Slow Travels: Praiano, Italy
Along the winding Amalfi Coast, in the middle of Positano and Amalfi, lies sleepy Praiano. Blink and you might miss the old fishing village, which is home to a mere 2000 people and whose name derives from praia, or beach, from the Latin word pelagium, meaning "belonging to the sea".
Praiano operates at a mellow pace. Streets are few and steps are aplenty. There's no definitive town centre; just an alimentari, a handful of shops and a cluster of white-washed houses dotting the undulating streetscape. Culinary pleasures abound, and seafood is an obvious champion, in keeping with the town's fishing village charm.
It’s the sort of place that teaches you to reset your priorities on holidays, the way we tend to do; slow down, enjoy fresh food made with care, and take some time to swim in the bright blue sea of the Amalfi Coast.
Here's how to best eat and explore this small pocket of coastline.
Vivaro Wine Bar
With no menus in sight and the simple option of meat or seafood, Vivaro Wine Bar celebrates the simplicity of Italian flavours with owner Gennaro Criscuolo's three-course offering. He somehow keeps his cool as he bounces between tables, stove and bar of this tiny, bustling restaurant.
The menu of the night may kick off with house-made spaghetti with pipis, olive oil, chilli, lemon and parsley, followed by a piece of grilled fish (each diner receiving a different kind of fish - perch, sea bass, tuna, mackerel) and a simple lemony, peppery leaf salad. Desserts are also switched up between guests - make sure you ask for extra spoons
Kasai is perched high on a quiet street overlooking the sea, with tables set beneath a rustic pergola in view of the stars. Like Vivaro, Kasai's kitchen focuses on seafood, yet with a slightly more ambitious twist. Expect flavours like pomegranate juice, eggplant mousse, candied orange and sweet tomatoes to accompany baked amberjack and tuna, served in one of the most peaceful settings imaginable.
Head for Il Pirata's sun-drenched lounges early in the morning for a day of bathing, jumping off rocks and swimming around Marina di Praia. By night, the cavernous fine dining restaurant is a go-to for both the setting and the fare. Feast on seared scallops as the moon begins its descent over the marina's fishing boats.
Bar del Sole
This charming café is as simple as it gets. It's where locals meet for their morning espresso, and where travellers meet to watch them. Expansive views over the sea make it a perfect place to assess the day's weather, which, during Praiano's summer, is likely to be perfect.
Cruise the coast
Hiring a scooter is a breezy, relaxed way to explore the Amalfi Coast, and there are plenty of places to rent one in the centre of town. A plethora of towns dot the rugged coastline, and stopping for a swim or a bite as you please is the best way to enjoy the winding landscape as it unfolds. For those after some more guidance, try Ravello, Maiori and Amalfi.
Spend time at sea level
Seeing Praiano's coastline from sea level is worth the boat trip in itself. Couple that with swimming in the azure waters of Capri, passing the iconic faraglioni rock formations along the way and spending the day on a beautifully kept, traditional boat, and you might have the perfect summer day.