A love affair with this hillside village along the Amalfi Coast that’s stood the test of time.
POSTED BY PINKY
A quarter of a century ago. Has it been that long since someone suggested that I visit Positano? Hadn’t even heard of the place prior to it (this was before the age of the internet, kids). So naturally…..I went. And boy, am I glad I did!
Needless to say, this town totally captivated me and I’ve been ushering friends over ever since, suggesting the same hotels and the same restaurants all these years. It’s like time stood still for Positano. Except now, more and more people have discovered it.
Yet it makes me happy to know that, based on such positive feedback I continue to receive from friends, the magic that is Positano lives on.
Side Trip or Base
Many people go to the Amalfi Coast as a day trip from Capri, Capri being the main destination.
Personally, I prefer doing it the other way around: using Positano as a base for two or three nights, with just a day trip to Capri and the Blue Grotto or the Faraglioni rocks by boat. If you have more time or if you’ve been to Capri before, take a boat ride around the Amalfi Coast instead and explore the other islands.
The site of a grand Roman villa some 2,000 years ago, Positano remained a sleepy fishing village for many years. Until a group of enterprising artists turned it into a holiday destination and hideaway for the intellectuals, writers, and other artists of the 1950s, organising lavish candle-lit dinners out of a wine cellar that exists to this day as Buca di Bacco, a restaurant and hotel close to the beach that’s worth checking out.
But it wasn’t until after the glamorous international jet set of the ’50s and ’60s had begun to frequent Positano – think Jackie Kennedy, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier – that it finally got some attention from the rest of the world.
Two movies were filmed here in relatively more recent years: “Only You” starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr. in 1994 and “Under The Tuscan Sun” starring Diane Lane in 2003.
Nowadays, it’s imperative that you book your accommodations as early as possible, specially if you plan to go on a weekend.
How to Get There and Around
You can reach Positano from either Naples or Rome. Take a bus or train to Sorrento, then from there take another bus or a taxi to the stop that’s closest to your hotel.
The easiest way to get to Positano is to either rent a car and drive, or hire someone to drive for you altogether. And when you get there, most places of interest can be reached on foot.
Boats to Capri and the other islands are also available, either as part of a group tour or for private hire. The options are plenty.
Beach or Hilltop
If your hotel is closer to the water, bear in mind that from the main road or drop-off point, there are many steps to get to the beach, some of them steep. So pack lightly, if you can.
The beauty of staying slightly further away from the beach, however, is the stunning view you get of the water and the town (make sure to book a room with a balcony facing the sea!). Sipping a glass of wine while watching the town’s lights gently illuminate the entire hillside at night, then waking up the next day to the vibrant Mediterranean colours of the sea and the town below while savouring a fresh cup of coffee…..priceless.
But even if you stay closer to the beach, you can still enjoy this view by having a nice, leisurely meal in one of the hillside restaurants, like Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant in Hotel Le Sirenuse.
And for a perfect ending to any seafood meal, you might want to try some freshly-bottled local limoncello, available for purchase in shops in case you want to bring home a bit of the Amalfi Coast with you.
The stretch from Viale Pasitea and Via Cristoforo Colombo all the way down to the beach are teemed with these shops. Other things to watch out for are local hand-painted ceramics, locally-made summer wear, and handmade leather sandals. Stuff we people in the tropics get a lot of use out of.
I have to admit, Positano was among those secrets I had hoped to be able to keep to myself for family and friends. But like any good thing, this bit of paradise deserves to be shared.
And speaking of sharing, ironically I have yet to go to Positano with the very person who introduced me to it in the first place – my husband. So hint hint, anytime’s a good time, dear.
Check out Positano.com for more information on a trip to the Amalfi Coast.
Photo Credit: all photos from Positano.com