Positano is located on n the western end of the Amalfi Coast, therefore, it is the first municipality of the Divine...
Positano is located on n the western end of the Amalfi Coast, therefore, it is the first municipality of the Divine coming from Sorrento. It is considered a wonder that never ceases to seduce the many tourists who visit it every year.
Embraced and protected by the majestic chain of the Lattari Mountains and kissed by the sea, Positano is suspended between sea and mountains.
Due to the its peculiar geographical position, Positano contain in itself, as a casket, a remarkable variety and beauty diversity of nature: landscape and architecture that merge and blend, resulting in a unique scenery and charming world untouched.
Positano is also defined as the "vertical city" of the Amalfi Coast because from the sea , it appears as a striped shell of different colors. We pass from the green of the Lattari Mountains in the background to the white, pink and yellow of the houses placed almost one on top of the other; from the silver gray of the beaches to the blue of the sea.
Those who arrive in Positano must take a road created along the rocky wall rich in vegetation typical of the Mediterranean scrub composed mainly of brooms, rosemary, phages, Lavadula, myrtle, the tree spurge all close to a sea and crystalline along the path, suddenly it opens a unique scenario and unforgettable experience, a vision between dream and reality: Positano.
Walking along the internal road of the town, you can see narrow and articulated alleys, stairways that allow you to admire unique and breathtaking views overlooking the steep and rugged coastal cliff and the famous terraces planted mainly with Sfusato Amalfitano lemons.
From some houses in the center clinging to the rock, flowered terraces protrude with geraniums and above all colored bougainvillea that make the landscape even more enchanting.
At the foot of the "pyramid" made up of houses that climb towards the sky is the "Marina Grande di Positano" beach: a beach of about three hundred meters with a view of the splendid islands of Li Galli and visited every year by thousands of bathers from every part of the world. From the "Marina Grande" beach a small path in the rock leads to other enchanting coves and flanks the watchtowers, built to defend the town from the ancient Saracen raids. Then along the coast, surrounded by greenery, there are hidden coves with a still unexplored appearance.
Positano is also famous for shopping: still along the narrow streets and alleys of the town, the many boutiques and craft shops still sell, as in the past, made-to-measure sandals and colorful clothes. Walking along the "Via dei Mulini" and the near "Viale Pasitea", It is possible to observe how the skilled craftsmen of Positano hand-make splendid high quality leather sandals, decorated at the moment according to the choice and taste of the tourist. In fact, the models are decorated with beads, stones and glitter freely chosen by the customer so as to become elegant and much appreciated sandals. Positano is also famous for Positano fashion: the different tailors in the area make very elegant clothes based on fresh linen, cotton and hemp decorated with beautiful floral designs and very bright colors and which they later sell to the various boutiques of the coastal center. Over time, the "Positano style" has established itself on the fashion market and Positano clothes are increasingly in demand, especially from abroad.
Positano, therefore, can be considered a mix of history, enchanting beauty and legend that captivates anyone who visits it
HOW TO GET
From the A3 Naples-Salerno motorway, it is preferable to exit at the Castellammare di Stabia tollbooth and take the Strada Statale 145 Sorrentina. Then just turn right and continue on Strada Statale 163 Amalfitana for about another 11 kilometers.
From the same A3 motorway, if you exit at the Vietri sul Mare tollbooth, you must travel the entire state road 163 for about 43 kilometers. The Strada Statale 163 is one of the most beautiful and scenic roads in Italy but it is quite narrow and with winding curves.
Especially in summer, due to limited parking spaces, it is advisable to reach Positano by public transport departing from Amalfi and Sorrento or, even better, by ferries departing from the landings of Amalfi, Salerno and Sorrento.
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For anyone who goes to Positano or to the other municipalities of the Amalfi Coast overlooking the sea, it is advisable to taste the specialties based on fresh fish caught directly in the clear waters of the Divina. Among the different typical dishes, we recommend: paccheri or scialatielli with seafood, linguine with lobster, risotto alla pescatora, spaghetti with clams, a mixed fry of fresh fish accompanied by fragrant Sfusato Amalfitano lemons, from the day, squid and potatoes, sea bass and pezzogne.
