebrated twice a year with Mass, procession and firework shows.
Saint Luke the Evangelist's patron feasts
First Sunday of July and October 18th
Saint Luke (Luca) is the patron of Praiano, celebrated twice a year: the official festivity in October, and second feast during the summer. The town's balconies are decorated with colorful lights a few days before the events, which round up with a procession and fireworks.
Luminaria of Saint Dominic
Thousands of tealights and candles are lit to celebrate this festival dedicated to Saint Dominic, and one of the most scenic on the coast. Many shows are held during the first days of August, with a spectacular fireworks display around the church of St. Gennaro rounding up the event on its final night.
Taste local dishes made with seasonal products while listening to folk music in St. Gennaro Square. What more to ask?
Saint Martin Festival
Yet another autumn festival, held this time in St. Luke Square, and another chance to taste the local dishes, together with the new wine.
A good way to warm up and animate the population during the off-season, come have fun and enjoy local food if you are in the area when this festival takes place!
During these events, the town gets busier and there might be heavy traffic or few parking lots available: plan carefully if you are travelling to or through it on these dates.
Events may change through the years, and some may be skipped altogether. Please look for an updated schedule of the specific ones you would like to attend to.