Even in the Ancient times, Romans recognized the coast’s intense beauty, building gorgeous villas along its borders. You can sometimes still see the remains of these lavish buildings. The town originally developed around a Benedictine Abbey in the 9th Century. We also know that it grew significantly in size once the inhabitants of Paestum arrived when fleeing from the Saracens. Eventually, it became a fully fortified town after a pillaging in 1268 prompted the building of steep narrow roads, massive walls, and watch towers.
The name ‘Positano’ also originates in a legend. There was supposedly a Turkish boat that became beached off its shores. Shortly after, a painting of the Virgin which was on board whispered “posa, posa”, meaning “set me down”. Accordingly, the men threw the painting overboard, and the boat began to float again. The painting eventually washed ashore, and the men built a church in its place out of gratitude.
Interestingly, Positano Amalfi Coast did not become a tourist center until the 20th Century, when the SS163 road was built. Soon after, however, an intellectual crowd including Escher, Steinbeck, Picasso, Klee, Zeffirelli, and Liz Taylor chose it as their favorite holiday destination.
Within the town, you can enjoy wandering its narrow streets, filled with eclectic boutiques and delicious foods. Moreover, you can wonder at the beautiful Majolica-tiled church dome of the Santa Maria Assunta, which you can spot from almost anywhere in Positano. Inside, you will find a byzantine-inspired black Madonna, dating back to the 18th Century.
On Positano’s coast you will find the Spiaggia Grande. This is one of the Amalfi Coast’s largest beaches at 300m long. It hosts a glamorous crowd of artists and actors. Alternatively, you can follow a coastal path from here to the Spiaggia Fornillo, a more peaceful beach.
There are many paths from Positano, either around the coast or up into the small mountain range above it. Alternatively, you can take a sea taxi to some of the bays and beaches around Positano that you can only reach by sea. Favourites include Remmese, Clavel, and Cavone.
You can travel to Positano by car. It will take roughly 75 minutes from Naples, and only 20 from Sorrento. Moreover, coaches leave from Sorrento and Salerno which can take you here on a day trip, for example. In the summer months, Naples also offers a ferry service to this tiny seafront paradise.