Nature & Art

The NaturArte Project, inspired by Barcelona's Park Güell, is transforming Praiano in an extraordinary open air museum. Eight artists were asked to draw inspiration from local traditions to revitalize the tradition of street art typical of the old shrines

By Amalfi Coasting

In the summer of 2013, a small group of people in Praiano began an experiment in bulding "social capital" by founding a not-for-profit association called AgendaPraiano.

The goal was to create a community organization that would promote social responsibility, cultural development and ecologically sustainable and “smart” economic growth for their town. 

View of Praiano

AgendaPraiano’s first initiative was the development of a "Strategic Plan” for the town, an absolute first. Over the previous three decades, Praiano had grown as part of the tourism boom of nearby Positano and the Amalfi Coast in general, but it had never developed its own identity or tried to shape its future.

Video by Raffaele Cappiello & Michele Iaccarino

The plan involved making Praiano known in the circuit of international cultural destinations as a large open air museum, the same way Ravello is known for its music.

With the support of outside experts and professionals, AgendaPraiano developed the "Praiano NaturArte Project" as the first step toward the strategic repositioning of the town.

On 15 June 2015, the Regional government of Campania, thorugh the Assessorato dei Beni Culturali, announced that the "NaturArte Project" was one of 31 proposals that won a tender for European “structural funds” allocated to finance new cultural tourism initiatives.

A characteristic cultural trait of the town of Praiano is the network of small religious shrines, mini-chapels made of majolica tiles, scattered along the leading pedestrian streets that usually run parallel to the sea flanked by high stone walls, the so-called macere, and the white washed walls of houses. These shrines were built all over town to protect the Praianesi and their homes.

Shrine on via Marconi

The artists were asked to draw inspiration from the past or the local values and traditions and to revitalize and reinforce the concept of "street art" typical of the traditional shrines.

Work by Fausto Lubelli

The artists were also asked to create ceramic installations that would enhance and enrich the natural landscape. Their installations were not supposed to alter the nature and the local “people’s architecture”, but rather to enrich them in harmonious and elegant ways.

Work by Sandro Mautone

The works of art were to be donated to the Praianesi who provided the walls and committed to maintaining them.

Work by Lucio Liguori

The Praiano NaturArte Project consists of eight “art itineraries”. Seven of them have ceramic works (ceramic is a traditional medium in the area) and are made by some of the best and most well-known artists in the area.

Work by Patrizia Marchi

Work by Nando Vassallo

Work by Enzo Caruso

Work by Paolo Sandulli

The eighth itinerary, which leads from town to the convent of Santa Maria in Castro along the woods on the side of the mountain has stone sculptures instead of ceramic works.

Work by Francesco Mangieri, also known as Mao

As in the famous Park Güell in Barcelona, the utopian garden city designed by the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi at the beginning of the last century in which ceramics and architecture blend into the surrounding landscape, the ceramic installations of the NaturArte Project are meant to blend with the ancient shrines and the natural beauty of the area creating a unique mix of art and nature, tradition and innovation.

Park Güell

In the course of a century, Park Güell has proved a great success in terms of tourist attraction. The Praiano NaturArte Project hopes to replicate, albeit on a much smaller scale, that success.

The Praiano NaturArte Project was inaugurated on May 21st, 2016. Watch the video of the inauguration made by Raffaele Cappiello & Michele Iaccarino:

You can find out more about every itinerary by clicking here:

Itinerary #1- Francesco Mangieri, known as Mao

Itinerary #2 - Sandro Mautone

Itinerary #3 - Patrizia Marchi

Itinerary #4 - Enzo Caruso

Itinerary #5 - Lucio Liguori

Itinerary #6 - Ferdinando Vassallo

Itinerary #7 - Fausto Lubelli

Itinerary #8 - Paolo Sandulli


Ulysses and the Sirens in Front of Praiano

According to local mythology, the three islets of Li Galli represent the petrified bodies of the Sirens

Patrizia's Masks

With her ceramic masks Patrizia Marchi prepares people for a journey to Paradise

Ferdinando Vassallo and His Floating Stones

We are stones floating between the sea and the sky

Lucio and his Anchovies

All the elements are made by Lucio Liguori in glazed and painted ceramics

The Janare of Praiano

These fantastic figures highlight the obscure and grotesque aspects of our lives

A Stroll Down Praiano's Memory Lane

Artist Paolo Sandulli's celebration of the old fishing life

Homeric figures and local landscape

Fausto Lubelli's tribute to local culture and mythology

Amalfi's own Mao

Late Francesco Mangieri, known as Mao, trained on wood and became known for his sculpted stones

Bringing Back to Life Frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries

The NaturArte Project included the restoration of the frescoes in the Dominican convent of Santa Maria a Castro, above Praiano