Positano - Picture Perfect?
Nuzzled by the Amalfi coast, is the handsome village of Positano. Once a prosperous medieval port, Positano is now considered the darling of southern Italy. Positano is famed for its ceramics, the jades, and blues of which are a delicate imitation of the sea. Positano’s homes, restaurants, and galleries, overhang the striated cliffsides. All are washed in lemon yellows, lavenders, and pastel pinks. Sweeping panoramas, mesmeric seascapes, dotted with sailboats gently bobbing along. Steps! Positano is filled with endless steps, leading you up, down, and through its tapering backstreets. Every available nook, cove, and cranny in Positano seems ripe with Purple Bougainvillea, many a building elegantly dressed in it head to toe. Positano is a place where the monied idle along, a place to daydream, while listening to the contented chatter of those spending another lazy day lunching alfresco.
A Hidden Visible Gem!
Hot spot travel destinations are cyclical, and Positano is once again flavour of the month. As usual, travel bloggers are throwing the words tranquil and sedate around, they'd have you believe there wasn't a tourist in sight, but that’s not quite the reality of Positano.
In May 1953, while still basking in the sensation that was East of Eden, the great American author John Steinbeck wrote about his adventures in Positano. ”Nearly always when you find a place as beautiful as Positano, your impulse is to conceal it. If I tell, it will become crowded with tourists and they will ruin it, turn it into a honky-tonk and then the local people will get touristy, and there’s your lovely place gone to hell”. When Steinbeck wrote those words, Positano truly was an undiscovered idyll. When those very same words were published in Harper’s Bazaar a few months later, the jig was up!
There is not now, nor has there been for the past 50 years, a spot in Positano where you won’t find tourists! Don’t be fooled by the soundtrack of Italian conversation, though Italian they are not Positano locals, as many Italians head to Positano for a weekend away. Positano is alive with honeymooners, cooing over the vivid majolica dome of the 13th century Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta (Santa Maria Church). Its chock full of fashionistas, there to check out the Mode Positano in the many voguish boutiques. Teeming with A-listers, D-listers and the want to be instafamous, Goop, Rod Stewart, and Robert Murdoch, have all been papped in Positano. You’ll often find yourself surrounded by gaggles of hikers, back from walking the ‘Sentiero degli Dei’ (The Path of the Gods), trekking poles in hand, shading under the wisteria covered trestles. Photographers, professional and amateur, are plentiful, most trying to recreate shots seen in the 2003 film, Under the Tuscan Sun. Head to Spaggia Grande (the large beach), and you’ll find the usual tourist trap beachfront cafes, serving bronzed and burned bodies under par pasta at above par prices.
The fact that Positano is brimming with tourist doesn’t detract from its beauty. Positano’s pathways are still scented by its orange and lemon groves, and the views are still wondrous. Authentic homemade Italian food is easy to find, if your happy to climb the Positano steps for it. Positano may not be hidden, but it is blissfully timeless, well worth a visit, and still very much a gem.
Words by George Carter