A Visit to Positano Italy, A Beautiful Hillside Town on the Amalfi Coast

Welcome to the 364th Metamorphosis Monday!

Today’s post is about the metamorphosis of a picturesque seaside village located in Italy on the Amalfi coast. Through the good and the bad it has survived, and today it’s a bustling village where tourists flock from all over the world.

Ever since I saw the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, I’ve wanted to visit Positano. I finally got my chance when I traveled to Italy back in October. It was stormy and overcast the day we visited, but the rain stopped long enough for me to capture some wonderful photos of this beautiful hillside town.

The Amalfi coastal highway (SS163) is carved right out of the rocky cliffs that plunge down to meet the ocean below. I took this photo from inside the bus as we twisted and wound our way for miles and miles around the hairpin turns toward Positano.

Amalfi Coast Highway


This was the view looking out the window of the bus. You can actually see the edge of the road in left corner of the photo. This drive is definitely not for the faint of heart! As we zoomed along, I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone had ever broken through and gone over the edge. Terrifying thought!

Driving to Positano Along The Amalfi Coast


When you think of the hillside villages along the Amalfi Coast, think “compact and tight.” There’s only one street in Positano that allows motorized vehicles and it’s a single lane road in many areas. The cars you see on the left are all parked. If the window had been down, I could have reached out and touched the stone wall on the right.

Riding Through Positano


Walking is the best mode of transportation and when you are out walking, you are going either up hill or down hill.

Extras 037_wm


I saw so many tempting stores that I longed to go in, but with such limited time I made a beeline down, down, down to the sea.

Beautiful Shops in Positano


This was the view alongside the shop shown above. Everything in Positano seems to be hanging off a cliff!

Flowers in Positano


As I walked quickly toward the beach, this shop window literally stopped me in my tracks. It was a surprise bit of springtime on this cloudy, October day.

Floral Dresses in Shop Window in Positano


Loved this shop all covered in vines! I so want to go back and go in all the wonderful places I passed on my way down to the ocean.

Positano Vine-Covered Store


Finally reaching the sea, I was mesmerized by the crashing waves and the crunchy dark beach made of a combination of rock and sand.

Ocean and Coastline, Positano, Italy


When viewing the hillside town of Positano, it’s a little shocking to see just how close the buildings, shops and villas are to the water. I wasn’t surprised when I read the village was destroyed by a tsunami in the 1343.  I hope that never happens again!

Over the years Positano has seen good times and bad times. It suffered repeated pirate attacks during the 15th century.

Positano Italy, Oceanside Village


During the 18th century, Positano was a major port and benefited from all the trading that took place, but once again it saw a decline as more roads opened up and it lost its importance as a major trading hub. For many years afterwards, it was a simple fishing village and a lot of the residents left and emigrated to the U.S.

Positano Italy, Cliffside Village on Amalfi Coast


Then the SS163 road was built and the town began to prosper as tourists, including celebrities and other famous folks discovered Positano. Some of the artists/writers who have fallen in love with Positano include: Pablo Picasso, M.C. Escher and John Steinbeck. Steinbeck actually wrote an article about Positano for Harper’s Bazaar in May, 1953.

Boats on Beach in Positano Italy


The Church of Santa Maria Assunta can be seen in this photo. The dome of the church is covered with beautiful majolica tiles.

Positano Italy Beach View


Positano has strict building codes that prevent any modern construction, so it still looks today very much the same as it did a century ago.

Positano, Italy, October 2015


I wonder which one of these homes was Marcello’s in the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. Remember the scene where Frances, looking stunning in her white dress, comes to Positano to see Marcello. She hitches a ride up the winding road on the back of a motorcycle. Marcello comes out onto the balcony of his villa and looks down as she calls up to him. Then he proceeds to come down from the balcony and break her heart. Bad Marcello!

Restaurants Along Positano


I didn’t “find my Marcello” while in Positano, I was too busy enjoying the views! lol I tried to find a spot to capture for you how the homes are literally built right into the side of the hills/cliffs.

Pink Home in Positano, Italy


Everywhere you look, you see beautiful flowers, even on a rainy day in October.

Pink Villa, Positano Italy


As I stood there on the beach, I was thinking about you. I wanted to put you here in Positano with me. So, I filmed a quick video looking out to the sea and then turning around full circle.

