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—  Comune  —
Comune di Positano
Positano's beach from the roadway.

Coat of arms
Positano is located in Italy
Location of Positano in Italy
Coordinates: 40°38′N 14°29′E / 40.633°N 14.483°E / 40.633; 14.483Coordinates: 40°38′N 14°29′E / 40.633°N 14.483°E / 40.633; 14.483
Country Italy
Region Campania
Province Salerno (SA)
Frazioni Montepertuso, Nocelle
 - Mayor Domenico Marrone
 - Total 8 km2 (3.1 sq mi)
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (1 April 2009)
 - Total 3,968
 - Density 496/km2 (1,284.6/sq mi)
 - Demonym Positanesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 84017
Dialing code 089
Patron saint San Vito
Saint day June 15
Website Official website

Positano is a small town and comune on the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana), in Campania, Italy. The main part of the city sits in an enclave in the hills leading down to the coast.



Positano was a port of the Amalfi Republic in medieval times, and prospered in the 16th and 17th centuries. But by the mid-19th century, the town had fallen on hard times. More than half the population emigrated, mostly to Australia.

Positano was a relatively poor fishing village during the first half of the 20th century. It began to attract large numbers of tourists in the 1950s, especially after John Steinbeck published his essay about Positano in Harper's Bazaar in May, 1953: "Positano bites deep", Steinbeck wrote. "It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone."

Main sights

Positano's beach.

The church of Santa Maria Assunta features a dome made of majolica tiles as well as a 13th Byzantine century icon of a black Madonna. According to local legend, the icon had been stolen from Byzantium and was being transported by pirates across the Mediterranean. A terrible storm had blown up in the waters opposite Positano and the frightened sailors heard a voice on board saying "Posa, posa!" ("Put down! Put down!"). The precious icon was unloaded and carried to the fishing village and the storm abated.


Positano has been featured in several films, including Only You (1994), and Under the Tuscan Sun (2003). It also hosts the annual Cartoons on the Bay Festival, at which Pulcinella awards for excellence in animation are presented. From July 1967 and through most of the 1970s, Positano was home of singer-songwriter Shawn Phillips and was where most of his best known work was composed. Also, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones wrote the song "Midnight Rambler" in the cafes of Positano while on vacation. Today, tourism is by far the major industry in Positano. Positano is also very popular for L"Albertissimo", an alcoholic tipple that can only be found at a small stall at the main harbour called "L'alternativa".

See also

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Positano in January 2005
Positano in January 2005

Positano is a small picturesque town with splendid coastal views, on the famous Amalfi Coast in Campania, Italy. The town itself is perched on an enclave on the face of a hill and winds down towards the waters of the Amalfi Coast. Naturally beautiful, Positano attracts thousands of visitors every year. All year long, the town is always full of people, but if you are planning to visit Positano, it would be best to schedule your trip during the spring season.

