Positano, a small town on the Amalfi Cost, is located in Campania — a region on the western coast of Italy .   Alternately said to have been founded by a group of Romans under attack by pirates, or by the god Poseidon as a present to a nymph, artifacts have been found dating human inhabitance to the Paleolithic era.   When the Emperor Tiberius moved to Capri , his paranoia of being poisoned caused him to send a boat to Positano to bring back "safe" flour for bread.

Once a bustling port of the Amalfi Republic, Positano was one of the most important commercial centers in the Mediterannean, competing even with Venice for dominance as an international trade center that brought together wares from the near and Middle East and from western and Central Europe.   However, By the 1850s the economy of the town was so far in decline that over half of the population immigrated (largely to the United States ).

Up until the 1950s, Positano's main income came from fishing until it began attracting tourists, including John Steinbeck, who wrote in Harper's that "it is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone."   Articles like this greatly increased the popularity and renown of the island, bringing the future tourists that would become its major industry.

For more information about the history of Positano, refer to the following links:

http://www.positanonline.it/storia/st...

http://www.positano.com/en/positano-h...

http://www.amalfilife.com/coast.html

http://positano.starnetwork.it/englis...

http://www.amalficoastweb.com/positan...