A holiday in Positano, enjoying the enchantment of the Amalfi Coast
Positano stands to the west of the fascinating natural terrace on the Tyrrhenian Sea that is the Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the typical Mediterranean landscape of southern Italy reigns supreme, with white houses sloping down towards the sea and splendid beaches, alleys offering all the simple pleasures of life: the leisurely pace, refined boutiques, cafés and restaurants, and places that are custodians of history.
Discovering the beaches
The Marina Grande beach is Positano's most famous beach. It is 400 metres of sandy shore set in the inlet, where you may find yourself face to face with passing VIPs.
The view and the facilities available encourage lounging, but once you have left your sunbed, it is worth heading to the pier to sail to the Li Galli Archipelago: three small islands in a marine reserve surrounded by crystal-clear waters, that legend has it are populated by mermaids.
You can get there by dinghy or small boat.
An intimate cove embraces Fornillo Beach, made of pebbles and gravel; it's reachable on foot and a snorkelling paradise because of its magnificent seabed.
Continuing on foot, you can spend some quiet time on the Spiaggia di Laurito (Laurito Beach), where the cliffs are sheer, and nature is untouched.
The jagged coastline of the Gulf of Positano is full of ravines on the turquoise sea. Climb aboard a gozzo, the traditional boats, and ask to be taken to discover little beaches in secret coves, including La Porta, San Pietro Laurito and Arienzo. Many hotels also offer stretches of private beaches.
A divine trek
A hike in the Monti Lattari, immersed in nature. The Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods), was for many years the only link between the towns on the Amalfi Coast, before the main road was built. As you walk along, the Coast opens up to you from above and the view sweeps as far as Capri on clear days.
You pass through forests of holm oaks and quench your thirst at the numerous springs; you will find vertiginous caves and precipices, the remains of cave villages, and the limestone spire Il Pistillo.
You arrive at the village of Nocelle, where you can freshen up before resuming your trek.
For the more experienced and adventurous, a branch of the Sentiero degli Dei leads via an almost endless flight of steps to Cala Arienzo, usually reached by sea with little effort.
A holiday resort dear to the Romans
Roman aristocrats came to Positano and built extraordinary holiday residences here. There is much evidence of their fondness for this place, blessed with an enchanting landscape and a mild climate all year round, with the sea breeze alleviating the summer heat.
Find artefacts of the ancient holidaymakers at the Roman Archaeological Museum - MAR, which houses a part of a 1st century AD villa, buried by the eruption of Vesuvius and brought to the surface after years of archaeological excavations.
Positano is a vertical village, perched on a rock overlooking the sea. Wander through the village's many stairways and alleyways, and don't miss a visit to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, a stone's throw from Marina Grande Beach. Once a Benedictine monastery, later abandoned and renovated over the centuries, today it offers the architectural spectacle of a pale stone façade and a yellow, green and blue majolica dome. Inside, look out for the precious Byzantine icon.
Majolica has a long tradition in Positano, and in the village ateliers you can shop for ceramic objects, from plates to trinkets.
There are many boutiques selling elegant clothes if you want to follow the “Positano style”: soft, fluttering dresses, kaftans, light colours, shirts and trousers in linen and lightweight fabrics, and the ubiquitous swimwear for him and for her.
Over the centuries, Positano has seen a flourishing tradition of weaving, now reinterpreted in a contemporary, holiday mood. The style is completed with flip-flop shoes, also customised by the craftsmen.
After the sea, the delights of the village
Positano is also luxury and high society, and the whole area offers plenty of clubs, restaurants and bars. For evening entertainment, you can choose whether to stay up high in the venues clinging to the rock, in favour of the view, or in the beach clubs, where an aperitif at sunset is also a pleasant experience.
Take a seat on the terrace of a restaurant. Some good choices are mussel soup or a lemon-scented seafood salad, linguine with scampi and fried fish. Among the cheeses of the Monti Lattari, fior di latte, the same cheese that you will find on pizza, is the most popular. And if your gastronomic interests do not end there, find out how to join a themed tour: olive oil tours among the olive groves, and wine cellars amidst the vineyards.