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Trip List by Dave_from_MN

Positano for Two

Jan 22, 2013  Places, meals and activities we enjoyed while there for our 10th Anniversary.
5.0 of 5 stars based on 9 votes

Things to try in Positano, Italy and along the the Amalfi Coast.

  • 1. SUMMARY
    Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Here's a synopsis of what we enjoyed during our 10th Anniversary Trip to Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, with a brief stay in Paris just off the Champs-Elysees.
    We fell in love with Positano and the Amalfi Coast - beautiful, romantic, with many varied kinds of activities - e.g., cultural, historical, outdoor, water, hiking, shopping, and, of course, lots of fantastic food and wine - and great and very warm people. we stayed in Positano and used that as our base for exploring the area - a lovely and quiet respite after long days of site seeing.
    This Trip List is basically organized into:
    - Places to Go
    - Place to Stay
    - Things to Do
    - Things to Buy
    - Where to Eat
    - How to Get There, and
    - What to Read
    Some of the below were reviewed on Trip Advisor by me and tried to note below which.So, hope this is useful... Can't recommend this area more strongly for a trip for two.

  • 2. PICS
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/daviddmoore/collections/72157629527185142...

    Pics are available of most of the noted sites and activities on our Flickr page (Dave & Nicole Moore, see URL above).

  • 3. PLACES TO GO

  • 4. Positano
    Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Positano is an amazing place - a small, colorful and picturesque town with dazzling coastal views, perched on the face of cliffs / hills, winding down towards the waters of the Amalfi Coast. The town is also known as the Vertical City, and while your driver can drop you off at the top of the town, it's ?all stairs? from there. So, no cars other than the road at the top of the town. The stair paths wind down thru the town past shops, restaurants, and hotels. Easy to become disoriented if you venture far, so bring a map; and plan to stop frequently at the small parks, restaurants - as quite a bit of climbing. A great town for walking, with sites and amazing views around every corner. Very warm people, great food, great wine, what more can you ask? We read that John Steinbeck wrote in 1953 "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." We would agree.

  • 5. Ravello
    Ravello, Amalfi Coast

    Ravello is south of Positano, a beautiful town, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, perched some 1500 ft above the coast. You drive up into the hills from the Amalfi Road - or you can take a Ferry to Amalfi (which sits below Ravello on the coast proper), and take a taxi up to Ravello.

    Villa Rufolo, with its gardened terraces providing an amazing view out over the Amalfi Coast, Gulf of Salerno and The Tyrrhenian Sea is not to be missed. And Villa Cimbrone, famous for its "Terrace of the Infinite", is also a must see - amazing grounds, gardens and astonishing view from the terrace high above the Italian coast and out over the sea . Both are just amazing.

    The center square, just outside the entrance to Villa Rufolo, has a few cafes, great for grabbing a glass of wine and Panini after seeing the town and villas.

  • 6. Amalfi
    Amalfi, Amalfi Coast

    Amalfi is another beautiful town. You can hire a car to visit, taking the Amalfi Road south from Positano - or take the ferry directly from Positano to Amalfi - we did both, and both are great ways to see the coast line and towns of Amalfi from two very distinct perspectives. The town of Amalfi gets quite crowded, and quite truly touristy , during the day, with tour buses crowding the roads into and through the town beginning late morning (literally parked nose to tail along the road). Assume this owing to its access from road versus, say, Positano, which requires parking above and taking stairs into town. Amalfi has a truly beautiful town square, Piazza Duomo, and cathedral, Saint Andrew's Cathedral (Duomo) overlooking the square. It also has a nice harbor where the ferry landing is situated. If you can hire a car to go there, and go early or go / stay late, much more enjoyable. Also, the Amalfi Road is narrow enough that you may be stuck in many queues waiting for buses to clear as some tunnels and curves allow only one car at a time. Ferry from Positano is a great means of getting to Amalfi, with amazing views of coast.

  • 7. Praiano
    Praiano, Amalfi Coast

    Praiano, with its lovely views of Positano and the coast to the north, and its beautiful renaissance church San Gennaro. Sits just south of Positano and north of Amalfi. The church has a very large plaza that affords great views of the church facade and the coast up to and beyond Positano.

  • 8. Fiordo di Furore
    Fiordo di Furore, Furore, Amalfi Coast

    Furore (its fjord, Fiordo di Furore, was setting for portion of the film "L'Amore").

