After collecting our bags from our Sorrento B&B, The Besie and I sat patiently waiting in the nearby square for Raffaele Monetti, our driver, to take us to our long-awaited destination – Positano. We could have caught the local SITA bus, but it takes longer, has lots of stops and is often overcrowded, which can be tricky with big suitcases in tow. We wanted to get there quickly, with our bags in one piece.
We were certainly pleased we booked Raffaele, a Sorrento native whose family has lived in the area for many generations. His English was excellent and his local knowledge very comprehensive – he gave us a wonderful running commentary along the way. Our drive was smooth and safe, although we had to stop several times for traffic jams and to accommodate a bus coming the other way on the narrow Amalfi Coast road. We heard Raffaele muttering, “Mama mia”, on several occasions. One lady on a scooter was singing at the top of her voice while waiting for the traffic – it was quite entertaining for us. Raffaele said she was doing this to calm her nerves. Whatever floats your boat!
After about 45 minutes of winding our way along the scenic Amalfi coastline, we arrived in beautiful Positano. Our first stop was a viewpoint high above the sea, where you could see the outline of the town, with its homes clinging to the rocky ravine surrounding it. It was so exciting to finally be in Positano. The views from here were just breathtaking, and well worth stopping for a few minutes. There was even a local vendor selling fruit, snacks and souvenirs – oh and lemon products, which are a specialty of the Amalfi Coast, there’s a lemon version of just about everything!
A few minutes later, we arrived at our accommodation, Residenza La Tavolozza, a family run B&B. I’d chosen it because it was reasonably priced and not too far to walk down to the beach/heart of town. A lot of the other accommodation was a long way up from the beach or just so outrageously expensive, so I was very grateful that we found this place. From the street frontage on Via Christofo Colombo, the property looks like it’s only one level, but when you step inside, you realise there are at least four levels which stretch down the hillside.
The Bestie and I were warmly welcomed by Mama Celeste, whose English was a little limited, but we managed to work out what we each needed to know. We paid in cash, which speaks volumes and Celeste, who must have been at least 70, insisted on carrying our bags down two sets of stairs to our room! All the walls in the B&B were white, so I can only imagine how much cleaning they must do, particularly on the stairs.
Our room was spacious, with a beautiful view of the town, including the church with its lovely mosaic dome, and the sparkling blue ocean. We also had a tiled terrace where we could sit and enjoy the sunshine and views. The bathroom was across the hall, but it wasn’t shared, and this made the price cheaper, so we didn’t mind at all.
After settling in, we took a walk down the many steps, along tiny streets, before arriving at the centre of town – the beachfront, with its shops and restaurants. It was April when we visited, so most of the shops had some kind of Easter display, which were delightful, with lots of eggs in pastel colours and a variety of animals. Down towards the beach, we walked beneath a beautiful loggia covered in wisteria, which was very pretty… time for more photos!
Once we reached the actual (pebbly) beachfront, we wandered along Via Marina Grande, which is more a pathway than a street, and found Chez Black, a well-known restaurant, which has been there since 1949. The host seated us quickly, and we enjoyed a glass of prosecco (Italian champagne) before we ordered a delightful dinner, including homemade ravioli and spaghetti with seafood – Chez Black’s specialty. We managed to squeeze in a shared dessert of the yummiest Tiramisu.
After dinner, we walked back up the hill a little more slowly and decided on an early night, as it had been a long day.
The next morning, we visited a little internet café on the beachfront for breakfast – including free WiFi. We hadn’t had a good internet connection anywhere we’d been, so communications had been a little patchy until then. We managed to speak to our families on Skype while we drank tea and ate a toasted sandwich, then quickly did some research for the following day – all within the allocated 30 minutes of internet time!
The weather had turned a little cooler and some clouds began to roll in. This didn’t stop the keen beach-goers who were lying on their towels on the pebbly beach, trying to get a tan! It was about 17 degrees celcius. We were rugged up in jeans and jackets!
