Whilst visiting Italy in 2012, we spent a day in the amazing village of Positano, on the Amalfi Coast. As we chose to stay in Sorrento while we were there, we decided to take a day trip to check out the beautiful coastlines and beaches of Positano. By bus, it is only a short 30min trip from the centre of Sorrento, and certainly worth the visit.
Positano is the coast’s most picturesque and photogenic town, with steeply-stacked houses tumbling down to the sea in a cascade of sun-bleached peach, pink and terracotta colours. There certainly is something special about the place and this is reflected, predictably, in the prices, which tend to be higher here than elsewhere on the coast.
Positano was a port of the Amalfi Republic in medieval times, and prospered during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the town had fallen on hard times. More than half the population emigrated, mostly to America.
Positano was a relatively poor fishing village during the first half of the twentieth century. It began to attract large numbers of tourists in the 1950s, especially after John Steinbeck published his essay about Positano in Harper’s Bazaar in May, 1953: “Positano bites deep”, Steinbeck wrote. “It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”
Almost everywhere on the Amalfi Coast, the sun disappears behind the Latteri Mountains in the early afternoon so, to get maximum sunshine and to make sure you find a place on one of the Amalfi Coast’s beaches, none of which are particularly large, you’ll want to head to the sea straight after breakfast.
Here, you can try and find a patch of ‘free’ beach or pay for the privilege of lazing on a sun lounger in one of the expensive waterfront bathing establishments.
The more adventurous will no doubt want to hire a boat (with or without crew), with which to reach one of the enchanting little inlets only accessible from the sea, where you can swim in blissful solitude.
The Amalfi Coast boasts some of the world’s finest fish cuisine. Shrimps, redfish, pezzogne, bream, sea urchins, octopus, blue fish, molluscs, are the protagonists of unforgettable recipes such as “scialatielli ai frutti di mare”, a dish made with sea food and the fresh pasta typical of the Amalfi Coast. We had a beautiful fresh seafood lunch overlooking the ocean with a bottle of local italian wine. Perfection indeed!
Positano’s main beach is one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan of all those on the Amalfi Coast. Along the large, three hundred meter long beach, which lies almost directly opposite the archipelago of Li Galli, there is a string of restaurants and bars and a famous discotheque (Music On the Rocks). Its easy to see why the beach has become the focus of the town’s social life, where the locals come to mingle with the world’s celebrities and tourists. The beach has two bathing establishments and a free area, from where excursions along the coast and shuttle boats to the nearby bays depart.
With its glamorous, celebrity-packed beaches, breathtakingly gorgeous seascapes, and boutique-filled historic center, its easy to see why Positano is the most sought after destination on the Amalfi Coast. Next time we travel to Italy, staying in Positano is high on the to-do list!