    Sits south of Positano and north of Amalfi. If coming via car, park to side of road on (non-tunnel) side of bridge over fjord. Walk down stairs on north, east side of bridge for closeup view of fjord, etc. below bridge. If chartering a boat, go under bridge into fjord for great view.

  • 9. Atrani
    Atrani, Amalfi Coast

    Lovely seaside town south of Amalfi

  • 10. Minori
    Minori, Amalfi Coast

    Lovely seaside town south of Amalfi

  • 11. Montepertuso
    Montepertuso, Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Montepertuso sits high above Positano (visible above Positano in our pics taken from offshore).

    A very small town, a nice hike or short bus or limo ride from Positano, with great views of mountain, an enormous archway in the mountain, and great restaurant Donna Rosa (see our review).

  • 12. Sorrento
    Sorrento, Province of Naples

    Sorrento is nice. Nice views of coastline, Naples and Bay.

    Owing to ease of access from Naples, road, it was much more touristy - meaning both the nature of the shops, bars and restaurants and of their guests. Candidly, we could have skipped we felt, given the beauty of what lies to the south.

    If you happen to be visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum or Naples, worth at least a visit, as you'll pass through or quite near whether you're taking coastal or overland route to the towns along he Amalfi Coast.

  • 13. PLACE TO STAY

  • 14. Hotel Buca di Bacc
    Hotel Buca di Bacco, Positano, Amalfi Coast

    For us, we will always return to Hotel Buca di Bacco. As noted in my review, it sits in a great location, located right on Spiaggia Grande, just east and next to Positano's church Santa Maria Assunta. The rooms facing the Spiaggia have great views of the town the hills and the sea. It is quiet - with just a little of the (very pleasant) sounds of those on the beach and dining below - yet it sits right on beach and mere feet (steps) from several very nice restaurants (from finer to very casual).
    We stayed in Room 10, with large, high ceiling room, with beds, sofa, chairs, windows in room and washroom for great breeze, and, best of all, a very large balcony with table, chairs, chaise lounges, and fantastic view mere feet above and from the beach - out across Spiaggia Grande - the balcony was very nice, and a great place to enjoy breakfast or a glass of wine in the evening. On that note, the breakfast provided each morning is outstanding, with great pastries, fruit, and meats & cheeses.
    The hotel has a phenomenal staff - incl, particularly, Mario, Lorenzo, Roberta, Fiorella, Massimiliano, Chantal, Salvatore, Matteo, - and they helped make this a memorable and wonderful visit - they were uniformly helpful, friendly and professional. Anything you want to find o do, they will assist you in arranging same.
    So, a great boutique hotel, with a great staff, in an amazing location. Will return. Very reco'd.

  • 15. THINGS TO DO

  • 16. Charter a Boat for Cruise along Coast
    Noleggio barche Lucibello, Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Surprised Nicole on second to last day by renting a 32 foot Cabin Cruiser from Lucibello (highly reco'd - see the Tornado 11 at www.lucibello.it and see our review on TripAdvisor) and cruising up and down the coast, being served champagne by our Captain, Salvatore, listening to music, stopping to swim several times in the sea under the cliffs, going into grottos, and generally having a great day on the water.

    You'll see the towns of Positano, Furore, Amalfi, Atrani, Minori, views of the Amalfi Road from a unique perspective at a leisurely pace. A view of the coast unattainable from the road. You'll get great views of the sheer cliffs, the Amalfi road, towns and villas, the coastal towers (dating back to 8th century, built to defend the city states of the time), lots of cools geography (Li Galli are the small islands just off Positano, also the Madonna and Child rock formation), tiny inlets, and grottos.

    Somewhat pricey (at a little over 1000 EU), but a very relaxed, extremely fun, romantic, and memorable way to spend a day.

  • 17. Spend the day learning to cook (and eating) Southern Italian Food
    Mamma Agata - Cooking Class, Ravello, Amalfi Coast

    Mamma Agata Cooking Class in Ravello. Learn to cook real Southern Italian food from the best in a multi-generational and beautiful home overlooking the coast from Ravello.

    We spent the day with Mamma Agata, Chiara, Salvatore and their family and staff (www.mammaagata.com) and several other class participants in an Italian Cooking Class - learning to cook and then enjoying many courses of amazing food along with many glasses of wine - in their generations-old family home on a terrace on a cliff top some 1000 feet above Amalfi and the Amalfi Coast, in the town of Ravello.