To get the feeling of being there, click the video below and once it starts playing, click the “YouTube” logo down in the right hand corner. Or, just click here to watch it on YouTube: On the beach in Positano. You can see it in a much larger format on YouTube, so I recommend watching it there.

Replay and pause the video as you watch to enjoy the little scenes of the village. I hope it makes you feel as if you’re there beside me on the beach in Positano.



I only had about 30 minutes down on the beach since I knew the climb back up would take close to half an hour. As I climbed, this was how the narrow pathways looked.

Twisting Stairs, Positano Italy


The views were awesome going back up!

Positano, Italy Cliffside Homes


Looking Down On Positano Italy


There’s the church of Santa Maria Assunta, again!

Positano, Italy 22


Santa Maria Assunta, Positano, Italy


Climbing, climbing, climbing.

Positano, Italy Steps


As I climbed, I passed so many beautiful doors. You can see more of them in Saturday’s blog post here: Hear the Beautiful Bells of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano

La Scalinatella Villa in Positano, Italy


Many times I turned to look back. The ocean was never far away and I caught glimpses of it as I climbed back up.

Positano, Flowers Spilling Over Narrow Stairyway


I also caught glimpses of the majolica tiled roof of Santa Maria Assunta and the village of Positano below.

Positano Italy Winding Stairways


Just think, we were standing on that beach just a few minutes ago.

Positano Italy on Amalfi Coast


I felt sad leaving this enchanting place. I’d love to go back again one day.

Positano, Italy Overlooking Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta Church and the Amalfi Coast


Positano, Italy on Stormy Day


If we had been able to stay until nightfall, this is what we would have seen! WOW! (Photo by JeCCo, from Wikipedia)

Positano at Night

“Positano Sunset” by JeCCo – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Commons


Hope you enjoyed going to Positano with me. Let’s go back again, and this time let’s stay at least a few days.

If you’re interested in one day traveling to Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast region, you’ll find additional posts highlighting the places I visited while in Italy here: Italy. Or, just click on the image below for links to those posts. (Update: Clicking on the image below may not work on phones as I discovered today…so click the link instead if you’re reading this on a phone.)

I was in Italy for 17 days so I’ll be sharing more about Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast as I go through all my photos from the trip.

Italy Travel

Looking forward to all the wonderful Before and Afters for this Metamorphosis Monday!

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In order to link up, you’ll need to include a link in your MM post back to the party so the other participants will have an opportunity to receive visits from your wonderful blog readers.

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  1. Susan- I spent a summer in Italy when I was in college and loved it! Seeing your photos bring back so many wonderful memories…Postiano was one of my favorite places!! Thanks so much for sharing…

    • Oh, that would such a dream, to actually have several months or even a year to spend there. So glad you got to experience that, Kristy…it sounds wonderful! I’m late to traveling so I’m relishing the experience. πŸ™‚

  2. My husband and I were just in Positano (and Ravello) in September. It truly is a magical place! The one thing we kept saying was “The Italians have got it right!” Amazing architecture, delicious food, great wine, beautiful people, and just an overall love for life. Loved reading this and being taken back to such a special place!

    • Exactly! I would love to return and see more but I have so many places I want to see, it may be a while before I get back there. Thanks, Ashley!

  3. What an incredible place, thank you for taking us there Susan! So much history and layers here, it must have been fascinating finding a view or a surprise shop or lovely sight around every corner! It does give me a little claustrophobia though, all those narrow passages! Simply Stunning! Thanks for the Monday fun, have a great week!

    • Jenna, that’s the way the whole trip was, we were always surrounded with amazing views. Italy is a gorgeous country! Would love to see it in the spring!

  4. Oh, how I love these Italy posts! Positano is just breathtaking!

    • Thanks, Shelley! I’ll be sprinkling them in here and there for a while. We went so many places while there and each was special in its own way.

  5. Susan, I love Italy, also. Isn’t that coast drive exciting? Found lots of relatives in Rome, Spinoso and Moliterino? Last time I was there, I attened my cousins wedding. Unbelievable. Did the bridal prosession from the church through the local piazza. We ate and drank from early afternoon until the wee hours of the next morning. The food and drinks just kept coming and coming. Ready to go back.

    • Hair-raising! lol I refused to let myself feel scared, just kept reminding myself that tour buses go up and down that road all day long and that the drivers are experienced. Wow, the wedding sounds amazing! What a celebration!

