Praiano's name probably gets its origins from the Latin "Pelagianum" or "open sea". The ancient name of Praiano "Pelagianum", suggests a certain direct continuity from ancient Rome, when in the first century AD the Amalfi Coast was the preferred place of the free rich and the Roman Emperors that chose it to built imposing and extravagant villas as their homes, but unfortunately, the history was a little stingy with the town guarding its treasures, and in fact, very different from Positano and its many discoveries, as well as other ruins and villas scattered throughout the coast. In Praiano everything was predicted about its fascinating past, but without revealing its secrets. Still today it is possible to admire the tower called "Assiola" or "Sciola" that dates back to 1278 and was built by Carlo D'Angio, and in the same location a shipping dock called "scarricarturo" existed, that is the place where the ships loaded and unloaded their merchandise. The ancient inhabitants of Praiano were active and industrious, they worked with linen, made so called "filo torto" (twisted wire), and supplied the famous retinas for hair to the whole coast, they also produced and exported pickled anchovies, they made decorations for parties as well as fishing coral; the difficult and risky activity that required a strong temperament, physical force to immerge yourself in apnea, but that rendered enough and that passed down from generation to generation, and among these people and others of the sea there was the tradition of wearing an earring in their left ear, this old tradition seemed to have been copied after the saracrens and it recalled the ancient songs and prayers to the "Mamma Schiavona". Coral fishing prospered in Praiano for a good five centuries until the 1800s.
The Praiano population had a great sense of collectivity that was evident in 1735 contributing to the reconstruction of the ancient Church of Abbazzia of Santa Maria in Castro, reconstructed with the help of the citizens in 1975. The monastic complex is on the Valley of Campo and overlooks all of Praiano and the coast from its position, and being among one of the most beautiful panoramas of the coast does not lack in visitors, which are warmly welcomed by the Brothers. In order to reach the Abbazzia (abbey) you have to go along a twisted path that passes the entire Valley of the Fountains. According to the ancient legend, the church was built after the occurrence of a miraculous event; a painted image of the Virgin of Grace on the plaster of the wall. According to a document dated in 1848 the painting "miraculously" was discovered by a woman from Cerasuolo that was bringing her cows to graze. Praiano has two mother churches: the Chapel of S. Luca, which conserves the inside of three ships, a large silver bust of S. Luca and the paintings from Padovano of Montorio and Giovan Bernardo Lama, originally from Praiano. Having the unique simulacrum of the Virgin Mary present represents her in 1700 shepards's clothing. The panorama you can enjoy from the little church of S. Maria of Costantinopli is really stupendous. The parochial church in Vettica was consecrated to San Gennaro and reconstructed in 1589, with precious painted works by Giovan bernardo Lama, it has a magnificent dome that was redone with polychrome plaster on the inside and has a wonderful view of the sea.
Currently, the "Heart of the Amalfi Coast" as Praiano is often defined, is a peaceful town that offers excellent touristic services and restaurants. Every morning the fishermen land on the beach and offer their fish to whoever wants to taste the "real" product of the sea, in fact, fishing has remained a constant tradition here over the course of the centuries. The fish are then sold to various restaurants in the area where they can enjoy the products according to recipes even if it is of ancient tradition; for the travelers of the Amalfi coast, make sure to take a detour to one of the numerous restaurants and trattorie in the this area not to miss out! To stay here, you can take advantage of some of the properties such as; (Apt. Blue Moon, Apt. Praia, Apt. Rosa, Apt. Seaside). For entertainment do not forget to visit the," mythical" or rather "legendary" discotheque, maybe the only one in the world with so much history and beauty called," Night Club l'Africana". The club is basically attached to an impressive and particular underground cavern suspended over the sea, among numerous authentic tunnels, stalactites and atrophies and other object of various African origins that give a touch of mysterious jungle. The discotheque was born through the idea of Luca Milano, the owner of the amazing grotto, who decided to transform that stunning natural beauty into a dance hall. In 1962 Luca met ballerina Margot Fonteyn, an expert in ethnic music and African art, and the two fell in love. From that meeting of love, passion for music and exotic tastes the club became the gift of great recognition. Soon after, the two broke up over a controversy, but "He" pursued the new path, and every summer, the lucky visitors of the area could really immerse themselves in another dimension, between ethnic music, shows, exhibitions and cabaret dancers. The Night Club l'Africana has the ability to be luxurious, unique and original. Luca tragically disappeared on May 6, 2005 in the same place where he has dedicated his life, and with him he took the history of the times...but for the lucky ones that will still visit, maybe between dance and music will still be able to see the smiling faces of people like John Kenneday, Frank Sinatra, Giuliana the "Queen of Olanda", Rudolph Nureyev and many other notable people, adventurers and lovers that throw a flower in the magic well in the center of the floor, dream of summer loves and starry nights, among breezes of joyous music, jungle rhythms and bewitching sensations...
THINGS TO VISIT:
. The church of San Luca Evangelista: dedicated to the protector saint of Praiano in the Baroque style. The flooring is made of mosaic from the end of the 700s. On the inside of the building different wooden and silver statues are conserved, among which is the relic bust of San Luca and appreciable paintings in the Neapolitan style.
. Marina of Praia: the beautiful beach is located at the end of the valley and embedded in high cliff tops. Protected by the cape of Capo Sottile and watched over by an ancient tower, this beach was the docking of the old Praiano and the boats departed from there for their excursions towards the most impressive points of the coast towards the grottos Suppraiano and of the Africana.
. Grotto di Suppraiano: the spectacular natural atrium with stalactites and water games. The grotto is accessible by sea.
. Grotto dell'Africana: the impressive natural cavity near the famous night club Africana housed in nearby crack of the rock.
. The Church of San Gennaro: the sacred building is situated in Vettica Maggiore, a fraction of the Praiano commune, built in 1602 AD from a previous church. Its dome is covered in mosaic and many valuable paintings are conserved inside.
. Tower if Grado: the tower belongs to an old chain of watch towers that kept an eye out for the arrival of the Saracrens.
. Gavitella Beach: the uniqueness of this beach makes it different from all the other beaches of the Amalfi Coast. The bathers can enjoy the view of Capri and Positano and with a pleasant swim you can reach the beach of Praie and dive in the Fontana dell'altare, a natural hole located in a grotto.
. Shrines: small chapels built by the inhabitants of Praiano everywhere in the communal territory. Decorated with mosaic and frescos showing the deep religiousness of these places.
. The church of Santa Maria a Castro: belongs to the convent of San Domenico located on Mount S.Angelo of three Pizzi and is perfectly inserted in the surrounding environment. It looks over the other underlying valley and enjoys a splendid view towards Positano, Capri and Vettica Maggiore.
. Paths: the impervious territory of Praiano is crossed with different walking paths or stairs that bring tourists to stunning places with priceless panoramas, a real paradise for lovers and hikers. The absence of comfortable streets has maintained the beauty and the uniqueness of places otherwise exposed to the aggression of inattentive tourism.
. The illumination of San Domenico: every year from August 1st to the 4th near the church of Santa Maria of Castro, the people of Praiano ecorate the churchyard with 2000 candles every evening. The windows and the terraces of Praiano are also lit up with complimentary candles following the tradition that celebrates San Domenic's mother, of whom before giving birth had a dream of a dog that lit up the world with a torch, a metaphor of the holy future that brought the Good News to the world.