Located in the heart of the Amalfi Coast, Positano is the pearl of Italy, nestled in a corner of paradise between steep cliffs and gentle waves. The main part of the city sits in an enclave in the hills leading down to the coast. Legends says that Positano was founded by a group of inhabitants from Paestum who were escaping from the attack of some Saraceni pirates.
Positano is best described by the words of John Steinbeck who in May 1953 wrote in Harper’s Bazaar the following words: “Positano bites deep“, he then went on to say “It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” These printed words launched mass tourism for this sea-town, and despite its popularity in the summer months it is still charming and magical even experiencing it along with hordes of tourists. To really appreciate its beauty arrive first by ferry to get a panoramic view of the town nestled into the mountain that drops into the sea. Then depart by car, no trip is complete without experiencing a drive on the narrow twists and turns of roadways that precariously cling to the cliff, but hire a driver so you can enjoy the view. We did exactly the opposite…we arrived first by bus and depart by ferry and our last day spent on Peninsula Sorrentine was absolutely fabulous!
The Amalfi Coast is stunning in its own right and offers a delightful place to get lost in beauty. We took a local Sitabus from Sorrento to Positano. It’s inexpensive and the buses are nice and clean; however, be sure you understand the schedule before you leave. While I wouldn’t mind being stranded on the Amalfi Coast, it isn’t very realistic This is the first thing you need to consider when you want to visit Amalfi Coast – how you plan to get there and depart. The typical way to get to Positano, if you’ve not rented a car, is by bus from Sorrento. There is a bus that originates there and stops at each town along the Amalfi Coast. If you’re coming from Naples, you will first have to take the inter-city train to Sorrento, then the bus to the Amalfi Coast. It drops you off at the very top of the mountain and you have to walk down a series of staircases to get into the main town area. To leave, you have to walk back up all of those stairs.
I’m not a big fan of heights, so the bus ride on the narrow mountain road gave me a queasy stomach. I even had to close my eyes, at times, when the bus was hugging the outside edge. But it was really exciting and I was brave enough to plaster my face to the window to see the magnificent sights the entire way.
After stepping off the bus in pastel drenched Positano, my fear was quickly replaced with wonder. I was frozen like a statue, staring at the jaw-dropping scenery in front of me. I was completely content with taking in the sites, browsing unique shops, checking out the beach, and eating!
If you’re coming for the sunbathing then yes, definitively allocate more time for Positano as its rainbow cliff-side houses, pebbled beaches and vibrant beach umbrellas and sun-lounges are perfectly positioned for pure relaxation.
We wandered around for awhile before sitting on the beach, watching a young bride and groom taking pictures by the shore. Because it was so hot outside, we decided to check out a staircase over on the left (if you are facing the mountain) side of the harbor. It led up the side of the mountain and then around the front, towards a small but beautiful beach. Positano has two main beaches, Spiaggia Grande which is the heart of sea edge and Fornillo Beach which is smaller and more secluded. We choose to stay on this one because it was less crowded and we were looking for a more peaceful spot to bask in the Mediterranean sun. But you must take into consideration that it requires a little more energy to get around. Positano is built into the side of a mountain, which makes it breathtakingly beautiful to look at, but there are a lot of staircases to climb and I’m sure your butts will love you for it! If you really want to see this beautiful city, walking and climbing stairs are the best ways. There is a little bus that winds back and forth up the hill (it will pick you up from the town center, next to the little church, NOT the big cathedral near the water front) and will even drop you off right in front of your hotel.
After basking in the sun and swimming a little, we decided it was time for lunch and we took the beautiful little path back to the town center. I could have spent hours dreaming away on the beach below but opted to stay in the moment as when you’re in Positano reality seems far more enticing.
It’s easy to spend many lazy hours in this beautiful town, lazing in the sun or shopping in any of Positano’s lovely boutiques and shops. Positano enjoy all the good effects of a gentle weather, thanks to its position, sheltered from northerly winds. The town develops in a vertical way, following the steep incline of the mountains rising sheer from the sea. The houses, leant each other, are painted with goudy colors, giving the impression of a precious stone with thousand facets that cause multicolor reflections and narrow streets, with boutiques made out from the basements of the houses, go down quickly among buildings as they were streams falling in ravines and all flow on the Spiaggia Grande, where is maybe the only case in the world where the panoramic view over the town on your back is most beautiful that the one you have on the front, facing the sea.
