Sunday, April 15, 2007

GETTING THERE: The closest airport to the Amalfi Coast is Capodichino in Naples. Fares from Washington start at about $770 round trip, via Alitalia. Other carriers flying this route -- most trips require two stops -- include Delta, United and US Airways. From the airport, we took an Alibus shuttle ($4 each) to Piazza Municipio in downtown Naples and walked to Porto Beverello, where we took the city-run water taxi, Metro del Mare, to Positano ($12 each), an hour and 45 minute ride. (It runs March 31-Oct. 14.) From Positano, we took a 15-minute, $33 taxi to Praiano, although we could have taken a bus for about $1.30 each.

WHERE TO EAT: Ristorante La Brace (Via G. Capriglione) specializes in seafood and regional cuisine. Appetizers and entrees for two with local wine, mineral water and tax cost $80. From the dining room you can admire the dome of San Gennaro church and views of the water. La Gavitella (Via Gavitella, sits on the rocks at the base of Praiano's bluffs just above the beach and offers quintessential Mediterranean cuisine as well as incomparable views of Positano Bay. Entrees range from $13 to $33.

The large street-side terrace at Bar del Sole (Via G. Capriglione) is the perfect place to people-watch while cooling off with a caffe freddo (espresso poured over blended ice, mixed with sugar).

WHERE TO FOOD SHOP: There are grocery stores all over Praiano, but we favored La Nuova Euro Frutta (Via Umberto I), because it was near our villa and the owner was so friendly: Since I was a regular customer, he often thanked me with free food, a cheap bottle of local wine or bunches of fresh herbs.

If you are staying in lower Praiano on the Vettica Maggiore side, try Alimentari Rispoli Silvio (Via G. Capriglione), a family-run grocery store with a great selection of goods and a fresh deli counter where you can purchase thin slices of Italy's outstanding prosciutto.

On Tuesday mornings and Saturday afternoons, an open-air market on Via Constanipoli features independent vendors selling everything from clothing to fruits and vegetables.

Local fishermen bring their daily catch to Pescheria Il Mare (Via G. Capriglione). In addition to a combative octopus, we purchased delicious mussels and clams here, all for $20.

The Macelleria butcher chop (Via Antico Seggio) has a modest but solid selection of meats and local cheeses.

INFORMATION: Comune di Praiano,

-- N.C.

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