    An absolutely great and memorable time. Great fun, great food, great location. See my review and some sample photos on Trip Advisor (or all the pics on our Flickr page - URL above).

  • 18. See Pompeii
    Ancient Pompeii, Pompeii, Province of Naples

    Simply amazing.

    Suggest going on cool week day - and early - to avoid crowds and what can be a very hot location in season.

    This was our second visit to Pompeii, Naples, etc. - and selecting a cooler week day morning provided by far the best experience.

    Recommend at least a few hours, as it's large and the best sites within are scattered.

    Recommend Conde Nast Traveler "Best of Italy" app that has a cool walking tour of Pompeii (used that and paper map to navigate Pompeii without headphones or tour - very useful).

    We found that much more enjoyable - at our pace, taking time where we desired, and ensuring we saw some of the best sites at our pace - versus using a guide. You could also rent headphones to guide you through though if preferred.

  • 19. Drive the Amalfi Road (Coast Road)
    Coast Road, Amalfi Coast, Campania

    Hire a car and take at least one drive south to Amalfi or further. It is truly an amazing drive.

    Many hairpin turns and passages where only one vehicle can pass at a time - so hiring a driver (see below) will allow you to focus on the scenery. All the towns noted above can be seen (or visited) directly form the Amalfi Road. Some other sights include:

    (1) Many lookout spots, small towns at which to stop a bit to drink in the beautiful views. Also many stands selling the famous lemons and citrons of the area, as well as vegetables, snacks, etc.

    (2) There is a roadside miniature town & creche, just south of Positano that's very cool.

    (3) You can stop near the bridge over the Furore fjord and get a great view of the beach, fjord, etc.

    (4) You may see the Madonna and Child formation just off the road.

    (5) Marina de Praia - a cool little beach with restaurant, boats beached on the sand, down below a bend in the road.

    (6) The coastal towers (dating back to 8th century, built to defend the city states of the time).

    (7) If time permits, a bit of a lark is the Emerald Grotto - sure it's a blast for kids, or if adults only bring your sense of humor. Either approach a landing by boat (our approach) or descend from road and enter a large grotto, where you'll be rowed about in a small rowboat to see inside of cave - lit above and below water. Sunlight visible coming in through passage below water. The "guides" joke around quite a bit - it's nothing spectacular, but kind of goofy fun.

    But the road itself is truly spectacular - hugging the cliffs, looking out over the sea and inland at some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere - and arguably one the best drives anywhere in the world.

  • 20. Go to Ravello, see Villa Cimbrone
    Villa Cimbrone Gardens, Ravello, Amalfi Coast

    Villa Cimbrone is an 11th century villa, one time moastery, and now hotel in Ravello, perched high above the coast. The grounds and gardens (open to public, entrance tickets cost €6.00) are truly beautiful, but the real stunner is the “Terrace of the Infinite”. Arguably the sinlge most impressive, awe inspiring view of our visit. The terrace sits at the edge or a precipice some 1500 ft above the coast, with a many hundred foot sheer drop, and a simply astonishing view from the terrace of the Italian coast, Amalfi below and out over the Gulf of Salerno and The Tyrrhenian Sea.

    Ravello sits above Amalfi, so you can drive up into the hills from the Amalfi Road – or you can take a Ferry to Amalfi (which sits below Ravello on the coast proper), and take a taxi up to Ravello. Eithe way, you'll arrive at a parking lot near the main square, as no cars are permitted in the town proper. The center square, immediately outside the entrance to Villa Rufolo, has a few cafes, great for grabbing a glass of wine and Panini after seeing the town and villas.

    Villa Rufolo, also in Ravello, has gardened terraces providing a similarly amazing view out over the Amalfi Coast and sea is also not to be missed. Both are astounding - the views of the Italian coast you dream of... So, go already :) The Web Site for Villa Cimbone is at "www.villacimbrone.com".

  • 21. Go to Ravello, see Villa Rufolo
    Villa Rufolo, Ravello, Amalfi Coast

    Villa Rufolo is a 13th century villa, in Ravello. The building and grounds are lovey, but the gardened terrace, sitting on a precipice perched many hundreds of feet above the Amalfi Coast, boasts one of the best views found along the Amalfi Coast - Amalfi below and out over the Gulf of Salerno and The Tyrrhenian Sea. Amazing.

