Positano is a little fishing village teetering on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast between Sorrento and Praiano. The houses are built on terraces, precariously stacked upon one another, cascading down the steep cliffs towards the small beach below. A backdrop of verdant covered hills against a cobalt blue sky completes this picture postcard of a town.
Pretty as a Picture
To call the town, picturesque would be an understatement. The pastel-painted houses – primrose, pink, peach and terracotta peep out from overflowing foliage and lemon groves to give the town a dreamy feel not to be mistaken for anywhere but Italy’s Amalfi Coast. You’d almost expect to see a young Audrey Hepburn drive past in an ice-cream coloured sports car, chiffon headscarf billowing as ‘Moon River’ floats on the breeze behind her.
Colourful shops line the stepped and sloping alleyways selling ceramics, art, jewellery and hand-made leather sandals – made to order while you wait and handy if your heels can’t hack the inclines. The hundreds of steps can be hard work and there are no lifts but every other building is a bar or restaurant so there’s no shortage of places to catch your breath and besides you’ll know you’ve burnt off the calories from that gelato before you’ve got back to the top.
Head down to Spiaggia Grande where the fishermen launch their boats. Sunshine-coloured parasols spike the sand like cocktail umbrellas and ferries drop off sandal-clad, straw-hatted day-trippers. Restaurants and bars line the walkway and artists replicate the views on their canvases. Gelato abounds. Because there’s no room in Positano for tourist buses or major development it has retained that charming fifties feeling. Positano is a Roman Holiday in glorious Technicolor.
Wander along to the far side of the beach and look back for one the best views you’ll see of Positano. The Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, founded in the 13th century is topped with a gorgeous majolica dome encrusted with vibrant yellow, blue and green tiles; yellow for the sunshine, blue for the sea and green for the lush foliage. The softly rounded dome contrasts beautifully against the pastel coloured cubes clambering down the hills. Inside the church you’ll find the icon Tavola of the Madonna Nera or Black Madonna.
Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Positano makes for a dream of a day-trip during your stay in Sorrento or Amalfi. The views on the drive to the town are stunning and there are many lookout points dotted along the coast with wonderful views of the town, La Galli islands and the Costiera Amalfitana. So, stroll awhile, shop awhile and indulge in an amazing lunch at ‘La Tagliata’ in the hills as you gaze down on picture postcard Positano and a perfect day.
How to get to Positano
The SITA bus departs twice-hourly from the front of the Sorrento train station to Positano, continuing on to Amalfi. You can purchase individual tickets (€1.40–€2.50 per sector) or a UnicoCostiera pass for unlimited travel all along the Amalfi Coast – valid for 24 hours (€6) or 3 days (€15). The bus can get very busy in high season and a seat is not guaranteed. For the best views when travelling from Sorrento to Amalfi sit on the right-hand side of the bus (as you face the front) and swap to the left for the return journey.
For a different perspective on the return journey, a ferry is a good option giving beautiful views of the coastline from the water. www.metrodelmare.com Frequency varies seasonally and there are roughly six daily trips between Amalfi and Positano (20 min €6) and four daily between Amalfi and Sorrento (60 min €7).
If you’re feeling reckless/brave you could hire a car and drive yourself – although that’s not something I’d recommend if you really want to take in the views because your eye will be on the oncoming traffic – out of season would be less crowded but still not for the faint-hearted. Parking is extremely limited in Positano.
Tucked up in the hills above Positano is a wonderful, family run, restaurant – with one of the best views in the whole of Italy. The food’s pretty fabulous too. We stopped off at La Tagliata for lunch during our day trip to the Amalfi Coast and the experience was so good I felt compelled to share.
If you find yourself hungry in Positano just head for the hills to the most perfect Positano restaurant. (more…)
Gelato in Italy, Pad Thai in Thailand, a bowl of Biryani and a side of samosas in India. Travel and food go hand in hand so it made perfect sense that Travelsphere sponsored the Big Kitchen at this summer’s BBC Good Food Show. I went along for a day of culinary adventure and left the show dreaming of the flavours of Italy. Imagine langoustines straight from the Mediterranean Sea cooked in a creamy risotto followed by a tart made with lemons plucked from fragrant Amalfi lemon groves. Travelsphere believe that feasting on local specialities is an incredible way to explore a destination. I couldn’t agree more.
Penny Smith and the Hairy Bikers
Regular readers will know that a good food tour is one of my favourite ways to explore a city. Rome was no exception. A culinary encounter with The Roman Food Tour took my taste buds on an adventure around the city on the best Rome food tour ever. We devoured over twenty food and drink tastings during our mouth-watering tour. They’re not joking when they say ‘bring a healthy appetite and high expectations’.
