Positano

An elaborate Neapolitan nativity scene set amidst the rocks, a vertical town where the roads are replaced by steep flights of steps.

How to get to Positano

If you're driving from the west, eastbound, Positano is the first town you'll come across on the Amalfi Coast.
The town is approximately a 75 minute drive away from Naples and twenty minutes away from Sorrento. You can also get to Positano by one of the buses run by the Sita coach company and, in the summer months, by boat.

For more detailed information: How to get to the Amalfi Coast

Positano

Positano, like the legendary Sirens of Li Galli, never fails to seduce.

Seen from the sea, Positano is set in a dramatic vertical panorama of colors; the green of the Monti Lattari, the white, pink and yellow of the Mediterranean houses, the silvery grey of its pebble beaches and the blue of the sea.

Souvenir from Positano
You'll find everything you could possibly make with the Amalfi Coast's lemons in the "I Sapori di Positano" shop, in via Mulini 6.
Purchase a pair of the most beautiful sandals in the world from Safari Sandali, in via della Tartana 2.
Buy an authentic piece of Moda Positano in Maria Lampo's historic boutique, in via Pasitea 16.

History

The Ancient Romans built a number of sumptuous villas on the coast of Positano, the ruins of which can be seen in the vicinity of the Church dell'Assunta.

It is believed that the town, the original nucleus of which developed around a Benedictine abbey, was founded in the 9th century.
The town grew considerably following the arrival of inhabitants from Paestum, fleeing Saracen incursions.

After it was pillaged by Pisa in 1268, Positano increased its defenses, becoming similar to its powerful neighbor, Amalfi: with steep narrow roads, massive fortified walls, and a series of all-important watch towers.

The majolica tiled dome of the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta can be seen from every corner of the town. A Byzantine inspired Icon of a black Madonna, dating back to the 18th century, is conserved inside the church.

The name Positano, is linked to a legend.
In ancient times, a Turkish boat became beached just off the shores of what has since come to be known as Positano.
Aboard the ship there was a painting of the Virgin Mary.
The captain heard the painting whisper "posa, posa" ('set me down, set me down') and, obediently, threw the image into the sea. Miraculously, the ship floated.
The locals built a Church on the spot where the painting washed ashore, interpreting the episode as a sign that the Virgin had chosen their town as resting place.

The fortunes of Positano, like its roads, have continually risen and fallen: in 1343 the town was destroyed by a terrible tsunami and in the 15th century it was the victim of continual attacks by Ottoman pirates.

In the 18th century, Positano enjoyed a period of prosperity as a major port and trading hub. Following the unification of Italy and the opening of a number of new commercial routes, the town's importance began to decline, so much so that, in just a few decades, it was reduced to little more than a humble fishing village, many of the inhabitants of which decided to emigrate to the United States.

Radical chic retreat

With the construction of the SS163 road, a much needed alternative to the mountain paths which had, until then, formed the only link between the Amalfi Coast and the rest of Italy, Positano once more began to flourish.

The new road united the town with Sorrento and Naples and allowed the first tourists to reach Positano.
These were no ordinary tourists, but rather an elite group of travelers, comprised of intellectuals, artists, and celebrities who, from the early 20th century onwards, elected Positano as their preferred holiday resort.

Escher, Steinbeck, Picasso, Klee, Zeffirelli and Liz Taylor: the list of artists who have fallen helplessly in love with the beauty of Positano's land and seascapes is endless.
"Willing prisoners of a legendary landscape" as they used to define themselves...

The beaches of Positano

Spiaggia Grande is the heart of sea edge Positano. 300 meters long, the beach is one of the largest on the Amalfi Coast, and one of the most glamorous too, attracting a fashionable crowd of artists, actors and celebrities.

Those looking for a more peaceful spot in which to bask in the Mediterranean sun will love Positano's Fornillo beach, which can be reached via a coastal path commencing on the Spiaggia Grande.

Swim in the sea, far from everything and everyone.
Based on the beach of Marina Grande, Positano's "sea taxi service" operates a fleet of small boats transporting visitors to the paradisiacal little bays, such as Remmese, Clavel and Cavone, which can only be accessed from the sea.
After a swim, holidaymakers who would like to enjoy some of the Amalfi Coast's delicious fish should ask to be taken to Laurito, and the water edge "Da Adolfo" restaurant.

The island of Sirens

Legend has it that the three islets of Li Galli, just off the shores of Positano and often referred to as the "Sirenuse", were inhabited by Sirens who attempted to seduce with their song all those who sailed nearby.

Among those to have been enchanted by the islets' mysterious beauty, the ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who spent the last years of his life here, is, perhaps, the most famous.

Exploring the area

If after a few hours lazing in the sun, shopping in Positano's colorful boutiques, and munching Delizia al Limone on the terrace of the Zagara restaurant, you fancy exploring further afield, then you should take one of the paths leading to the little mountain districts above Positano.

