“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”
When planning our trip, we had waffled a bit on whether to make the effort of going to the Amalfi Coast. After all, we were also hiking the trails of the Cinque Terre (read here). Many sites recommended doing one or the other, so does a family really need another seaside village? ABSOLUTELY. The likeness begins and ends at stunning views and colorful buildings clutching the cliffs. There is simply no place on earth like the Amalfi Coast, and it is no wonder it is renowned as a luxurious and romantic hot spot.
Positano, known as the most picturesque of the coastal villages is a painting come to life. Dating back to the 16th century, it was a poor fishing village until the 1950’s when tourists began to descend, further increased by the above Steinbeck quote which appeared in Harper’s Bazaar in 1953. Beautifully stacked buildings reach towards the sky, and vibrant orange and blue umbrellas dot the beaches as people laze away the day, soaking up the sun. The fashion conscious flock to boutiques lining narrow alleys, massive yachts adorned with helicopters drift thru the marina, and the infamous Sentiero Degli Dei (Path of the Gods) is tackled by wide eyed hikers. From hundreds of steps, to a narrow one way street winding up and down the hills, Positano, is Italy electrified.
HOW WE ARRIVED:
The Amalfi Coast requires a bit of planning to get to, and there are many ways to do so. You will come from one of 3 major hubs, Naples, Sorrento, or Salerno, followed by a transfer via car, ferry or local SITA bus. If coming from Naples/Sorrento, many sites (as well as the locals) recommend doing a private transfer direct from Naples, although it can be costly. We wanted to avoid Naples and the local train as we had ridden it to Pompeii on a previous trip, so we opted to take the high speed train from Florence into Salerno. We then took the ferry to Positano and I am so glad we made this choice!! The ferry is a short walk from the station (even with kids and suitcases in tow) and we purchased our ticket on site for less than 50 Euros. It was stress free and the coastal scenery during the 70 minute ride was absolutely stunning.
*** For a more in depth look at route options, click here.
*** The ferry only runs during the warmer months, for the schedule, check here.
WHERE WE STAYED:
In keeping with our desire for small scale accommodations where we could get to know the locals, I was intrigued by both the excellent reviews and the room rates of Dimora del Podesta. Finding little gems like this place is what turns a trip into an experience, and we quickly fell head over heels for the family that runs this 3 room B&B. Pietro greeted us warmly and brought us to a beautiful room that was light and airy, with a private bath and a quaint balcony wrapped in 100 year old bougainvilleas. While I stood in awe of the sea views, his mother happily brought the girls some juice from the kitchen, which, I might add, harbors an “honesty fridge” filled with drinks and snacks and smells like bakery heaven in the evening. And just as you go to pinch yourself, Pietro delivers said bakery heaven on a breakfast tray and shares stories of the his grandfather and the history of the building. I.Love.Italy.
** Be mindful that there are no roads to the Positano ferry dock. You will need to haul everything uphill to a square near the main road. Here you can take a taxi or catch the “Internal Positano Bus” (which does a loop in one direction). The B&B is located in Fornillo and the stop is marked by intricate carvings inside a grotto.
Directly below the B&B is the family restaurant, Saraceno D’Oro, where we met the second of 3 brothers, the exuberant Daniele, and enjoyed several amazing dinners as well as taking pizza up to our room for lunch. With also running the hotel next door, this family seems to know everyone! And if they don’t, strangers quickly become friends as they take a seat for a meal.
On our final night we decided to change it up for dinner with a view. We enjoyed a meal at Caffe Positano, and the backdrop was as spectacular as the Eggplant Parmesan.
Positano has several beaches, the most touristy being the 300 meter long Marina Grande Beach, where the ferries arrive. We did visit this beach, but on the advice of Pietro, we spent the day at Fornillo Beach, the one enjoyed by locals. We even conquered the 500 stairs that led down to it from the B&B! This is an excellent beach for kids who love sea glass, the water was clear and two chairs with umbrellas was less than 15 euros.
WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN:
Perhaps one of my favorite things about Italy, is that when the sun goes down, life truly begins. We spent each evening watching the lights come on, twinkling like stars along the coast. We would share a bottle of wine and listen to live music being played below, and we were fortunate to enjoy fireworks over neighboring villages.
As with so many places we visited in Italy, we fell in love with the vibrancy and life of Positano. It is a place that is so intriguing and unique, offering up an energy that completely fills you. From sea glass to sea views, the Amalfi Coast is a destination that is sure to win your heart. Until we meet again.
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