Ok…get your walking shoes on for this one. Not for the faint hearted: 1300 steps from the village, up the mountain to Convento di Santa Maria a Castro. This is a beautiful walk that will take you about half an hour to an hour depending on your level of fitness and how many times you stop to take photos!
Although steep in parts, the path is well maintained with places to rest if needed. Take your time…get lost in the peace and serenity…enjoy the views and take note of the natural beauty around you. Purple crocus with their bright yellow stamens were blooming when I was there last – a very pretty reminder that spring was on its way. And of course there are the amazing stone and marble sculptures of Francesco Mangieri “Mao” to stop and admire too.
Stone was chosen for this itinerary, rather than the ceramics of the others because it blended more naturally into the woodland environment. Mythological figures and medieval characters of the Amalfi period were the inspiration for Mao’s remarkable sculptures. There are thirty of them in total.
There are also fourteen ‘stations of the cross’ guiding you along the path. These are either simple rustic wooden crosses with the number of the station marked on a rock beneath them or just a rock on its own. You will also see a shrine near the grotto, as you approach the convent.
The convent itself, has its own story to tell and I will do a blog post on that in the coming weeks. Make sure you see the frescoes inside the convent when you are here though. Several of them have been restored as part of the Praiano NaturArte Project. The “Madonna with Child” fresco in the nave of the church is amazing – just beautiful. Another fresco upstairs “Burying of Jesus” was also restored, as was the cabinet in the aisle on the left hand side of the church. The grounds of the convent, with their spectacular views are also perfect for a picnic, so make sure you bring something to eat and drink with you.
You will love this walk – a harmonious fusion of nature and art. Exactly as the Praiano NaturArte Project intended.
The other Itineraries:
A map detailing all the Praiano NaturArte itineraries can be obtained from the Praiano Tourist Office. Rosalba is passionate about Praiano and will be more than happy to provide you with all the information you require.
Address: Via Gennaro Capriglione, 116b 84010 Praiano SA
Tel: +39 089 874557
A map and brochure can also be downloaded here.
Note: photographs of artists are courtesy of http://www.amalficoasting.org