A visit to the Amalfi Coast in Italy will leave you enamored with the laid-back lifestyle and cliff-side views that the area is known for.
The Amalfi Coast is comprised of several small towns that are all strung together along the perimetre of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the province of Naples. The towns are connected by a single narrow cliff-side highway that runs the length of the coast above the sparkling waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. One of the most popular towns frequented by international tourists and vacationing Italians alike is the charming town of Positano. As is the case with all the villages along the Amalfi Coast, Positano clambers down a vertiginous slope to the sea below.
The entire Amalfi coast is something right out of your wildest (and most breath-takingly gorgeous) dreams. Rustic mountain rock, smooth and colourful stucco buildings, palm trees and colourful flowers, a pebble shore beach and the most incredible view of the Sea come together perfectly.
It is one of those places that is equally as impressive and gorgeous at night as it is by day. Since the town is built up on a mountain side, it appears as though each apartment, boutique, restaurant and gelateria was shoved into any flat plane available along the steep incline. All the towns are easily visited by ferry during the day since each village has it’s own humble port. A day-trip over to the island of Capri is not to be missed, just be sure to check ferry times of departure.
One of the more popular towns for Italian vacationers and international tourists alike is Positano. The architecture in Positano (and the neighbouring villages of Praiano, Ravello, Amalfi, Atrani and Minori) is quintessentially European-romantic in nature with a clear focus on form follows function. Architects had no choice but to construct simple, four-sided dwellings where all corners meet at 90 degree angles in order to make the most of the limited real estate. While a super-modern curvilinear structure would provide a funky contrast to the jagged mountain range, the interior would likely lack in the Coast’s most precious commodity: space. It’s very tricky to make good use of space in a room with curved walls, and luckily, the people of Amalfi coast know this and have figured out a way to maximize their use of space in a beautiful yet simplistic way. On the flip side, many buildings implement curvilinear forms through the use of Romanesque arches…a lovely visual break when viewed from a distance.
Every single building, regardless of its function, is constructed out of concrete blocks and stucco. Gypsum (or drywall) would never stand against the humidity; all walls are finished in plaster – a material that can withstand the balmy coastal climate. Despite the similarity in architectural appearance, each building is painted a different colour reminiscent of a Mediterranean colour palette punctuated with saturated green hues from the lush greenery that seems to grow right out of the rocky ground.
The abundance of large outdoor patios and terraces that look out to the shimmering glass surface of the Gulf of Salerno are perfectly functional in this charming village. There is nothing more satisfying than sitting out on one of the terraces and enjoying some chilled limoncello (a liquor made from lemons harvested from the nearby town of Salerno). For protection from the hot sun, these terraces are commonly adorned with pergola-style trellis work that permit the odd bougainvillea or creeping vine to dangle down from the soft leafy barrier overhead.
If a great view and fresh fish caught for dinner is not enough to lure you over to Positano, rest assured that there are more than enough opportunities for shopping to quiet your inner shopaholic. Positano is stocked full of beautiful boutique jewelry stores (that specialize in red coral goods), local designer clothing shops (selling quality linen and knits) and beach-side market stalls (with a large selection of stylish sandals and beachwear). All vendors and shop owners are delightful and happy to offer any assistance, especially the flip flop and sandal vendors who will literally pull out the straps of a sandal and custom-fit the leather pieces to the contours of your feet.
For more affordable shopping options, walk up along the main road (away from the beach) and browse through the goods displayed outside the shops – as a general rule of thumb, the farther away you are from the main tourist area, the cheaper the goods.
There is no shortage of local designer boutiques dotted between stretches of road-side restaurants; wasting an entire evening strolling up and down the main road, shopping, reading restaurant menus and grabbing a gelato on-the-go is quite easy in Positano…in fact, it’s about all there is to do.