  6. Susan, thanks for taking me back to Italy. I have been three times and I hopefully will be returning! Your photos capture the beauty of this magical country! Have a wonderful week Pam @ Everyday Living

  7. aggie zittel says

    I so enjoyed this post and pictures of Positano. The Amalfi Coast is so beautiful. I was there in November on a tour but we did not stop to see the town. Your pictures made is so real for me and brought me back to what I saw from that bus. I’m looking forward to your next post.

  8. How beautiful, Susan! I am definitely adding it to my bucket list! Thanks for hosting! Hugs…Debbie

  9. Wonderful photos and video – love the sound of the ocean, whether crashing or lapping waves. Living there would not be for the faint of heart or physical ability, that’s for sure, but I’d love to someday visit it. Again, thanks for sharing it all.

  10. Susan, Thanks so much for sharing your photos from your trip and letting me be an armchair traveler! I would love to visit Italy some day!

  11. That was awesome!! Thanks for taking me there.

  12. Wow, breathtaking! Though I think I might be too faint of heart to take the bus trip there! Yikes! Thanks for sharing with us, and for hosting a great party!

  13. Absolutely stunning, Susan. I am so happy you had such a wonderful opportunity to visit Positano, Italy and share your experiences with us. I am sure the views are breath-taking, especially the romantic night time photo. The coziness of the small spaces and little shops are so welcoming. Yes, yes, a trip back is a must!

  14. Wow what a wonderful place to visit! I enjoyed all your pictures and the videos. Hearing bells in a town, village, or city always comforts me. It’s amazing how they built those homes right into the side of the mountain. I’m glad they have strict building codes so no one can come in there and take away from it’s beauty. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Loved going to Positano this morning! Thank you! My cup of coffee was even better as I enjoyed the view! Blessings to you!

  16. Gorgeous photos… I bet walking around was a workout though! Thanks for hosting today. Liz

  17. My bucket list is growing, thanks to you! Thanks for hosting and stay warm!

  18. Ah… Positano! My favorite place on earth!! Lovely photos… πŸ™‚ Looking forward to seeing more of your wonderful trip!

    I did a post last year on my stay at Le Sirenuse. I had planned to do a second post on the town itself and never got to it. You’ve inspired me to return to my pictures and get them shared… πŸ˜‰ I’ve also got some up of Tuscany & Sorrento, as well.

    (If you want to peek at my post it’s here: http://designthusiasm.com/le-sirenuse-positano/ or just look in the travel category on my page.)

  19. Positano has an essence like no other…it truly is mesmerizing. I SO relate to those “tight curves”…Eeeekk..on a tour bus going up and up on those teeny tiny…trails…there were times I COULD NOT LOOK!! franki p.s. seeing everything lit at night from our cruise ship…a site to see!! fmp

  20. Cheryl Gordon says

    Absolutely beautiful! I have always wanted to go to Italy and Greece, your pictures almost make me feel I am there. The story of almost going off the road reminded me of when I spent 6 weeks on a kibbutz in Israel when I was 16. One trip, the back wheel of our bus did go slightly off the road. All us kids had to get out while the pushed the bus back! And one weekend, two of us took a terrifying ride in a jeep with a kibbutz member who drove like crazy on winding roads. No seat belts, just trying to hold on for dear life. I think he did it on purpose to give us some excitement.

  21. So thoughtful of you to share the beach video. I very much enjoyed hearing Italian surf this morning with my cup of tea. So lovely. Well done!

  22. So thoughtful of you to think of us and want to share the beach video. I very much enjoyed hearing Italian surf with my cup of tea this morning. So lovely and peaceful. Well done!

  23. Wow, Susan, what wonderful sites to wake up to on a Monday morning! Thank you so much for taking the time on your trip to give us a chance to experience this. I’ve wanted to go to Positano since the movie “Only You” with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr. They show a restaurant on the beach and I WANT to eat there!! Was the walk back up really grueling? I just wonder how much cardiac rehab I need to do before even considering a trip!? lol. Have a good week. I’ll be revisiting this post many times. Thanks again. Rosie

    • I need to watch that movie, several folks have recommended it to me.
      Well, if you just headed straight up and didn’t stop at all, it would be too much for any mere mortal, I think. lol I was glad I had the “excuse” of stopping to take photos periodically because that helped a lot.
      It really wasn’t that bad, though. Positano was about a week and a half into the trip, so I had already gotten a lot of exercise from walking to and around all the other places we had visited. Plus, I always took the stairs wherever we stayed. I could feel my legs getting stronger and stronger, day by day. So that probably helped, too. I wish I had a fun workout like that everyday. Exercise isn’t so boring when you’re surrounded by beautiful places and scenery that’s all new to you.