    Ravello sits above Amalfi, so you can drive up into the hills from the Amalfi Road – or you can take a Ferry to Amalfi (which sits below Ravello on the coast proper), and take a taxi up to Ravello. Eithe way, you'll arrive at a parking lot near the main square, as no cars are permitted in the town proper. The center square, immediately outside the entrance to Villa Rufolo, has a few cafes, great for grabbing a glass of wine and Panini after seeing the town and villas.

    Villa Cimbrone, also in Ravello, has grounds and gardens (open to public, entrance tickets cost €6.00) that are truly beautiful, but the real stunner at that site is the “Terrace of the Infinite” - jaw dropping views. Both are astounding - the views of the Italian coast you dream of... So, go already :) Web site is at: "www.ravellotime.it/"

  • 22. Spend the day on Capri
    Capri, Island of Capri

    It's a short and pleasant hydrofoil ride (say, 1/2 hour) directly from Positano. You purchase tickets for the hydrofoil right at the beach and ferry landing. Would definitely advise faster hydrofoil versus slower boats. You'll land at Capri harbor - it is wicked touristy, so, our advice is queue up or ticket and take the funicular from the harbor to the town straight away.

    You'll emerge right at the town center, Piazza Umberto, which is lovely, though crowded. If up for a bit of a hike, the view on your way to and especially from Villa Jovis (built by Roman Emperor Augustus' successor Tiberius) are amazing - including views down sheer cliffs hundreds of feet to beautiful turquoise sea below, and views across bay clear to Naples and Mt Vesuvius north, the Amalfi Coast to the south, and back across the island of Capri to both harbors at various points. A wonderful small family cafe (fresh squeezed juice and focaccia caprese sandwich!) was a great refreshing find halfway back down the walk from Villa Jovis - just on your right, well before you re-enter the town proper. Also, very worthwhile was the great hike along the cliffs to view the Faraglioni (huge - 300ft tall - rock structures just off the coast), incl from Punta Tragar. Beautiful. Of course, many chic shops to peruse (Versace, Cavalli, Prada, LV, Bvlgari, etc.) if that's your passion.

  • 23. THINGS TO BUY

    Great little shops in Positano along the stairs that wind through town - everything from clothing, to souvenirs, to great wine. We enjoyed much more than, say, Sorrento or Amalfi. A couple notable follow.

  • 24. Buy some beautiful Ceramic
    http://www.ceramicacasola.it/

    The area is famous for its ceramic, but many of the small shops are expensive and of varying quality.

    We found two nearby ceramic factories, inspected each, and settled on Ceramica Casola - a ceramic factory and showroom just outside Positano (www.ceramicacasola.it, Via Laurito, 49 - Positano (SA) Italy - Telephone +39.089.811.382). We ordered custom ceramic dishware, serving dishes, a large bowl for display with monograms and custom coloring.

    Great, family run shop, with very nice quality and selection - arrived safely, well packed some eight weeks later - beautiful. Very recommended.

  • 25. Buy some cool shoes
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704608504576208752143856...

    Tre Denari is a little shop in Positano that sells handmade shoes for men and women. It's at the base of the stairs before you get to the beach.

    We read about it in the 26 Mar 2011 Wall St Journal Weekend. Shop has been there since 1930s we were told by the owner, with some regulars return annually from abroad (some via boat offshore) to buy shoes there.

    Nicole got handmade loafers, me wicked cool leather sneakers. Cool.

  • 26. WHERE TO EAT

    What follows is most definitely not an exhaustive list – as one of the great joys of this amazing area is its amazing food, and particularly the local fish, seafood and vegetables, and, of course, wine.

    There are many, many small cafes and restaurants from which to choose - these just happen to be some we enjoyed.

    Buon appetito!

  • 27. Donna Rosa il Ristorante
    Donna Rosa il Ristorante, Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Feel: Great meal in small local restaurant.

    Donna Rosa restaurant - with Mamma Raffaella, Erika, Rosida and staff - one of only two restaurants we returned to for more than one meal during our stay in Positano - we found the meals at Donna Rosa simply outstanding.

    Great pasta (the black & white with seafood was incredible), seafood, meat, amazing onion bread, and phenomenal desert - all accompanied by great wine selected by the father, Papa Vincenzo.

    And, after, a little grappa, cafe, and friendly chats with the daughters. Highly reco'd.

    Donna Rosa il Ristorante (http://drpositano.com/, Via Montepertuso, 97/99, 84017, Italy. 089-811806). See my review on Trip Advisor.

