Positano, is a small village located on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. Without doubt, it is the most impressive and photogenic of the coast’s villages. The houses, steeply stacked on its near vertical streets, are painted in wonderful colours such as peach and pink and covered with terracotta tiles. Its streets a lined with elegant hotels, fashionable cafes and a plethora of small shops and stalls selling Positano fashions, including their famed Positano Linen.
Positano, was once part of the great Amalfi republic and as a result prospered through the 16th & 17th centuries. The following century however, saw Italy’s fortunes decline and as result large swathes of the population emigrated. During this time Positano lost more than half its population, mostly to the United States.
The 20th century saw a revival due to the creation of a tourist industry which, in many ways, was the result of an article written by John Steinbeck in Harpers Bazzar in 1953.
In that article, Steinbeck wrote:
“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”
More than 60 years later, his words still ring true.
Santa Maria Assunta
Known for its beautiful dome covered with majolica tiles, Italian tin glazed tiles created during the Renaissance. The church is also the home of the 13th century Black Madonna, which local legend says, gives Positano its name.
Legend tells us, that the Black Madonna was stolen from Byzantium (modern day Istanbul) by pirates and was being transported across the Mediterranean. Off the coast of Positano, a fierce storm blew up which the sailors believed was caused by the figure. Members of the crew, pleaded with their captain, Tano, to get it off the boat saying;
“posa, posa Tano” … “put it down, put it down Tano”
The icon was unloaded and carried to the small fishing village, as a consequence the storm cleared, and the sailors were spared.
The 2003 film, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, featured scenes from Positano as well as well as ‘Only You’ (1994) and ‘Kath & Kimderella” (2012).
Legend has it that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, wrote the song ‘Midnight Rambler’ in the cafes of Positano whilst on vacation there.
Any visit to the south of Italy, should include a visit to this most stunning place.