With the Instagram Euro feed in full swing – and personally void of any overseas travel plans for the imminent future – I’ve chosen to relinquish my suffering and instead dive into the archives and relive a trip I took to Positano a few years ago.
The late John Steinbeck once said: ‘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.’ Well, truer words have never been spoken. I’m not sure whether it’s the great food and interesting people, the charming architecture, beautiful beaches and bobbing boats or the music that moves you, but there’s something special about this place. If you’re in more luck than I am and find yourself heading over to Italy this year, then here’s a few of my top picks for this beguiling little village…
/ Hotel Poseidon
Nestled into one of Positano’s surrounding mountains is Hotel Poseidon. Once a Mediterranean villa in the Heart of Positano, it was turned into a family-run hotel in the mid-50s and now looks directly down onto the village and out to the Amalfi Coast.
The rooms are gorgeous and our private balcony had panoramic views looking right out onto the sea and the pastel coloured houses perched on the adjacent hillside. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Poseidon is the outside terrace which is next to the pool and overlooks the village. You’ll wake every morning to a buffet breakfast complete with…well, pretty much anything you want, from yoghurt and fresh fruit, to meats and cheeses, pastries, smoked salmon, oven-pizza and champagne. By day, meals are served out under the sun and come night the candles are lit on each table and you’ll have a drink before dinner as the stars come out. If you’re looking for accommodation, I really couldn’t recommend this hotel highly enough!
Via Pasitea, 148, 84017 Positano
/ La Tagliata
For the best food in Positano, you’ll need to head high up into the hills of Montepertuso to the truly local – and again, family-owned – Trattoria La Tagliata. It’s just like eating out on Nonna’s open balcony with the extended family, who all just happen to be tourists too. There are no menus and Signora Dora is just in the kitchen doing her thing while her family runs around serving their guests course, after course, after course.
Everything here feels authentic – the vegetables are grown in their gardens, the free-range meat is from animals on farmlands close by and the pasta is handmade back in the kitchen. Coming here, you get a true sense of the passion that permeates the Italian culture – a passion for living, for their food, their traditions, music and the pleasure they take from hosting. Expect genuine and original dishes, including tureens of pasta with beans and pork, spaghetti with garlic and crushed chilli peppers and broccoli and homemade sausage.
Via Monsignor Vito Talamo, 84017 Positano
/ Le Sirenuse
You can’t go to Positano without making a stop – for a drink at the very least – at the stunning Le Sirenuse. This beauty was opened in 1951, when a Neapolitan family turned their summer house into a charming hotel – yes we’re beginning to see a pattern here, family business is big in this town.
Today, Le Sirenuse is Positano’s leading luxury drawcard. An eclectic collection of antique furniture and art helps the hotel retain its atmosphere of the private home it originally was, but the bright colours, shiny terracotta-tiled floors and large windows which open onto broad terraces, give it a unique Italian opulence.
The afternoon I visited, I thought I was popping in for a few oysters and a champagne on the terrace (which arguably has the best view of the beach below). What ensued, was much more grand. After a chance meeting with 85+ year old Franco (one of the brothers who owned the hotel), we were invited for dinner at the Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant. We sat for hours with these two elderly men, hearing their fascinating stories about life in Positano and Franco’s career as an art connoisseur – after all, it was his impeccable taste that did so much to define Le Sirenuse’s signature style. It was a wonderfully unexpected Italian evening that I will never forget.
Via Cristoforo Colombo, 30, 84017 Positano
/ Go boating
One of the better decisions I’ve made in my life, was splurging on a private boat and driver to take us for a day trip to see more of the Amalfi Coast. I’m an boat devotee, so maybe there’s a bit of bias here, but it was hands-down one of the best days of my life. Antonio picked us up from the main beach in Positano early in the morning and the whole day was ours to explore the surrounding beaches and islands. We just cruised along the coast, sun-bathing up the front of the boat (with our wine) and whenever we saw a beach we wanted to stop-over at, Antonio would drop us off to explore. We spent some time in Capri, dived off the boat for a swim in the Blue Grotto and stopped in for lunch at one of the villages along the coast. At some point, I’d also recommend taking a day-trip to the beautiful Sorrento.
Spiaggia Grande, Positano 84017