Positano... a magical town perched in the crevice of the Amalfi Coast that captured my heart long before I ever set foot on its mythical soil.
My love for this Italian gem was born via Marisa Tomeii from the 1990's flick "Only You". From that moment, a quest was organized, that one day my sister, Jenny, and I would travel there to this ethereally beautiful coastal settlement.
Fast forward almost 20 years, add a husband for me and a baby on the way, and my dreams were all being realized, literally. But the ordeal of getting to Positano? Not exactly dreamy. In fact, far from it. We took a train from Rome to Naples, which lived up to its reputation as the trash heap of the world. The weather was rainy and therefore ferry crossings were canceled, and thus my perfect scenario of a scenic cruise was dashed on the rocks of the Bay of Naples. Though dormant Vesuvius towered over us in the distance, a fire of a different kind rained down on us below in the form of corrupt police officers, cheating taxi drivers, a pestilence of flies from the ubiquitous garbage piles and waiting for a bus that was still 4 hours away. Add to that, my husband Nick's realization that he left his iPad on the train and you have the perfect vacation scenario. But the good news is, when you've hit that travel rock-bottom, you know it can only get better from there.
Once we were safely aboard the bus bound for Positano, (I use the word safely in an extremely loose way, as careening over a mountainous road that hugs the cliffs and forces you to scrape passing cars hardly seems safe) our death seemed certain and car sickness inevitable, and all would be lost if it were not for those spectacular views slapping you in the face. I could almost hear the voice of the sirens as they whispered their lulling song and drew us ever closer into the cliffs. Yet, even the the steady rain could not dampen my enthusiasm at the sight of Positano.
We disembarked at our budget-friendly hotel, the Domina Home Royal, which was perched higher in the cliffs than other establishments, but it offered gorgeous vistas from almost every room, fantastic grounds and amenities and a friendly staff. We checked into our non-smoking room which smelled of smoke, but the staff quickly relocated us to a fresh-smelling room with a balcony looking out over the town below and the gorgeous pool area. Some reviews online had criticized the numbering system of the rooms, but, honestly, who cares? The hotel is built into a cliffside and therefore has an unorthodox layout, but just follow signage and you'll be fine. We really enjoyed our stay, and the helpful staff was kind enough to arrange for our dinner at a nearby restaurant so we wouldn't have to walk far in the rain.
If you plan to visit Capri, you must get down to the beach very early in the morning to book a place on one of the boats as most have all disembarked well before 10am. I can tell you this from experience because we missed the boat, literally, that next morning on our first full day. We were not disappointed though, and instead explored lower Positano and then relaxed on the private beach. We enjoyed lunch right there at the Hotel Puppeto, where we all enjoyed our pasta dishes and everyone but pregnant me sipped the refreshing local limoncello. To get there from the regular beach, take the pathway along the rocks to the right to the private beach. Wear your suit under a dress and bring a pashmina for a towel and you can lie on the pebble beach and watch the water. It's wonderful because there isn't sand to stick to you!
Very early the next morning, after a fabulous continental breakfast on the veranda of our hotel, we descended the hundreds of stairs and wound down through the town to the beach below, where we spoke to the boat operators and decided on a boat tour in lieu of a traditional ferry. It wasn't much more expensive and included passage to the Blue Grotto as well as a tour of the island.
The April weather was a bit nippy and the water quite choppy, so we froze a little on the boat ride over, which was only shared by a friendly Australian family. The water was so choppy that the little girl lost her breakfast all over her father's shoulder, so we had a group effort to clean everyone up and get her as comfortable as possible. She was so cute, and after we were safely on dry land, she summed up her boat ride with these words, "I didn't like that". No kidding! Poor thing, she was miserable and didn't complain at all.
Alas, the choppy water inhibited entry to the Blue Grotto at all that day, but we did see the White Grotto and the Green Grotto. We spent the next several hours exploring Capri, where we enjoyed lunch at Villa Verde (Vico Sella Orta #6) in the town of Capri (not Anacapri). It boasted a gorgeous white courtyard and the patronage of many famous people, whose portraits hung on the walls.
When the time of our boat departure back to Positano drew near, it became evident that the Australian family opted out of the smaller boat return and chose the larger ferry, so that left just the five of us and our private tour guide/captain named Paolo.
And here commenced the most perfect boat ride -- Mount Vesuvius presiding over us, Capri as a backdrop, drinking limoncello with Paolo and cruising along the Amalfi coast with the sun at our backs. Paolo tried to impress us by driving in between two rocks against the ocean swells. Though we were afraid of dying, he maneuvered the boat quite well and we enjoyed it very much!
After landing safely back on the beach in Positano, Jenny and I made it a point to visit the Hotel Le Sirenuse (#30 Via C. Colombo), the filming location for the resort in "Only You". Jenny and I were giddy with excitement as we peered over the balcony balustrade at the pool below and imagined Damon Bradley with his gold medallion. We couldn't believe we actually made it...it was destiny for us to be there! It is a beautiful hotel with some of the best views around and it's where the movie stars stay.
Our three nights in this town were not nearly enough, but we celebrated our final night with a grandiose meal at La Tagliata, recommended by our hotel receptionist and TripAdvisor. Located on the very tiptop of Positano, the restaurant would be difficult to reach were it not for the complementary van service that picked us up directly from our hotel. We reveled in a fabulous, authentic family-style multi-course Italian meal featuring every type of appetizer, pasta, and vegetable imaginable and succulent steak covered in garlic butter. You can expect to pay 35-45 EUR per person and the food was delicious.
We planned ahead and booked a private transfer service with PositanoTaxi.net for our trip to the Rome airport the next morning, mainly because it was the only way there at that hour, but I would recommend it for any time. Our driver was prompt for pickup and drop off and was quite safe. The price of 400 EUR was well worth it to have a relaxing, stress-free trip to the airport without having to transfer anywhere, and blissfully being able to sleep on the 4-hour journey.
As our car wound around a rocky outcrop of the Amalfi Coast that forever blocked our view of enchanting Positano, I had a feeling. It's my destiny to return.
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