On to Praiano

We continued on. The constricted, serpentine road twisted and turned, curling back on itself in places.

The intense blue of the Mediterranean Sea sparkled to our right.

Positano came into view, its pastel-colored houses cascading down the hill like frosting on a cupcake.

Positano -- pretty in pastels

Around another corner, just a few miles beyond, Praiano, our final destination, appeared.

Just around the corner -- Praiano

Although we had the address of the villa that would become our home for the coming week, we still had to stop and ask locals where we could find the elusive Via Ruocco, where the villa was located. After learning that Via Ruocco was actually a street of stairs, Giuseppe pulled over and we got out.

The van was parked on a tiny road hemmed in by a rock wall on one side and stone buildings on the other; it was hard to imagine this was the main road of upper Praiano. Throughout the week to come, we would traverse it on foot many times.

I'll bet the main street in your town doesn't look like this.

Today, however, we were laden with our bags and, most importantly, Nichole’s wedding dress, and were only concerned with getting our gear up to the villa.

Glancing about, Nichole recognized a palm tree from one of the website photos.  She and Allie walked up a steep pathway to the level above, appearing overhead a few minutes later to wave at us to come forth. The villa was up this way.

With bags in tow, we found ourselves on a small paved pathway that led to the foot of a very steep set of stone stairs. A ceramic sign affixed to a rock wall leading upwards confirmed Nichole’s findings: Via Ruocco. This was the “street” we had been looking for.

You can see why the van would not be driving up Via Ruocco.

The owner, Paolo, appeared and unlocked a door cut into the stone wall that bordered the path. The door swung open to reveal a strange-looking platform connected to some sort of mechanized pulley system. This, we soon learned, was a luggage elevator. Very clever — our piles of bags rode up, a few at a time, to the lower level of the villa situated straight up from where we stood. Bodies, however, had to use their own steam.

Halfway up, a gaping green door marked the entrance to Villa Giampa, our temporary Amalfi Coast home. In awe, we stepped through the portal cut into the stone wall and found ourselves in a Mediterranean wonderland.


4 thoughts on “On to Praiano

  1. we will be staying at the Villa Giampa toward the end of May and have been looking for the “street” via ruocco ever since we got the address. what is the main road that the staircase asends and what are some landmarks?



    • Hi Steve, You are so lucky to be staying at Villa Giampa! It’s a heavenly place — very, very special! I warn you, you will never want to leave! It’s kind of hard to describe, but if you use the little grocery/wine shop called Tutto Per Tutti (Everything For Everyone) as a landmark, you can find it. Tutto Per Tutti is at a bend of Via Umberto. Taking the upper part of the bend, you will come to Via Flavio Gioia that veers off to your right and makes a hairpin turn. Walk up that narrow road and you eventually come to Via Ruocco. It’s tricky and the only way we first found it was by spying the palm trees of the villa that we recognized from the photos we saw online. But just ask anyone around and they’ll show you where Via Ruocco is. You cannot drive a car on it. It’s strictly a path with steps going straight up. It’s divine! Let me know how your visit goes!

  2. Please be sure to let me know how your visit goes. And I’d love to see any photos you take of one of our favorite spots in the world. Remember when you’re at Villa Giampa that a very special wedding took place on the upper terrace. Ciao!

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