The Pearl of the Amalfi Coast

Positano, often called the pearl of the Amalfi Coast, is set on a vertical cliff overlooking the sea.  The Moorish-style village was discovered by American and British troops at the end of World War II.  Protected by UNESCO, Positano’s small winding streets are still untouched today.  Brimming with tiny caffés, trattorias, and artisan shops selling ceramics, sandals, limoncello, wine and art, it’s a must-see on every traveler’s list.  John Steinbeck, the American writer, lived in Positano in 1953 and wrote, “Positano bites deep, it’s a dream place that isn’t quite real when you’re there and becomes real after you have gone.”

Spend the day or just a few hours in this charming vertical city filled with eateries, trattorie, Michelin star restaurants and azzurra beaches.  Explore the village, then walk along the stone pathway that leads to the Spiagga Grande, main beach, and soak up the sea and fun.  You’ll be greeted by the Santa Maria Assunta Church set in Piazza Flavio Gioia.  It’s a Romanesque structure that was built on the site of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Vito, then was completely rebuilt in 1700.  Recent excavations have uncovered a Roman Villa under the church, making for a perfect historical visit inside and out.  There is the crypt underneath with guided tours so you can experience beautiful masterpieces that grace the church’s walls.  The Positanese, the locals, celebrate the town’s feast day every August 15, and carry the statue of the Madonna along the beach.  A parade follows which includes musicians as well as a group who dresses up in garb and re-enacts the religious feast day.  A spectacular firework display caps off the festivities at midnight.

On Positano’s beachfront enjoy lunch or dinner at Tre Sorelle Ristorante, an institution, serving fresh fish, home-made pastas, Neapolitan classics, delicious desserts and limoncello.  After lunch, walk along Via Positanesi d’America, and follow the sea to Fornillo Beach.  You’ll pass the Saracen towers:  La Torre Trasita, La Sponda and Torre Di Fornillo, dating back to the 16 century.  Just a short distance away on the sea, are the mysterious islets of Li Galli.  Legend says it’s the place where the mermaids once swam, but have now turned to stone.  Spend the day or just a few hours; but, like most, you’ll end up spending a week!

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