In addition to the various fish-based specialties, in Positano it is also recommended to taste dishes that involve the use of Provolone del Monaco which comes directly from nearby Agerola.
The first evidence of a settlement in Positano dates back to Prehistory, more precisely to the Upper Palaeolithic, where some excavations have brought to light evidence of the presence of ancient peoples of gatherers and hunters.
Subsequent archaeological evidence dates back to the 1st century. BC, when luxurious Roman villas were built on the coast of the Sorrento Peninsula. Legend has it that the emperor Tiberius, who took refuge in Capri to escape the hatred of the Romans, but not trusting the people of Capri from whom he feared being poisoned, sent a trireme to buy flour right at a positanese mill.
The fall of the Roman Empire opens to a dark period of which little is known at least until the 9th century when Positano becomes part of the Republic of Amalfi, enjoying the advantages that maritime trade offered. A subtle competition between the municipalities of Amalfi and Positano can be observed in the historic debate on the birthplace of Flavio Gioia, inventor of the compass, which each of the two towns claims. In the second half of the 1500s, despite the defensive works built, Positano was unable to escape the fire started by the troops of Suleiman II, the Turkish emperor. A fundamental year for the history of Positano is 1668. It proclaimed itself the “royal city” after having paid a ransom from feudalism of 12,943 ducats. From that year on, trade with Cyprus, Greece, Puglia and Calabria increased. The people of Positano reached all the ports of the Mediterranean using feluccas, poles and galeots. The eighteenth century was therefore a period of great prosperity, as evidenced by the late Baroque villas built along the eastern side. The city, which has always been a strategic commercial hub since it participated in the trade of the Amalfi Republic, put its resources to good use, becoming in a few decades one of the most important commercial squares in the kingdom. From 1806 to 1860 Positano was the capital of the district of the same name belonging to the Salerno District of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The unification of Italy forced many people from Positano, like many other southerners, to emigrate. From 1860 to 1927, during the Kingdom of Italy, the city was the capital of the district of the same name belonging to the Salerno district. After the First World War, during which the city paid a very high blood tribute, great Russian and German artists and writers took refuge there who, with their works, made Positano known to the whole world.
WHAT TO VISIT
For those who stay at least one night in Positano, a few hours must be dedicated to taking a bath in the blue sea of Positano. In addition to the Marina Grande beach, you can choose the Fornillo beach and the beaches of Scogli Piani, Cavone and Remmese: each beach has its own charm.
- The Roman Villa;
- The Church of Santa Maria Assunta;
- The Saracen towers
- Excursion on the Sentiero degli Dei
THE ROMAN VILLA
In Roman times there were numerous villas built by emperors and wealthy patricians along the entire coastal strip of Campania felix: from the Sorrento peninsula to the plain of Paestum, passing through Capri and the Amalfi Coast. The Latin name of these villas was "villae maritimae", that is accessible only by sea, used as a place of otium and exclusive refuge for all the most prominent exponents of Roman politics and aristocracy. During the works in Piazza Flavio Gioia and the crypt of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano, collapsed walls and roofs belonging to a maritime villa (datable between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD) were brought to light. damaged by the earthquake of 62 AD and, subsequently, from the deposit of debris due to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The structures of the villa and part of the sculptural decorations were already found during the seventeenth century and, subsequently, in the second half of the eighteenth century by Karl Jakob Weber, the Swiss architect who followed the excavation works in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia, for will of Charles of Bourbon. Finally, in the 1920s, a local butcher, in rearranging his shop adjacent to the Church, brought to light other portions of the villa. As had already happened in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Castellammare di Stabia, the eruptive materials that had caused devastation and abandonment allowed the perfect conservation of the arcades, the peristyle, the various rooms, the frescoes and the stuccos. In particular, a wall partition in opus reticolatum is visible, decorated with a stucco frame and splendid polychrome frescoes in the Pompeian style, depicting a hippocampus, an eagle, a pegasus and two cupids. The representations are framed by refined architectural backgrounds, among which a classic lintel and a coffered ceiling stand out.
