A patchwork of citrus-hued homes cling to Positano’s rugged hillside, forming arguably the world’s most scenic backdrop. The village’s rampant bougainvillea and outspoken, kindhearted people fill the streets with vivid purple flora and load laughter. Just when you start to believe you’ve arrived to some sort of utopia, you then realize that you actually have to climb up the gorgeous, steep promontory (multiple times a day). In compensation for this sweat-inducing, calf-sculpting hike, one is bestowed with some the finest shopping on the coast; white linen dresses that seem to have jumped from a Dolce & Gabbana and hang out of boutique windows and pottery that would fit perfectly in a Sicilian princess’s kitchen is sold from the majority of the stores, lemons as big as a grown woman’s head sit outside of shopfronts that are chock full of flaxen limoncello bottles and leathery, white-haired men nail sandals onto customers’ feet. Basically, you see southern Italy, exactly as you envisioned it.
In order to achieve this ultimate Amalfi Coast experience, follow this guide and vacation sumptuously.
Home Sweet Home
To live like the southern Italian god/goddess to which you aspire, you must first find the proper digs. Although the options are plentiful, ranging from hostels to mega-yachts, it’s advised that you emulate the locals and settle in one of the many short term rental properties. As you sit on your adopted terrace and gaze out at the clear mediterranean, you may wonder why you don’t actually move to Positano. Don’t worry, this is a common symptom due to an excess of sun and limoncello. It usually passes within 2-4 weeks after the vacation’s end.
Appearances mislead big time when it comes to the glamorous people who frequent the beaches and boats that line Positano’s Mediterranean shore. Around 1:30 to 2:00 pm everyday, the svelte bikini-clad ragazze and their Marcello-look-alike boyfriends promptly leave the fun and sun and head straight to shaded terraces and restaurants to lunch—a ritual not to be missed on the Amalfi coast. Pranzo is a languid affair during which not a soul rushes to finish their seafood salad or down their Falanghina wine. Campania’s mozzarella di buffala is the star of this pasto, which means ‘meal’ in Italian. Whether it’s grilled inside a lemon leaf or drizzled with unbeatable EVOO, diners keep coming back for more. When you’re not savoring the regions unbelievably delicious mozzarella, you’re probably relishing the world’s most local/green/whatever-you-want-to-call-it spaghetti alle vongole. Here on the Amalfi Coast, the legit mamme (moms) order their sons or house guests to run straight down to the sea to bring them back a bucket of Mediterranean water. With said liquid, they soak their clams, removing any impurities they may have picked up in the area’s pristine waters, and then with they cleaned clams they make a seafood sauce that will blow your mind. This dish is a fleeting masterpiece, a work of art to rival even that of Italy’s da Vinci and Botticelli.
When you first witness this common Amalfi coast pastime, you’ll think that people here are suicidal! No seriously, you see townsfolk hurling themselves off of rooftops and nosediving off of cliffs. Old men, young boys, girls still in pig tails, seemingly everyone here performs potentially deadly acrobatic-feats daily. Okay, admittedly, if you’ve been doing this since you were a youngster, then maybe you’ve built up enough expertise to realize tiny yet important details like water-depth and the best angle for not plummeting into craggily rocks. Yet beware – as an outsider, you will sooner or later be lulled into a false sense of security. Maybe when the 90-year-old without teeth does the most stunning butterfly dive you’ve ever seen (including your experiences watching the Olympics), you start to consider joining in on the tomfoolery yourself. Warning: Do not let that thought go any further!
As unskilled jumpers, tourists frequently leave the Amalfi Coast with a whole battery of injuries including scrapes, cuts, broken limbs and jelly fish stings; let’s just say that the territory’s waters sometimes conceal heavily concentrated jellyfish zones, making blindly diving into the sea a big no-no. Now this warning isn’t meant to frighten you to death, it’s merely a friendly heads-up as to what not to do. Luckily, the list of approved Mediterranean activities is equally long. It is advised that you spend at least eight consecutive hours on a boat. You must swim in no less than 2 aquamarine grottoes and it is suggested that, just to prove that you tried once, you jump off of a miniature cliff. Please note, when doing this, a pair of water booties will greatly benefit your grip and prevent ungainly leg scars caused by slippage.
Embrace Your Inner Catholic
Now this title is not meant to be politically incorrect nor is it intended to imply that you should be Catholic. It mainly refers a Catholic-inspired style. You know, a gusto for the dramatics and a natural gift for architecture. A tendency to drink wine with bread and to celebrate whenever you get the chance. Gold-covered anything and floor length gowns. Parades, petals and grandmas crying (tears of joy of course). Just welcome the spirit and opulence of it all. Whether you’re Atheist, Jewish Buddhist or just plain don’t know, walk into one of the many divine churches and bond with fellow visitors as you view the treasures within.
Wander, Discover & Love
The most vital thing to do while you’re in Positano is explore. Get lost in the alley ways, talk to locals and just unwind. Vacationing, prior to common practice, should actually be relaxing. Sure, you could spend half of you day on a bus, going to an ancient paper-production facility, but wouldn’t it be so much more fun to boat into the sunset or learn how to cook traditional foods? In case you’re wondering, the correct answer is ‘yes.’
For insider tips on where to eat and what stores have the best shopping, check out these tips.
Have you ever been to Positano? Let us know where you swam, ate and had the time of your life!