San Gennaro

This church is the only example of baroque architecture on the Coast

By Giovanni Scala

Situated a few yards below the main Amalfi Coast road, the church of San Gennaro is the only example of baroque architecture on the Coast. Evidence of an early church, much smaller but also dedicated to San Gennaro, goes back to the beginning of the fourteenth century, when it was under the patronage of two noble families from Amalfi, the Corsarios and the D’Alagnos, who on August 18th, 1589 donated it to the "Universitas” of Praiano.

The old church was later demolished and the present one was completed in 1602. The dome was covered with majolica tiles, while the interior was enriched with stuccos and a terracotta tiled floor with elegant geometric designs containing fruit, flowers, leaves and birds (1771-1776).

Several tombstones were inserted into the floor but are no longer visible because covered by the new floor, a copy of the old one installed in 1966. The bell tower, next to the church, was begun in the late 1700s and completed in 1816. Of the same period is also the sacristy of the church with an octagonal dome, known as the chapel of San Gennaro. Three bronze doors have replaced the original wooden doors.

The square in front of the church was expanded with funds sent by the vettichesi who had emigrated to Argentina, the United States and France. In 1931 the façade was rebuilt, and in 1954 the square was decorated with fragments of majolica tiles. The church has a Latin cross form, with a central barreled vault that rests on five arches on each side.

In the central vault there is a bas-relief of S. Gennaro while the arches on the sides are decorated with stuccos depicting "putti", flowers and leaves. Inside the church, on the left side, you will find a marble altar with an oval painting of the Virgin Mary oval in stuccoed frame and another one decorated with a large painting on wood from end of 1500 of the “Madonna del Carmine with souls in Purgatory”. At the bottom of the right nave you will find an eighteenth-century pulpit decorated with gold, which was donated by the Cathedral of Amalfi in 1907. In the sacristy you can also admire a walled travertine basin made from a Roman cinerary urn.

A Convent in Paradise

In the XVI century, Dominican monks moved from Naples to build a convent high above the sea, on the side of a mountain, with a great view of Positano and Capri

San Luca l'Evangelista

This Romanesque-style church is designed on a Latin cross plan with three naves

Santa Maria di Costantinopoli

The small square in front of the church has a great 180-degree view of the coast from Capri and Positano

S.S. Annunziata a la Praia

The old church survived time and pirate incursions until a massive landslide destroyed it

San Giovanni

As St John once was the saint patron of Praiano this was its main church

San Tommaso

A beautifully situated 16th century chapel with a great view

San Nicola

Above the front door is a wooden choir with a beautiful XVIII century pipe organ

Santa Caterina di Alessandria

The original church probably dates back to the 11th century