LA CHIESA DI SANTA MARIA ASSUNTA
The Abbey was founded in the second half of the century X; the first documentary mention of it can be found in a manuscript of the end of the century. XI, with which Duke Sergio of Sorrento granted Abbot Mansone I of the Monastery of Santa Maria di Positano free navigation in the waters of his duchy. Towards the middle of the 15th century, the monastery was abandoned due to raids by Cilentan raiders and after a few years it was entrusted to an abbot subsequently elected archbishop of Amalfi. Among the commendatory abbots who ruled the Positano abbey we remember Cardinal Vincenzo Maria Orsini, who later became Pope Benedict XIII. In 1777 the local clergy began the restoration work, which lasted about five years, with consecration on 10 August 1783, during which Monsignor Antonio Puoti crowned the icon of the Madonna with a gold crown. The Byzantine icon probably arrived in Positano in the century XII by the Benedictine monks who, aboard their ships, traveled the trade and fishing routes along the coasts of southern Italy. A document preserved in the parish archive recalls the dedication of a church in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1159 by John II, bishop of Amalfi. Popular tradition, on the other hand, tells of a sailing ship that stopped near the coast of Positano due to the calm; it carried the painting of the Mother of Christ and it is said that it was the same sacred effigy, with the cry of "Pose, pose" to order the sailors to leave it on the beach so that the local people could honor it. One of the most valuable works of the Amalfi Coast is the reliquary bust of the martyr San Vito, ancient protector of Positano; the head of the statue has elements of the Laureana school: it appears made on a living model, as evidenced by the ears treated with individual naturalness. The hair of the work has large, smooth locks with a lively play of planes. The nose is straight like the chin, the lips are thin, the pupil treatment in the slightly sunken eyes is very unique. The bust is more conventional, decorated with large “ramages” on a sandblasted background, intended as a jacket dress closed by staples, over a shirt with a pleated collar. On a clip is engraved the date of 1599. On the large clip, on the other hand, you can read the words: "SANTE VITE PROTECTOR POSITANI". Above the main altar stands the small temple with the Byzantine icon; on the sides of the apse there is the choir in solid walnut at the ends of which two niches house the Addolorata (right) and a Christ at the column, by Michele Trillocco from 1798 (left). To the right of the main altar there is the chapel of Santo Stefano inside which the eighteenth-century wooden statue of the Madonna with Child is kept. On the left is the chapel of the SS. Sacrament. In the transept, on the right, there is the altar of the Circumcision with a beautiful painting by Fabrizio Santafede dated 1599; in front of this, the altar of the Madonna del Carmine with a painting from the Certosa di Serra San Bruno in Calabria. The church hall is divided into three naves with five arches. Along the left aisle, proceeding towards the exit, after a side door, are the chapels of the Crucifix, the Annunziata, San Vito and San Nicola di Bari; in the latter there is an artistic nativity scene with original 18th century shepherds. Along the right aisle, after accessing the sacristy, are the chapels of Sant'Anna, Sant'Antonio, Immacolata and San Biagio. Above the central door there is the choir with the majestic mechanical organ inaugurated in 2000. On the right, a small room houses a delightful baptismal font. In the arch of confluence between the right aisle and the transept, on the right side, you can admire a valuable bas-relief (perhaps an ancient reliquary of San Vito) dated 1506. In front of it, a plaque from the 1600s commemorating the appointment as commendatory abbot of Positano by the Neapolitan priest Pirro Giovanni Campanile: the plaque is surmounted by a bas-relief with the abbot's coat of arms. Above the door of the left aisle, a painting depicting Christ with the cross, dating back to the end of the 16th century, until a few years ago placed above the altar of SS. Sacramento, once the seat of the ancient Congregation or Confraternity of the Body of Christ. Leaving the churchyard, a few steps from the Church, stands the bell tower, rebuilt in 1707 by an unknown Capuchin friar mentioned in a fragment of a plaque that is currently walled up on the external wall of the Church along Via Vito Savino. Above the bell tower door there is a medieval bas-relief depicting a pistrice and above it a plaque placed in 1902 in memory of Flavio Gioia from Positano, inventor of the compass.
