A Boat Trip along the Amalfi Coast
In the summer, we keep our boat moored in Marina di Praia, the fishermen’s bay of Praiano. On a nice day last summer, my husband and kids decided to take it for a short sailing trip along our coast.
Like always, at la Praia we meet Antonio, the only fisherman in town without a nickname. Antonio is an institution at La Praia. If he is not out at sea fishing you can be sure to find him sitting on a knoll surrounded by his three dogs repairing fishing nets. He’s there at any hour and on every day except for Saturday, when he visits his family in the upper part of the town.
Antonio lives alone in a small house dug in the mountain just a few steps from the sea. With only the essentials- a small refrigerator, a two-burner oven camping kit, a TV, a hammock covered with old rags that serves as a bed and fishing nets, lines, and other gear- it is home.
That day we decided to sail toward Positano. Having sailed around the old Spanish watchtower, we passed the nightclub, " L'Africana." We got closer to the coastline and entered a cave we call "Sub Praiano ," or " under Praiano", a long and narrow grotto that only small boats can enter.
For centuries, it has offered shelter to fishermen caught by a sudden winter blizzard or an unexpected summer storm. It's our secret hideaway in the hottest hours of the day to escape the oppressive heat.
The kids did not waste time and jumped into the emerald green water. There isn’t enough space for long swims, but they just wanted to dive.
We passed the Isca, a rock that rises from the sea in an area called Torricella, where groups of anchovies or blue fish often form and therefore a spot popular among those who want an easy and fun fishing experience.
Arriving at the Torre di Grado, the square tower just below the Church of San Gennaro, on the side of Vettica, we casted anchor. The cove below the tower is where we “locals” go when we want to avoid the crowds of the two town beaches - the Praia and the Gavitella. It is one of the most beautiful spots in the area as you can see Positano, Li Galli Islands, Capri and its Faraglioni, and it is accessible both by sea and by land.
The bay of the Torre di Grado is “uncle Ninuccio’s" refuge. Pretty much every day between May and October you will find him on the cliff camouflaged like a chameleon or with his cigar and fisherman cap sitting in his folding chair, in the shade, under the cane roof he carefully placed at the beginning of the season. Uncle Ninuccio doesn’t talk much but he is one of those people who puts you in a good mood just by seeing them.
Toward evening, Ninuccio gave a last check to his fishing nets and then went away with the row boat he inherited from another local character, Vincenzo Vuolo, whom we all call "Catozzo". His nickname stems from a drama he lived through when he was just a few months old when he fell from the balcony of his family home. He had been entrusted to the care of his sister, but she was distracted by a particularly huge fish that a group of local fishermen were bringing in, and Catozzo fell. He was given up for dead and was put in a coffin in the church nearby until his mother heard a weak groan. She immediately called the doctor, who ascertained that the baby was still alive. He was saved by his "capa tozza”, or hard head, and from then on he became Catozzo.
We soon passed in front of the beach of Gavitella without stopping. The beach is known for its stunning sunset views of Positano and therefore often crowded during the summer season. We went on to the Praie, the last leg of our trip.
It is a beach accessible only by sea and therefore often almost deserted even in the summer. It is by far the most pristine and quiet beach of the entire Praiano coast and one of our favorites.