Set into the mountain, surrounded by rich mediterranean vegetation, Positano is so picturesque as to seem a spontaneous stage setting. Seen from the sea it looks like a huge nativity scene, a waterfall of little multicoloured houses clinging onto its sides.
The town develops vertically. The homes, one on top of the other, are characterised by arched porticos that give onto the sea, and are painted in pastel colours, giving it the look of a multifaceted precious stone. It is not for nothing that Positano is called “the gem of the divine coast”.
The narrow streets, lined with boutiques, run downhill between the houses flowing onto the Spiaggia Grande, a wide beach. From here there is a beautiful view of the sea, as well as of the town as it clambers up the mountainside.
On the main square of Positano is the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta, there since the year 1,000. The great coloured majolica cupola is visible from all over town. The little beaches of Positano are charming, and easy to get to on foot or by boat: Fornillo, Fiumicello and Arienzo. Positano is a holiday destination appreciated for VIP vacations.
Around 1940 Irene Kowaliska, a painter who lived here in Villa Sette Santi, used Positano as inspiration for her paintings on cloth. The Villa Stella Romana has been host to, among other Popes, Pope John Paul II. Illustrious artists, fashion moguls and screen stars love to come here to relax.
A few miles from the coast are Li Galli, or “Sirenuse”, a tiny archipelago made up of three islets: the Gallo Lungo, the Rotonda and the Castelluccio, considered the ancient dwellings of the enchanting Sirens. Positano is not just about the sea: pleasant walks take one to visit the evocative areas around Lattari Mountains, like Montepertuso, so-called because it is said that the Madonna appeared here in a hole in the cliff (“pertuso” stands for hole).
A stairway of 1,700 steps takes you to Nocelle. It is from here that the famous Trail of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei) begins, with beautiful views over the entire coast. Or you can reach the beautiful coastal Punta San Pietro, where there is a little church on a precipice over the sea.