Montepertuso
Such as the footpath which leads to the 'Oasis of Vallone Porto, rich in waterfalls, and species of rare plants and animals.

A seemingly endless flight of steps, or a carriageway which winds its way up the hill, unite Positano with Montepertuso, in the Monti Lattari.
Legend has it that the hole in the mountain was created by the Virgin's index finger.

On the 2nd of July, in the Church of the Madonna delle Grazie, one of the Amalfi Coast's most spectacular religious festivals is held.

Make sure you stop off at the Fontana Vecchia for a glass of wonderfully fresh drinking water.

The hamlet of Nocelle
Just beneath the summit of Montepertuso is the tiny hamlet of Nocelle, a fraction of Positano, which, until recently, could only be reached via a pathway winding its way around the mountain or a flight of 1500 steps starting on the beach of Arienzo.

Nocelle is at the end of the Sentiero degli Dei, the mountain path which traverses the Monti Lattari from Agerola.
One of the most beautiful views on the Amalfi Coast, extending as far as the island of Capri and the Faraglioni rocks, can be seen from the hamlet's main square.

Positano Hotels in the vicinity

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Villas (7)

La Caravella Positano

Positano Hotel

Three reasons why you'll love La Caravella Positano: Sleep within steps...

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Hotel Le Agavi

Positano Hotel

Hotel Le Agavi occupies a stunning position, on the cliffs overlooking...

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Palazzo Marzoli Resort

Positano Hotel

Three reasons why you'll love Palazzo Marzoli Resort, Exclusive Rooms...

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Hotel La Certosa

Nerano - Massa Lubrense Hotel

The colors, scent, and sound of the sea. From La Certosa, a charming little...

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Hotel Villa Gabrisa

Positano Hotel

With a fabulous location in a peaceful residential area of Positano and...

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Hotel Conca d'Oro

Positano Hotel

Beautiful bedrooms, fabulous food and a view of the sea surrounding Positano...

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Le Nereidi

Positano Hotel

Three reasons why you'll love B&B Le Nereidi: A vacation in Positano,...

Positano Art Hotel Pasitea

Positano Hotel

Positano Art Hotel Pasitea boasts a fabulous position on the cliffs of...

Villa Campitiello

Conca dei Marini Hotel

You can spot the villa perched above Conca dei Marini only if you are arriving...

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Villa Hibiscus

Positano Hotel

Rooms filled with sunlight, windows and terraces which open out on to the...

Relais Villarena

Nerano - Massa Lubrense Hotel

A holiday spent exploring the pretty little towns dotted along the Sorrentine...

Villa Antica

Praiano Hotel

A special place for a special holiday, Villa Antica is one of the Amalfi...

Villa Lighea Art Boutique

Positano Hotel

Drenched in the Italian sun, immersed in the colors, scents and sounds...

Hotel Punta Regina

Positano Hotel

With its graceful arches, pretty, flower-decked balconies, and magnificent...

La Casa di Peppe

Positano Hotel

Perched at the top of 400 stairs leading down to the clear blue waters...

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Il San Pietro di Positano

Positano Hotel

A veritable architectural masterpiece, combining luxury with technical...

Hotel Poseidon

Positano Hotel

For more than half a century, Positano's Hotel Poseidon has been one of...

Hotel Eden Roc Suite

Positano Hotel

Hotel Eden Roc Suites occupies a superb position overlooking the town of...

Buca di Bacco

Positano Hotel

Dating back to the early 1900's, Buca di Bacco is one of the oldest establishments...

Hotel Onda Verde

Praiano Hotel

Onda Verde is an attractive little hotel, owned and managed by the Milano...

Hotel La Bougainville

Positano Hotel

Enjoying a superb location in the picturesque historic center of Positano,...

Hotel Vittoria

Positano Hotel

Facing on to the bay of Fornillo, Positano's Hotel Vittoria is the perfect...

Villa La Tartana

Positano Hotel

The bed & breakfast Villa La Tartana is the perfect seaside residence:...

La Mammola

Positano Hotel

Bright, welcoming and with a gorgeous, sun-kissed terrace on which to while...

Hotel Posa Posa

Positano Hotel

The Posa Posa of Positano is one of the Amalfi Coast's oldest and best-loved...

Hotel Pupetto

Positano Hotel

Trying to find a hotel in Positano, with sun kissed terraces, breathtaking...

Pensione Colomba

Praiano Hotel

Pensione Colomba is a small hotel situated in Praiano, one of the most...

Villa Solandra

Positano Hotel

Imagine a dream holiday in Positano, staying in one of the elegant cliff...

Villa W Positano

Positano Hotel

Imagine relaxing on a sun-drenched terrace, overlooking the sea surrounding...

Villa Ferida

Praiano Hotel

Take a historic villa on Italy's legendary Amalfi Coast; create a panoramic...