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Praiano is often skipped by tourists scurrying to visit the more popular fishing villages of the Amalfi Coast. But, I’m a believer in underdogs and therefore believe that Praiano is worth a visit, too.
Praiano once was famous for its coral fishing. Artisans working with coral were recognizable from the earrings they wore in their left ear. During the height of the Amalfi Republic, this quiet and beautiful town was the preferred summer residence of the Doge.
By day, the town features numerous historical and architectural sites such as the Church of San Luca the Evangelist, the 13th century Baroque-style structure with a beautifully tiled floral motif floor and the Church of San Giovanni Battista, located in the center of town and dating back to the 11th century. One of the most characteristic features of the town are the majolica tiled votive shrines. These shrines were constructed by local families as a way to claim their ownership of a property and to obtain its divine protection.
Wonderful coastline views are enjoyed simply by walking around Praiano and the small picturesque harbor, Marina di Praia, a fiord bay situated between two rock walls. From the harbor, take the promenade around the cliff of La Praia to the tip of the promontory to find Torre a Mare, a medieval watchtower once used to protect the town from pirates.
As the sun begins to set, you will want to head for La Cala of Gavitella, the only beach on the Amalfi Coast illuminated until sunset. Most surprisingly, it is after sunset that this quiet little town comes to life offering some of the area’s leading night-time attractions. The discotheque, Africana, dates back to the 1960s and is a trendy haunt for the chic celebrity crowd. Located in a rocky grotto on the seashore, you can dance the night away steps from the water.
For those wishing to eat at the sea’s edge, try Trattoria da Armandino. Located on the pebbled beach Marina di Praia, this restaurant serves up some of the town’s finest marine cuisine.