  • By Bus: take the Sita bus from Sorrento or Salerno (a bit longer, but nice!). From Sorrento sit next to a window on the right hand side for the best views. The bus drops you at the top of the town. You must walk, taxi, or bus to your hotel. During the peak season (starting in late April) this bus can get very crowded. You may have to wait a couple hours and fight your way onto a bus to get back.
  • By Car: Take the main road off of the Autostrada from Sorrento but make sure to have a reservation at a car park as it is very difficult to find parking.
  • By Ferry: Take a ferry from Naples. Slightly more expensive than the bus but you'll save an hour on the road and get some truly amazing views of the cliffs on the Amalfi coast. For connections between Positano and Amalfi and Positano and Salerno, you need the Coop Sant Andrea [1] ferry service, the only company which operates this line.
  • Read about the unified public transport ticket Campania Unico.
  • By Foot: There are loads of little stairs leading from everywhere to everywhere straight. Alternatively there is the one road meandering down to the harbour.
  • By Bus: a local bus goes down and - especially - up the hill following the meandering always congested road. On that bus no Unico Campania tickets are valid! Pay 1 Euro to ride the orange bus around Positano.
  • Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta. This is one of the most famous attractions in Positano. The old church, boasting of a majestic dome, was built in the 1920s and is the location of the famous 13th century Byzantine icon, the Madonna di Positano  edit
  • The place itself.
  • The harbor.
  • The shops near the harbor.
  • Ferry trip to Paestum or Ischia and Capri (including the Blue Grotto) during summer months.
  • Or if you are after luxury, charter a private motor-boat with Charter La Dolce Vita [2] and you can design your own itinerary with the captain. Suggested ideas include departing Positano for a full-day tour to Capri, circling island with the grottos or out to Ischia, or along the Sorrento Coast or just cruising along the Amalfi Coast.
  • Soak up the beauty on either of Positano's two beaches: Fornillo, the smaller, more secluded beach is accessible either by a set of stairs from the grotto above or via a path from Spiaggia Grande. Fornillo has a more laid back atmosphere with four beach bars lining the shore and no ferry traffic. Spiaggia Grande, the main beach and ferry port, is the hub of activity in Positano. Don't miss it, but don't forget there is much more to Positano.
  • Lemons, extra large.
  • All sorts of lemon products.
  • Colorfully painted tiles.
  • Colorful silks.
  • Limoncello (lemon liqueur produced mainly in the region around the Gulf of Naples and the coast of Amalfi and Islands of Ischia and Capri)
  • Grottino Azzurro, Via Guglielmo Marconi 158, +39 089 875466. is a cheap and nice local restaurant offering local food close to the first bus stop, Chiesa Nuova, coming from Sorrento. The owners are an old Italian couple that are not bothered by the fact that they only speak Italian and you only anything but. They just serve you their very tasty food.  edit
  • Da Costantino, Via Corvo, +39 089 875738, [3]. at the very top of Positano offers a spectacular view of the entire town and the sea. The pizza is divine and other specialties include cheese crepes, gnocchi and bolognese. Prices are reasonable and this is a great place for those looking for good food on a budget.  edit
  • Da Vincenzo, Viale Pasitea 172, +39 089 875128, [4]. With bells hanging throughout the restaurant, maintains a high quality of service and unique style. Chefs offer detail-oriented plates from the grilled vegetable antipasti to incredible fresh fish. Go hungry, as you will not want to pass up on appetizers, a main course and a dessert. Marcella makes homemade desserts that are legendary in her family. Expect to pay a little more for a full dinner, however it is well worth it. Viva le donne!  edit
  • Next2, Viale Pasitea, +39 089 8123516, [5]. Locals flock here on weekends so that midnight on a Saturday feels like a large table-hopping family reunion at which outsiders are extremely welcome. Considering the fun of all this, the food is far more delicious than it needs to be, with ambitious dishes such as the supremely tender "Italian sushi," the fish and vegetable tempura, and traditional favorites like carpaccio di orata with pink pepper and mint and smoked tuna with zucchini and mozzarella. Rare local bottles fill out the wine list, and the graciously unobtrusive, unusually prompt service is in itself a find. Admire the slick all-white dining room and bar from a distance; the vine-covered courtyard, lit by bucket candles on every table and alive with happy chatter, is the place to be. entrées, $9–$17.  edit
  • Al Palazzo, Via dei Mulini 23, 089 875 177‎. A fantastic outdoor restaurant in a torchlit courtyard featuring beautiful views of the surrounding cliffs. The atmosphere is quiet and relaxed, tables are seated a respectable distance from each other, the staff is exceedingly professional, and the food is simply delicious -- well worth the expense compared to other restaurants in the area that are more heavily frequented by tourists. The wine list can get very expensive very fast, but offers some very enjoyable primitivos in the 25 euro range.  edit

Mediterraneo and Saraceno D'Oro also offer local specialties for the budget conscious. Located next to each other, near the Grotto of Fornillo, Mediterraneo serves seafood and pasta and Saraceno D'Oro specializes in pizza.

