“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you are gone.” – John Steinbeck
Positano, often referred to as the “Jewel of the Amalfi Coast” is in one word, idyllic. The landscape will completely overwhelm you. I first visited this magical, seaside town with my husband many years ago, because a friend recommended it to us. It was love at first sight…needless to say, we’ve visited quite a few times.
After flying into Rome and picking up our rental car, we started driving south. Many folks prefer to take another flight to Naples and then a train into Sorrento. But my husband loves to drive in Europe, and we like having our own car which gives us flexibility to visit other nearby places, at our own leisure without schedules. The first time we drove there, I was a bit worried about hubby driving on these foreign highways where speed limits are mere suggestions. Well, the highway ended up being the least of my worries. Once you pass Naples and start approaching the Costiera Amalfitana, the roads become progressively narrow and begin to hug the coastline. I was happy that our rental car was super compact, as these are tiny mountain switchback roads with steep rocky cliffs, and the smaller your car is, the easier the drive (trust me). The roads twisted and turned and as we approached Positano, the switchbacks combined with the height of the coastal cliffs, the stress of the speeding Vespas cutting us off, and the questionably teetering tour buses, all on these narrow, two-way streets, made my heart stop a few times. If you don’t like stressful driving, do yourself a favor and DO NOT drive on the Amalfi Coast, especially at night. However, I must recommend that you experience this drive at least once, the scenery is priceless, something that needs to be seen in person because no photo can do it justice. Though it was truly stunning to take in, after a while I was glad to leave our car parked and check into our hotel.
The famous luxury hotel in town Le Sirenuse, is the place to stay (it is amazing and our dinner at Ristorante La Sponda, was delicious with again, amazing town views). We stayed at the Hotel Poseidon, also recommended by our friend, and let me say, I don’t think it has much to envy, given rooms are one-fourth the price. It was beautiful, our room had a large outdoor patio with a balcony facing the famous Positano views, and there were plenty of amenities as well. Once you’re at your hotel, you might as well forget you have a car, unless you want to drive to nearby Ravello, Praiano or Amalfi, because everything you will do in Positano is by foot, it is an incredibly vertical town (get ready to have a daily workout).
Everyday we strolled the little streets and took in the shops, the food and the once again stunning sceneries. The first thing I wanted to see up close and personal was the very famous Positano landmark, the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, with its green and yellow mosaic tiled dome. It’s even more stunning in person.
Positano has many good restaurants and cafes. We love to frequent Buca di Bacco, at the foot of the hill, right on the beach. My husband loves the fresh local seafood in this restaurant (well, in all of Positano) and I of course love the pastas…gnocchi, tagliatelle, fusilli, orecchiette, you name it, all deliciously prepared with yummy sauces. We also love their fritto misto di pesce, a delicious dish composed of several types of fish, shrimp and calamari, even my picky daughter likes it!
Another great restaurant that we enjoy very much, not only for their amazing dishes, but also for the setting and views of the church dome, is Ristorante Al Palazzo located in the Hotel Palazzo Murat (another great hotel choice). We’ve enjoyed many dishes at this restaurant, but this is one place where we try to make room for dessert, they are just as amazing as their meals!
Shopping is another must in this cute little town, with the numerous quaint boutiques selling very stylish beachwear, custom-made leather sandals and plenty of beautiful ceramic and pottery stores. I highly recommend a quick visit to Umberto Carro (Via Pasitea, 30), they have amazingly beautifully crafted ceramics. Art lovers in Positano can find creations by young local artists who exhibit their works in the Galleria Idee d’Arte (Via Pasitea 76), which has a wealth of original collector’s items. We did some shopping here as well. Delikatessen (Via dei Mulini 5, 13, 15) is a gourmet haven to delight your palate. It sells local products, from wines to little marzipan fruits, biscuits and babas, but also lemon-scented handmade candles, artificial flowers, handmade dolls, limoncello bottles and table linens…something for everyone!
Positano will always be one of our favorite vacation destinations. Here are a few more photos from our various trips to this magical town…enjoy!
If you’ve visited Positano or have plans to, I’d love to hear what you enjoyed most. I guarantee you will fall in love with it just like we did!