One of the dangers that threatened the life of coastal populations in the modern age was piracy exercised by the Saracens. In the second half of the 16th century watchtowers were built in Positano as ordered by the viceroy Pietro da Toledo.
The most important towers were those of Sponda, Trasita and Fornillo. The towers received the sighting signal from the first tower that is the one that rises on Punta Campanella. Upon receiving the notice, the people of Positano took refuge on the heights to be able to defend themselves from invasions and thus the hamlets of Montepertuso and Nocelle were born. Speaking of Montepertuso, it is said that right here the devil, wanting to demonstrate his strength to the Madonna, tried in vain to pierce the mountain with the strength of his own hands without succeeding. The Madonna then, moved to pity, raised her hand touching the mountain which immediately crumbled. The devil, defeated, fell down from the mountain falling on the rocks below where, according to the faithful, his gigantic footprint imprinted in the stone is still visible today. Along the curves of the coast there are many towers that meet and today many of them are used as hotels, houses, restaurants and one of them is even a disco. At the beginning of the 1900s the Fornillo tower was purchased by the Swiss architect Gilbert Clavel who rebuilt it on five sides on the original square shape, a restoration due to the philosophical vision of the character.
EXCURSION SUL SENTIERO DEGLI DEI
The “Sentiero degli Dei” is the most famous nature trail on the Amalfi Coast: it starts from Agerola and ends in Positano and can be defined as one of the most fascinating in the entire Mediterranean. It is about nine kilometers long and takes about five hours. It is called the Path of the Gods because, according to legend, the Greek gods crossed this path to save Ulysses from the sirens that were on De Li Galli Island.
At the beginning of the itinerary are the words of the writer Italo Calvino who defined the Path of the Gods as "that road suspended over the magical gulf of the" Sirens "still plowed today by memory and myth". In ancient times it was the only communication route that connected Positano to the other villages of the Amalfi Coast and the hinterland.
To be precise, there are two Paths of the Gods: the High and the Low. Both start from Bomerano, a fraction of Agerola but while the high one is more difficult due to the presence of some uphill stretches and which ends in Santa Maria del Castello, most tourists choose the Path of the Lower Gods because it is less demanding, easier. to go and very fascinating. Dwelling only on the latter, the route is mostly downhill and ends in the hamlet of Nocelle, the upper part of Positano.
Even if it is considered rather easy, it is always a mountain path immersed in the typical vegetation of the Mediterranean scrub with the sea in the background and which always requires a minimum of organization starting above all with appropriate clothing and shoes suitable for trekking. In the few kilometers that go from Bomerano to Nocelle, there are unique places and panoramic terraces that allow you to admire unique scenarios and wonders such as Positano, Praiano, the Faraglioni, the island of Capri and the island of De Li Galli. Along the way you will also cross the Grotta del Biscotto, the Rock Villages and the Pistillo.
The Grotta del Biscotto is a cavity located about 500 meters above sea level and is located shortly after starting the path: this area is characterized by several cliffs from which you begin to observe the wonderful landscapes.
The Rock Villages are ancient settlements located on the rocks built during the period of the Saracen invasions. Some villages rise on precipices overlooking the sea.
The Pistillo is a part of the rock from which a limestone spire rises.
Once you reach the Nocelle locality which is located on Monte Pertuso, there are two alternatives to reach the center of Positano: if you are tired, you can take the internal bus or continue on foot and descend about 1700 steps to finally reach the beach. of Positano.
Most tourists prefer to cross the Path of the Gods only one way because the return, uphill, could become very challenging. It is advisable to arrive in Bomerano with the buses that depart from Amalfi, from Castellammare di Stabia and from Sorrento in order to be able to set out immediately along the Path of the Gods. Once in Positano, to make the day even more special and memorable, it is preferable to take a ferry with destination always in Amalfi, thus also making a wonderful boat ride and observing part of the Amalfi Coast from the sea. For those who wish to arrive in Bomerano with their own car, they can leave it at the beginning of the path and then return with the Sita buses that connect Positano first to Amalfi and then to Agerola.
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