Più o Meno: The Amalfi Coast

It’s the Amalfi Coast. Although, I think it would do better to be named the Positano Coast. Positano is the city that is so large and recognizable (if you don’t recall it from your friends’ Facebook photos, you may remember the vertical city from a James Bond film or from the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”).

In my last post, I definitely didn’t place enough emphasis on the structure of this astounding city, or maybe it just hadn’t hit me yet. The roads of Positano are so narrow that the large vans and buses that recklessly make their way up and down the hill have to back up multiple times to get around the curves of the streets. There really isn’t even enough room for both people and cars to share the street, so the pedestrians have to jump up on the roadside when they hear a car coming if they want to avoid collision. However, for whatever reason, this was more entertaining than concerning during the trip.

After my family arrived in Positano, we decided to check out the famous Spiaggia Grande Beach. A note for any future Amalfi Coast travelers, Positano gets very hot in August. And however hot it may be, it feels about 10 degrees hotter due to the black sand and rocks that fill the beach. 800 stairs is no joke, even in the cool weather, so you have to prepare yourself if you’re planning to make the trek. I wish someone had informed me to wear the right shoes and a lightweight outfit, because from what I’d heard and seen, everyone has always looked so effortless on the Positano beach. However, if you’re traveling in August, it’s probably not possible to arrive to the beach without being winded and breaking a sweat.

Another option to get up and down the mountain would be to take the public bus, which is about 2 euros and comes about every half hour, più o meno. Side note: this is a phrase that the Italians use often, meaning, more or less. I find this very entertaining because since nothing is on time in Italy and everything is very leisurely, it is very easy for the Italians to say, the bus will be every half hour, più o meno, meaning really, it could come at any time at all. Anyway, the bus is very hot but will take you part of the way down the hill, leaving you with only 100 more steps to walk. The final alternative would be to take a taxi. From the beach up to a hotel about 500 steps up would be about 30 euros, so a cab is probably not your best bet.

From what I’ve learned, there are multiple staircases to get up and down the hill, but in general if you take the main one that is more windy with less steps, you will find many shops to break up the journey. From lemon (anything you can think of) to the famous Positano leather sandals, the shops will keep you busy, but probably not cool, as most aren’t air-conditioned. My dad and I rewarded ourselves with the famous lemon granita at the bottom of the hill and then got an umbrella and chairs for about 18 euros per person. We sat on the beach and enjoyed the cleanliness of Positano, but definitely needed to stay in the water so that we wouldn’t overheat. I couldn’t stay on the beach for long, but luckily, Positano is known for its restaurants that line the coast with their fresh seafood and pasta dishes. During our stay, we enjoyed restaurants:

Covo dei Saraceni – A waterfront ristorante near the main beach with a view of the boats, where we highly recommend their gnocchi and eggplant pasta

Il Capitano – A place for dinner about 500 steps up the hill from the beach with a down to earth atmosphere

Caffe Positano – Our favorite place to get an American breakfast. They had tasty gelato if you’re looking for small portions

Buca di Bacco – The best gelateria in all of Positano!

I personally loved going on the beach after dinnertime, when the weather cooled down and it was a lot less crowded. I found that this allowed me to really admire the red and yellow tie-dye umbrellas that were lined up in front of the stacked picturesque homes. If you have time before it gets dark, I think it’s definitely worth one last beach walk before calling it a night.

Aside from hiking the city, checking out the restaurants, and swimming at the beach, my family decided to check out the coast by boat on our last day. Positano is even more breathtaking from the water, and I loved getting to swim through nearby caves along the coast. The caves would look like small openings, and you could swim from one side to the other when you jumped off the boat. We also checked out small beaches as well as a grotto. The grotto appeared to have a small opening, but was large and hollow inside, with amazing space and acoustics. Watching the blue green water reflect in the sunlight was probably my favorite part of being at The Amalfi Coast and reminded me of some of the swimming I did in Santorini, Greece.

We finished off our boating day by doing some snorkeling where we could see the town of Amalfi, and did some boating toward Ravello. Our capitano was extremely nice and accommodating and loved to show us cool archways and private beaches along the way.

Everyone I met in Positano was extremely friendly. They all wanted to make sure that I was enjoying myself and were such pleasant people. I also continued to enjoy the presence of the cats that roamed, just like they did in Greece. The cats were particularly around the famous Fornillo Grotto, which is a must see in Positano. The Fornillo Grotto was right outside my hotel and looks like mini homes built into rock.

This ends my 5 day Amalfi Coast excursion, but I had a wonderful time and would definitely return – just not in August. I never thought I’d be this excited to head back to what feels like my home in Firenze. This time when I go back, things won’t be so new, but I’m excited to show my family around and check off some last minute things that I wanted to do while I was abroad. So, my next post will probably be in a day or two, più o meno.

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