  24. What a magnificent town and looks like you also had a most magnificent time…What glorious photos…all of them each like a fabulous post card. I must say that I especially love the town at sunset…how breathtaking!
    Thanks for hosting Susan…have a great week! P.S. Enjoying the pics of your purses on IG!

  25. What a wonderful tour of an interesting and beautiful place. I’d love to visit it, but I’m not sure I’m physically fit enough to do all of that climbing! You can’t have a feud with your neighbor in this town, since everyone is so close together. I’m curious about the population. Will have to google that. Thank you for a lovely tour, and your video may be the closest I come to climbing those winding stairs.

  26. Now if I had won the Powerball, I’d be commenting from the Amalfi Coast. As you know, one of the most beautiful places on planet Earth! Thanks for taking everyone on your journey. Hope you have a great week, Cynthia

  27. I want to go with you the next time! Your photos are wonderful. I remember taking a bus ride on the cliffs hovering over the Med Sea…but in the Nice region of France. I felt like my life could end any time as our bus driver was going way too fast. Yikes.
    Have a great week, and thanks for the party!

  28. Wow! That is soooo gorgeous. You were very disciplined to keep moving past those incredible shops on your way to the water. But, then, that was beautiful too! I think I could just look at these pictures all day long. What a joy. πŸ™‚

  29. Amazing pictures, my Mom just got back from there and showed me identical pics….LOL….GORGEOUS…I miss Europe

  30. Susan, how lovely! Thank you for sharing and for hosting! Have a beautiful week. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  31. Sandy Park says

    WOW what a wonderful trip. You’re one lucky lady. You’re also lucky that you made it back up the cliff to your bus. I would have never made it back up. The video was great. I felt like I was there on the beach with you. Thanks for the mini-vac.

  32. What a wonderful experience! I love that movie, but after reading about the drive, I’m not sure I would enjoy it. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing those gorgeous pics!

  33. Wow Susan, what wonderful pictures and Loved the video on the beach.
    Positano is absolutely beautiful. I need to make another trip to Italy. Although I don’t think I could manage all that walking. But with all that exercise you can eat your hearts content of Italian food. YUM

    What is the name of the tour you took, I misplaced it.
    Thanks for all the memories.

  34. I am amazed at how they were even able to build that town! It looks like the buildings are one on top of the other! Even more amazing is how they do the plumbing!! Lovely place!

  35. My parents were married in Florence, (in the early 50s) then honeymooned in Positano. Wouldn’t that be a romantic spot to start married life?

  36. Love this post. Our visit to Positano was short also. You got some great shots of the hillside. I wish I had thought of a hillside shot from the bottom. I went in the same little deli pictured in the 8th picture and bought some truffles in a jar to bring home. I tried to copy a dish we had in Florence and it turned out pretty good actually. I blogged about our trip here: http://livingwiththanksgiving.blogspot.com/2014/04/amalfi-coast-and-positano-italy.html#
    The ride to Positano from Sorrento was scary at times. The roads are so curvy and narrow.
    I loved hearing about Marcello and Frances in Positano. I’ve watched under the Tuscan Sun numerous times and somehow I didn’t pick up on the trip she went to see Marcello was in Positano. Neat to learn that today. Heading back to watch your video. Thanks, Susan. I enjoyed your post so much.

    • Thanks, Bonnie! I wish I hadn’t been so rushed. I know I could have gotten a lot better photos than I did. Would love to see Positano during the springtime! We were staying in Sorrento to so I know exactly what you mean…very scary!

  37. Enchanting is right! Thank you for sharing with us, Susan. One day, maybe.:)

  38. Omg!!that was spectacular! Thank you sooooo much for the wonderful tour!! I soooo wish I could visit! Thank you!

  39. Thanks for sharing these photos. I will never get there as I could never fly that far. But I enjoy seeing this through your eyes.

  40. Stunning and every other superlative. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos. I hope you return one day.

