Basking in the sun on steep cliffs overlooking shimmering azure seas, Positano is one of the jewels in the Amalfi Coast’s glorious crown. Steeply-stacked, sun-bleached houses cascade down the mountainside in a rainbow of pastel hues, winding cobblestone streets are lined with wisteria-bougainvillea-draped hotels, chic cafés, and smart boutiques, and bronzed locals go about their daily business in a laid-back and relaxed southern Italian style.
Positano has long been been a magnet for the rich and famous, earning its star-status in 1953 when John Steinbeck wrote: “Nearly always when you find a place as sublimely beautiful as Positano, your impulse is to conceal it.” Since then, the picturesque coastal town has played host to A-listers and epicureans, such as ‘60s sirens Sophia Loren, Greta Garbo, and Italian film director Franco Zefirelli, and was the first Italian town to import bikinis from France, giving birth to ‘Moda Positano’.
The hub of village life is the beautiful crescent of Spiaggia Grande (Grand Beach) where the glam set show off their wares and children eat melting gelati in the sun. Fisherman pull their boats ashore under the colorful majolica dome of the parish church Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta and quaint trattorias overlooking the beach are packed with visitors sipping aqua di limone (freshly squeezed lemonade) or limoncello.
Lining the higgledy-piggledy streets are an array of colorful shops selling beautiful textiles, hand painted tiles and mosaics, and eclectic ceramics and stylish boutiques display retro, boho-chic fashions that have long since been synonymous with this capitale della moda. Scents of jasmine and citrus float in the air from the myriad stalls selling beautifully fresh produce, and tang of lemons can almost be tasted.
Spend long, lazy days tanning, swimming, shopping and eating, and when the mood takes you, head for the hills where you can wander the Sentieri degli Dei (Pathways of the Gods), or explore the sleepy, mountain villages of Montpertuso and Nocello. Take a boat to the island of Capri or Ischia and visit the Grotta dello Smeraldo cave.
The ethereal beauty of this tiny Italian town wraps its arms around you and permeates every pore, leaving an indelible mark on your soul.
Where to Stay
Via C Colombo 30 (00 39 089 875 066)
Named after Le Sirenuse (Islands of the Sirens), which it overlooks, this world-famous boutique hotel exudes elegance and charm. A patrician house-turned family hotel, an exquisite majolica-covered terrace and swimming pool offer breath-taking views, and an exclusive spa promises to delight.
Via Pastia 148 (00 39 089 811 111)
Surrounded by lush, landscaped gardens, this luxurious villa is the epitome of Positano style. Exclusive and refined, guests enjoy pampering hospitality, outstanding service, and some of the best views in town.
Via dei Mulini 23 (00 39 089 875 177)
Hidden behind great cascades of pink bougainvillea in the midst beautiful botanical gardens, and oozing 18th-century elegance and charm, the Palazzo Murat is one of Positano’s most exclusive hotels. Built in the Neapolitan-baroque style, it was the summer residence of Gioacchino Murat, King of Naples, and still exudes a centuries-old ambiance today.