After breakfast, we wandered around looking at the shops and generally checking out the pretty little town for a while, taking lots more photos, before heading back to the B&B then catching the bus to Amalfi town at 12 noon.
Wow – what an adventurous drive it was. There were several times where the bus had to back up or wait for a car to back up so that, one at a time, we could get through. There was also a stand-off where neither our driver nor the driver of the much smaller car coming the other way, wanted to back up. The ancient road winds in and out of ravines along with hillside, and there are so many villas clinging to the cliffs. You have to wonder how they built them – there were no harnesses or scaffolding in those days!
We arrived to chaos in Amalfi town. Thousands of people, including group after group of teenagers, had descended upon the town. We’re not sure if this was just because it was Saturday or if this was how busy it was every day. We took some time to wander the side streets with their little shops, but felt we were swimming against a tide of people, with almost everyone walking back down into the town centre! It was like walking the streets of Sydney at peak hour – heading away from Town Hall station!
We checked out the famous Amalfi cathedral, which was built between 1000 and 1300, with a fancy new “striped” façade added in the 19th century. After that, we gave in to the crowds and sat down to enjoy a lunch of salad and Panini. Of course, we needed a gelati to help us digest it! Yummo! Then we took a walk along the beachfront of Amalfi and enjoyed watching the people, before catching the 3pm ferry back to Positano. After the bus ride there, we were pleased to catch the ferry back.
Arriving in Positano from the sea gave us quite a different perspective of this beautiful town. We walked back up the hill to the B&B to rest a while before dinner. Just down the steps from our B&B is a delightful delicatessen, where we picked up some wine, bread and cheese to enjoy while we sat on the terrace and watched the sun set. The diets were put on hold until we returned home – the Italian food was just too good!
We strolled down to the beach front again, in search of a light meal, and found a little pizzeria. They had a balcony with a view of the water, so we sat out there to eat our pizza, washed down with a superb glass (or two) of wine from Campania, the local region. All the food is so fresh in Italy, as it’s seasonal and sourced locally. We tried to drink local wines wherever we went too. It’s a tough job, but we were happy to take it on!
Having seen Amalfi Town and Sorrento, although they are both lovely, we think we made the best choice in basing ourselves in Positano. The best times to enjoy the town are definitely early in the morning and early evening, when the throngs of day trippers have left and there are more locals around. It really is quite a charming place.
The next morning, we bid a sad arrivederci to Positano. We could certainly see why it’s such a popular place for a holiday amongst Italians and those from other countries. We only wish we’d had more time there. It would be beautiful, although more crowded, in summer.
Just as we were preparing to leave La Tavolozza, the clouds moved in and it started raining. Positano is still breathtakingly beautiful, even in the drizzle. As we were catching the ferry to Salerno, we needed to get our bags down the narrow cobblestone laneways and many sets of steps to reach the jetty. With my history with stairs, and wet stone under foot, we decided to pay the porter to take our bags down to the jetty, while we walked. It wasn’t cheap, but it was better than slipping and hurting ourselves. We still had a LOT of walking to do!
Our B&B host, Celeste, gave us a big hug and kiss as we said goodbye. The porter (in his little motorised buggy) took our bags to a waterfront cafe called Covo Dei Saraceni – they must be mates of his!
We were pleased to get out of the rain and be able to remove our very fashionable disposable plastic ponchos. There wasn’t much to choose from for breakfast – so we had cappuccino, tea and a croissant (or cornetto as Italians call them).
After breakfast, we sat on the ancient stone dock, waiting for the ferry to arrive. It’s hard to describe the sad feeling The Bestie and I were experiencing as we sat there in the drizzling rain – it was like we were leaving our home town. I left a little piece of my heart in Positano, and I can’t wait to go back!
Have you been to Positano? What did you think of it? Please leave your comments below. Grazie Mille! 🙂
The Besties Do Italy series is about how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!
Read more posts in this fascinating series:
Linking up with #WednesdayWanderlust via MyBrownPaperPackages 🙂
Also linking up with Outbound Adventurer for #WeekendWanderlust