Positano was a prosperous port in the Amalfi the first established of the Italian Maritime Republics, heavily involved in the Crusades. Larger ships meant it was no longer useful as a port and it became dependent on its fishing fleet. By the middle of the last century the decline of the fishing industry meant that more than half the population had emigrated, mainly to Australia.
Then in 1953 John Steinbeck arrived in Positano, escaping from Rome’s summer heat. He was already a well established novelist, later to win the Pulitzer Prize, but then working as a columnist for Harper’s Bazar magazine . Below is a link to what he wrote about Positano, early setting the tone with this amazing statement.
“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.”
If you love good writing follow the link to this his description of this village in 1953 and consider my recent images.
We were told it was worth making our way down to the beach because we would find the world’s best gelato – it was good but so was the view back up the hill towards the town best described by Steinbeck.
“Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it……. The small curving bay of unbelievable blue and green water laps gently on a beach of small pebbles. There is only one narrow street and it does not come down to the water. Everything else is stairs, some of them as steep as ladders. You do not walk to visit a friend, you either climb or slide.”
On the way down we passed The Church of St Maria Assunta, famous for its mediaeval art. However a wedding was just about to start so we couldn’t get in. Next best thing for a storyteller however, was the arrival of the bride. She walked up, all smiles, gave us a pirouette, raised the flowers in salute that was a YES of triumph. I captured the her later, with new husband smiling for the video and walking the narrow, main path through the shops to the beach