Praiano occupies the stretch of the Amalfi coast between Positano and Conca dei Marini, on either side of Capo
Sottile. The name appears to derive from the word praia, or beach, originating from the Greek plagion
(oblique surface). At the time of the Amalfi Republic Praiano was chosen by the Doges of Amalfi as their
summer residence. Dating in fact to the Angevin period is the finest surviving watchtower on the entire coastline,
Torre Assiola, known as the "Sciola".
In the past Praiano was famous for its production of silk and yarns. As well as this, hairnets were produced,
anchovies pickled and coral fishing practised. In the centre of the high part of the town, in a fine panoramic
position, stands the main church of Praiano, dedicated to the patron saint,
Saint Luke the Evangelist.
The lower part of the town stretches out towards the Marina di Praia,
the only landing-place of the ancient
Plagianum, with a beach carved out between two high cliffs. On the headland overlooking the Marina is the
Torre a Mare, of mediaeval origin, built as a look-out to raise the alarm
in the event of Turkish raids.
From Marina di Praia short boat trips bring visitors to the captivating sites of the
Grotte di Suppraiano
and the Grotta dell'Africana, with the by now legendary Africana Night Club,
a mythical discotheque suspended
over the sea, which was frequented, among others, by John Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and Rudolph Nureyev.
On the other side of Capo Sottile, stands the village of Vettica Maggiore,
clustered around the Church of San Gennaro Bishop and Martyr.
A little beyond, descending towards the sea, we come to the Torre di Grado
and the cala della Gavitella, the only beach on the Amalfi coast that is
lit by the sun up to sunset.
Also in the environs of Gavitella are the Fontana dell'Altare,
a natural swimming pool carved out of a cave,
and the Spiaggia delle Praie, which can be reached only by sea.
Another striking feature of Praiano are the votive tabernacles, miniature chapels scattered here and there
over the territory, bearing witness to the religious devotion of the local people.