  • 28. Al Palazzo
    Al Palazzo, Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Feel: A beautiful, quiet setting for romantic, outdoor dining in heart of Positano.

    Palazzo Murat is a lovely hotel just up the main walk in Positano, Its restaurant, Al Palazzo, occupies the walled courtyard outside the hotel.

    Plan for nicer attire. Great food and nice wine parings make a wonderful meal. We had the fixed price "tasting" menu - with recommended wines, and each course was delicious.

    Have your concierge make reso for you here. See my review.

  • 29. Ristorante Buca di Bacco
    Ristorante Buca di Bacco, Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Feel: Great "every night" meal.

    Outstanding food in a very nice, more relaxed, environment right off the boardwalk / beach (but NOT a shorts and flip flops kinda place, yes?).

    A great staff, lively atmosphere, and, most important, great food - pasta, seafood (both fish and shell fish, e.g., mussels) and very good wine.

    Good enough that we ate there at least three nights, and ordered room service from them one night after particularly tiring day.

    They are located directly below the hotel Buca di Bacco (one of the many pleasures of that hotel), and I believe they prepare the hotel's morning buffet (which is quite nice).

  • 30. Chez Black
    CHEZ BLACK, Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Feel: Casual (just off the beach, site seeing, quick nosh).

    Chez Black is right on boardwalk. The pizza was OK. Nice cheese, meats, shellfish appetizers and good wine ? usually busy, right on boardwalk, so lots of folks stop in from beach, very casual (swimwear, shorts).

  • 31. Le Tre Sorelle
    Le Tre Sorelle, Positano, Amalfi Coast

    Feel: Pizza, casual - good take away pizza.

    Le Tre Sorelle is just up main staircase form beach, below church, next to Buca. Probably would pass for sit down, but good pizza if you want to take away.

  • 32. HOW TO GET THERE

    We hired drivers several different days for tours along coast and visits to the amazing towns and sites along the coast. The drivers all use very nice MB sedans as limos, nearly all speak English well and are quite good at pointing out sites and always willing to pull over for pic, take you to any type of shop, meal, or site you might want.

    They charge consistent rates, irrespective of which company you use. And, they are great fun. As in any city in the world, of course, some may try to steer you towards preferred shops - but should not be a surprise, just roll with it and be clear on what you want. Many of the rivers came from hospitality (hotel, tour bus, cruise ship background, so all quite good, professional. Lupo (Wolf) was one of our more entertaining - but all good and can provide insight on the culture place of the people if you?ve interest.

    Benevuto (benvenutolimos.com) did quite well by us on multiple hires / trips - including trips between Naples airport and Hotel Buca on arrival and departure from Positano, Pompeii & Sorrento, and a couple trips down the coast. We found, though, no troubles with other car services either - all great.

    You can also (we did twice out o curiosity) try the SITA bus. Small buses that move expertly through the steep climbs and descents between towns and used extensively by locals. Fun - but leisurely and not what we would have done for a longer trip or to go to a specific site or activity.

    And, of course by boat. The Ferry systems is fantastic. Particularly if you?re traveling point to point. Large vessels, with frequent departures. Easy, inexpensive ? and offer great views of the coast. See our pics at Flickr (URL above) for some of the views from the Ferry between Amalfi and Positano. Tickets are available right near the ferry landings. Be aware of times though so you?re not left stuck as night draws near. The hydrofoil to Capri, similarly, is not expensive, has frequent departures, and is a great way to get there.

  • 33. WHAT TO READ

    Books for Kindle / iPad Kindle App

    - Pompeii, Capri, Ischia & the Bay of Naples [Kindle Edition]

    - Walking on the Amalfi Coast: Ischia, Capri, Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi (Cicerone Guides) [Kindle Edition]

    - The Rough Guide to Naples & the Amalfi Coast (Rough Guide Travel Guides) [Kindle Edition]


    iPad Apps

    - Amalfi Coast app for iPad by iLogic

    - Amalfi Coast Drive Offline by VoyagerItS

    - Capri app by Swanittech

    - Capri English "Filmcards" app for iPad and iPhone

    - Conde Nast Traveler "Best of Italy" app that has a piece on Capri and one on Amalfi - and a cool walking tour of Pompeii (used that and paper map to navigate Pompeii without headphones or tour ? very useful)


    Books

    - Lonely Planet Guide for Naples & Amalfi Coast

    - DK Eyewitness book on Naples & Amalfi Coast (always like those - great pics, organization, have used everywhere we've gone)