Who thinks of Positano, inevitably, ends up thinking about fashion and the beaches of Positano and the Amalfi Coast. In fact, this magnificent reality has much more to those who want to enjoy a tour of the traditional type. If you wish you can devote to visiting the interesting sights of Positano mainly composed of artifacts from various eras. The Ancient Romans built a number of sumptuous villas on the coast of Positano, the ruins of which can be seen in the vicinity of the Church dell’Assunta. It’s believed that the town, the original nucleus of which developed around a Benedictine abbey, was founded in the 9th century. The town grew considerably following the arrival of inhabitants from Paestum, fleeing Saracen incursions. After it was pillaged by Pisa in 1268, Positano increased its defenses, becoming similar to its powerful neighbor, Amalfi: with steep narrow roads, massive fortified walls, and a series of all-important watch towers.
At the centre of Positano you can see the brightly colored “maiolica” dome of Santa Maria Assunta, the main church of Positano. The church features a collection of intriguing works of art from the XIII and XVI century that are well worth visiting with the splendid majolica dome and a Byzantine mosaic floor. The majolica tiled dome can be seen from every corner of the town. A Byzantine inspired icon of a black Madonna, dating back to the 18th century, is conserved inside the church.
The name Positano is linked to a legend.
In ancient times, a Turkish boat became beached just off the shores of what has since come to be known as Positano. Aboard the ship there was a painting of the Virgin Mary. The captain heard the painting whisper “posa, posa” (‘set me down, set me down’) and, obediently, threw the image into the sea. Miraculously, the ship floated. The locals built a Church on the spot where the painting washed ashore, interpreting the episode as a sign that the Virgin had chosen their town as resting place.
Thanks to the innate sense of hospitality of its inhabitants Positano has became one of the most famous tourist places all over the world and it has been featured in many films. It is also internationally known for its clothing production: many little, but elegant boutiques, which are almost everywhere on both sides of streets and lanes, can satisfy all the requests of a cosmopolitan clientele.
It’s a glamorous holiday destination for those who want to see and be seen, and a peaceful retreat, too. You can’t rush – the streets won’t permit it. Vertiginous and winding, they thread their way through the town, descending towards the bay and looping in a fashion which forces you to saunter. Flat shoes are advisable, unless you’re Italian.
Picture postcard and colorful Positano is a gem on the Amalfi Coast. It’s an elaborate Neapolitan nativity scene set amidst the rocks, a vertical town where the roads are replaced by steep flights of steps. A panorama of houses painted in pink, terracotta and peach and trendy shops, fashionable and fine hotels lining its steep streets displays in front of your very own eyes. After wondering on the streets of this small town we choose a table at one of the restaurants located on Spiaggia Grande beach. We thought that a pizza capricciosa would be great for our lunch and we choose a cherry tomato and spinach salad to go with it. We were totally right on the pizza – it was incredible! Definitely one of the best pizzas we had on the entire trip and they cut it in half for us! The salad was basic, but a good side dish. That pizza, though… Wow!
In Positano you can do as much or as little as you want. It can most definitely offer a perfect holiday. I’m telling you : one trip to this magical country won’t be enough. After the delicious lunch we took the boat back to Sorrento and enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the sea! Three miles away from the coast rise the three islets of Li Galli, often referred to as the “Sirenuse”, which were inhabited by Sirens who attempted to seduce with their song all those who sailed nearby. Among those to have been enchanted by the islets’ mysterious beauty, the ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who spent the last years of his life here, is, perhaps, the most famous.
Everyone needs to see Italy and the Amalfi Coast with their own eyes. Photos and words don’t begin to do it justice. Italy is so breathtaking that it can lift up anyone’s spirits, and also be quite relaxing if you are away from the major attractions.
When traveling, one of the easiest things to wear is a fluid dress perfect for the beach, hence I packed many dresses for this holiday. I forgot to tell you, though we were in June, it was so hot outside that I wanted to walk in my bathing suit.
I really hope you enjoy my pictures and thank you for joining me on this exciting journey of blogging and traveling.