  • Next2[6] is one of Positano's newer additions is a relaxed wine and cocktail bar near the Grotto of Fornillo. During summer months they host DJs several times a week and this spot is a favorite of those looking to have a drink and relax without bumping and grinding with sweaty party-goers.
  • Music on the Rocks is the dance club in Positano. Check the schedule for the various DJs and theme nights. This club is located on the far side of Spiaggia Grande and has fantastic terraces and views of the sea. The crowd in the club varies from seasoned locals to international celebrities. Drinks are creative and strong but the price reflects both.
  • California Hotel Positano – Via C. Colombo 141 [7]. Telephone +39 089 875 382 • Fax +39 089 812 154. A three star hotel of Positano placed in an historic building of the 18th century belonged to a Neapolitan noble family, with 15 guestrooms divided in 14 doubles and one quadruple with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Thanks to its professional service, the Hotel California is also the ideal accommodation to celebrate your wedding on the Amalfi Coast.
  • Casa Celeste[8]. Located just a few steps from the Grotto of Fornillo, this family-run bed and breakfast will steal your heart. Nonna Celeste makes breakfast every morning and you will be astounded to see this little old lady walk up and down the stairs to Fornillo Beach, barefoot. Casa Celeste also owns a beach bar, Da Ferdinando, on Fornillo Beach, so you will get to know Nonna Celeste's whole family. If you are looking for an authentic Italian experience, Casa Celeste is ideal.
  • Conca d'oro Hotel[9] opened in 1949 from an idea of Giovanni Cappiello. An ancient villa in the middle of a beautiful garden full of orange and lemon trees surround the hotel today, as in the past, guests love the setting of the hotel. The Villa Giacinta is operated by this hotel, and is a beautiful (if expensive) option for traveling groups. The villa contains 4 bedrooms (3 doubles and one twin-sized), ~4 bathrooms, a large foyer and living room, and a comfortably-sized kitchen (great for cutting down on expenses in this expensive tourist town). Additionally, there are tiled porches at the front entrance and off the master bedroom and small balconies with great views in some of the other bedrooms. The Villa is cleaned daily, and the cleaning staff are friendly, nice, and deliver fresh figs to the kitchen in summer! Be warned, though, that both the villa and the Hotel Conca D'Oro are a 15 minute very steep walk to and from the beach/port, and parties with elderly visitors or children may be better off near the beach.
  • Hotel Casa Albertina Positano – Via Tavolozza [10]. Telephone +39 089 875143 • Fax +39 089 811540. A family and cozy three star hotel of Positano with 20 bedrooms including also a family room capable to host 2 children and 2 adults. Besides the facilities expected from a three star hotel of the Amalfi Coast, such as TV, private bath, mini bar, terrace and telephone, some guest rooms of the Hotel Casa Albertina Positano also have a hydro massage bathtub. The rates start from euros 170 for a double standard.
  • Hotel Poseidon - Positano, Via Pasitea 148, +39 089 81 11 11 (, fax: +39 089 87 58 33). [11]The Hotel Poseidon is perched on a mountainside overlooking the sea of the Amalfi coast. Decorated with Antique furniture  edit
  • Hotel Royal Prisco Positano – Via Pasitea, 102[12]. Telephone +39 089 8122022 • Fax +39 089 8123042. The Royal Prisco Positano is a three star hotel of this beautiful city of the Amalfi Coast, offering Standard and Deluxe bedrooms, and Junior and Royal Suites. The Deluxe are placed on the second floor and are a little bit larger than the Standards, but both boast a balcony with a sea view. In comparison to the Junior Suites the Royals presents a bigger terrace and also a Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.
  • Hotel Savoia Positano – Via C. Colombo, 73[13]. Telephone +39 089 875003 • Fax +39 089 811844. The Savoia is a convenient three star hotel of the town of Positano, one of jewel of the Amalfi Coast. This hotel offers a friendly staff and comfortable services. Standard and deluxe bedrooms with terrace, private bathroom, satellite TV and air conditioning for this three star accommodation located on the hillside of Positano.