  41. Beautiful photos Susan! Seeing so many of the places and shops I visited while spending 3 days there. We stayed at the Eden Roc and it was a fantasy come true. Walked into a beautiful room saw the view of the ocean, wisteria blooming and hanging all over our balcony, window sheers blowing into the room from the ocean breeze………heavenly. I told my husband, aahh, that’s why we came!!!! Thanks for the memories.

  42. I thoroughly enjoyed your post on Positano! And, I love how you post other information we might like to see. Today I noticed your post on the shoes you took. It’s like having a Personal Shopper! I loved every one of the shoes! My taste must be very similar to yours, because I have noticed many items you post regarding “recent purchases” are always PERFECT to my style and likes. Thanks for doing this!

    • Thanks Rosse! I’m so glad those posts are helpful. I’ll keep doing those from time to time. Both last night and tonight I came ascross a great sale and wished I could share it with necessarily having to create a whole post on shopping finds. So, I may start adding those things to the ends of a post, that way folks can catch the sale before it’s gone. The good stuff never lasts very long. For example, one of the pairs of boots I took on my trip to Italy and LOVED and have worn like crazy since I’ve been home, currently on sale here: http://bit.ly/1RQrmpf It’s on sale for around 50% off. I also found a coupon code for getting an additional 20% off. The coupon code is: STW011716 That is an AWESOME deal! I ordered a second pair in the Bison color.

  43. Susan, thanks for taking us along on your trip. I know everyone enjoyed it as much as I did!! Some day…..maybe.

  44. Wow Susan, Positano is absolutely gorgeous. Italy is way up there on my bucket list and I hope that I can visit one day. Thanks for taking us along and sharing your beautiful pictures. One question I do have is…how was the food? I know, it’s probably a dumb question right? I mean…it’s Italy! πŸ˜‰

  45. Oh Susan, I have so enjoyed your Italy posts—well all your posts, but divine Italy—history and color and flavor—what could be better. I found my self lost and back tracking on posts I missed, the doors, the bells…Gorgeous—can’t wait for it all! And thanks for taking the time to host this great party!, Sandi

  46. Gorgeous photos, the sound of the waves, lovely descriptions. I so indulge in savoring your blogs. Thank you

  47. Thank you so much for hosting! xxx Maria

  48. Hi Susan. Just an fyi. I came back to read this weeks linkups and looked for mine. None of my three posted. I tried to link my post links up again…but the message is that my my linkups already exist. I am thinking you would want to know about it…and maybe some others had the same problem. Sheila

  49. I always wondered about the streets. You can never tell how far apart the buildings are from each other. This is such a beautiful architectal’s dream to be able to study the homes. Makes me wonder how did they build the city over after the tsunami without the foundation of the hillside not crumbling.
    And yes I did listen to the waves crashing like 10 times

  50. Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures of Italy with us. I went to Italy years ago and would love to go back. Thank you again for bringing back some happy memories.

  51. Karen Wilkerson says

    Thank you for sharing! My daughter and I are currently planning a trip to Italy for 2017. It has been my dream since first seeing that movie! Positano is on my list as well as Venice (which is where we’ll fly into). We want to spend some time exploring some of the smaller towns as well. My dtr wants to see Pompeii. Any other ideas or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. (Secretly hoping I find my Marcello, but not holding my breath…I’m 54!)

    • Karen, you’ll have so much fun! Pompeii was great but I was just as fascinated by Herculaneum. You can see where I blogged about Herculaneum in this post: https://betweennapsontheporch.net/a-visit-to-herculaneum-an-ancient-city-buried-for-1700-years/
      I’ll eventually (when I can sort through all the photos) share my photos from Pompeii. My favorite smaller towns that we saw were Radicofani and Pienza. Isle of Capri was fabulous, even in the rain. I didn’t get to see Venice, but would love too. Actually, the smaller towns are my favorite and the countryside is breathtaking. You’ll want to stop and take photos every mile. lol It’s a good thing I was on a bus with others and had no control over how often we stopped because I would never gotten anywhere from stopping constantly to take pictures! πŸ™‚

  52. I simply adore Italy! Thank you so much for sharing it with us Susan such great tour and images of this a gorgeous country.
    We will be going sometime this year to visit our daughter Alexandra who lives in no less gorgeous Spain with her husband and baby girl, (who was just born in Miami). Therefore, we might tour a little around Europe and hope we get to go to lovely Italy too.
    Thanks for hosting.

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