  • Hostel Brikette[14] is apparently the only low budget hostel in town - itself having peppered prices. You would want to book well in advance since it gets booked out by American youngsters. It is clean, has a lovely breakfast, and terraces where you can admire the view in the evening and drink some red wine. The girls at the check-in speak an almost too native American English, so don't be afraid to call. Caveat: you will get kicked out from 11AM-2:30PM for cleaning, but you want to be somewhere else admiring the area during this period anyway.
  • Posa Posa Hotel, Via Pasitea 165. The 4-star historical Hotel Posa Posa has a splendid location in the center of Positano, set in the mountain-side descending to the sea. In the marvelous picture of the Amalfi Coast, surrounded by houses, arches, and domes. A few minutes walk downhill will take you to the beach, passing boutiques and panoramic pavement cafes along the way. A circular bus routes passes outside the hotel for those days when you might prefer not to walk.
  • Le Sirenuse[15] is a particularly famous place to stay in Positano. It was featured in the 1994 movie Only You starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. At Le Sirenuse the view will cost you more than 800 Euros. The better view you'll have while eating breakfast on your terrace is just 170 Euros a night (2007 prices). The location seems perfect for walking and exercise. There are only stairs up to Villa Rosa, but a porter will be happy to run back and forth to bring your luggage to your room. They can find a parking spot for your car. The staff is very friendly and helpful (and very strong). It takes 15-20 minutes to walk to the beach, and along the way are the shops and restaurants. It's all steps and stairs to the beach so bring appropriate shoes. (The best way to enjoy Le Sirenuse might be on the way back from the beach. Stop in and have a glass of spumate in the pool lounge area. While we were sipping, an invitation-only fashion show started, and they invited us to stay.)
  • Villa Nettuno. It is clean and low-budget, with spectacular views of the sea. A brother and sister run the place, and if you're lucky, you'll even meet their mother. The entrance is hard to find, but once you see the little sign, you'll climb up several flights of narrow stairs. If you go in spring, you'll take in the intoxicating aroma of wisteria along with the unforgettable views. The place gets a little spooky late at night, but that only adds to its charm.
  • Villa Gabrisa Positano – Via Pasitea, 219/227 [16]. Telephone +39 089 811498 • Fax +39 089 811607. An ancient holiday home dedicated to the Rispoli family, today turned into a four star hotel of Positano with only nine guestrooms offering a fantastic view on the Mediterranean Sea. The Villa Gabrisa Hotel also presents its own restaurant Da Gabrisa, where one can enjoy the southern delicious cousine and the genuine wine of the Campania region.
  • Villa Giusy Positano – Vicolo Vito Savino, 17 - Cap: 84017, Positano, Italy. [17]. Telephone +39 06 64520553 • Fax +39 06 64520553. Cosy guest house of the lovely town of Positano with five bedrooms divided in singles, doubles and twins. All with private bath and a fantastic see view. Some, also with fireplace. Terrace, bar, dinning room and kitchen are the common areas of this self catering guest house of Positano. The rooms can be booked for a week and also for a month.
  • Villa Rosa[18] is one of the best hotel bargains on the entire Amalfi Coast. Perched on a steep hillside, all of the 150-year-old villa's rooms overlook the beach and the spectacular Mediterranean water beyond. Rooms have private terraces (filled with flowers) overlooking the sea. For best views, make sure to get a room on the second or third floor.
  • Nocelle B & B. A warm, Italian welcome awaits you at this B&B, situated in the village of Nocelle, perched on the mountainside a pleasant 20-minute drive, or bus journey, above the coastal resort of Positano. Apart from Italian, the host speaks English and German. Contact for bookings.  edit
  • Take the local bus to Montepertuso which leaves from the church. From there you need to find a small steep path uphill. The mountains along the Amalfi Coast have a hidden and unknown network of public footpaths and long stairs criss crossing the lemon teraces, from Montepertuso you will be able to walk to Santa Maria, a small church high up, and back down to Positano. This will give you stunning views down the coast featuring Capri, Positano and the sea. In springtime all sorts of rare spices and flowers grow between cypress trees. Make sure you get a map of some kind showing the footpaths since you WILL get lost without.

Julian Tippett has published a nice walking guide book for the area in the "Sunflower Countryside Guides" series.

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