A toast on the blog this week. Say hello to Aperol Spritz a cheeky little Italian apéritif. I first noticed it in Venice. As the sun started to set, everywhere I looked people were sipping fluorescent-orange cocktails – in the piazzas and canal-side cafés, in bars, terraces and trattorias. Aperol Spritz. Read on for how to make it, where to buy it and which glass you should serve it in…
Of course I had to try this quirky concoction and it tasted so different from anything I’d ever tasted before. I’d been Spritzed! Now, whenever I’m in Italy I have to treat myself to at least one glass and take a moment while I enjoy a sunset and the gentle bitterness of this unique tipple. I’ve quaffed a spritz in Portofino, Positano and Catania to name a few places and I’ll be sure to have a glass or two when I’m in Venice in September. Yup, the future’s orange!
Where does Aperol Spritz come from?
The Spritz is a legacy from Austria which is why it was originally more popular in northern Italy. It’s sold in bars and cafés all over the country today and in Spain and the UK too. In fact you can buy Aperol in one of the UK’s leading supermarkets or here online. My Aperol Spritz glass of choice is a large goldfish bowl glass.
Aperol Spritz – Sunshine in a Glass
Aperol Spritz isn’t too alcoholic (11% ABV) so it’s perfect for a pre-dinner drink. It’s made with infusions of sweet and bitter oranges, rhubarb, gentian, herbs and roots – the recipe is a closely guarded secret so I can’t divulge any further. Campari is similar but not as sweet and with a higher alcohol content.
What does Aperol Spritz taste like?
Decidedly delicious; very slightly bitter with a sweet hint of orange and a light tang of herbs. The Prosecco gives it sparkle and the soda water refreshes. It’s Italy’s answer to Pimms. Summer in a glass.
Aperol Spritz Recipe
What ingredients make a Spritz?
3 parts Prosecco (75ml)
2 parts of your chosen aperitivo (50ml)
1 part soda water (25ml)
How to Make Aperol Spritz
Start by adding the ice to a large white wine glass or tumbler then pour in the Prosecco and Aperol (or whatever bitter you’re using e.g. Campari). Squirt in the soda water, give it a quick stir, adorn with a slice of fresh orange and you’re ready to spritz.
For greatest effect add a glowing sunset, roof terrace or patio garden. Ideally drink in a Venice bar with a great view of the Grand Canal.
Have you Spritzed in Italy? What did you think?
What started out looking to be a lean year travel-wise has somehow turned out to be totally epic! As well as travel highs there were personal highs too – Mister and I had a wonderful day with family and friends when we married in October – and we’re still on cloud nine 🙂
So where did 2013 take me? There were moments of discovery with visits to three new countries; Amsterdam in The Netherlands, San Marino as part of the Blogville project and finally Bruges, Belgium. Ten countries, seven capital cities and eleven cities I’d never encountered before. I’ve pretty much eaten Italy, taken thousands of photos and made some wonderful memories to treasure.
The first trip of the year in February was to Paris for a work trade show but I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours to check out St Gemain’s chocolatiers. Yum! February brought a trip to The Shard in London on opening day and a stay at the historical Renaissance St Pancras hotel for Mister’s birthday – Marriott points well spent!
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
March saw a cheeky week in Agadir for some sunshine, flying goats and a visit to the Tighanimine Womens Fairtrade Argan Oil Co-operative. This post was one of my most popular of the year and I’ve put the co-operative in touch with a few people wishing to buy the oil commercially – I hope something positive has come out of this.
In April I went to Belfast on a work trip and got sent to jail! The Crumlin Road Gaol can be hired for conferences and adds a whole new meaning to ‘breakout’ rooms! We visited the Titanic Exhibition and stayed at the Lough Erne Hotel in Fermanagh where the G8 conference was held the following month. Colin Farrell was sat at the next table to me at breakfast (!!!) and I even got to experience my first trip in a float plane.
May arrived and with it another work trip where I was tour leader to a group of 30 incentive winners on a trip to Sorrento. We spent a day in picture perfect Positano and soaked up all Sorrento had to offer including the beautiful sunshine.
June – my first new country of the year and a trip with a girlfriend to Amsterdam where we laughed for three days solid, explored Amsterdam’s Canal Life, learned about the gabled buildings and Alison was reprimanded by a prostitute…
July and August were spent at home enjoying a fantastic British summer and a week’s dog-sitting saw us exploring our local countryside and the gorgeous Seven Sisters Country Park. There was also a wedding to plan…
September saw me back in Italy for Blogville based in beautiful Bologna. I learned how gelato is made at The Gelato University, took a pit-stop at Casa Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena, gasped at the stunning views of San Marino and was amazed by the mosaics in Ravenna. Lots more yet to share with you from this year’s Blogville…
October and a very special wedding day was followed by a month jam-packed with travel. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Venice even though it was wetter than we expected and we waded through water.
Cambodia and Angkor Wat entranced and the Khmer food was as impressive as ever. The bustle of Bangkok left us ready for the clear waters of Krabi and some much-needed relaxation.
Monks at Tonle Sap Lake
November came and so did my first cruise with Celebrity Cruises as a #destinationblogger visiting Kotor and Budva in Montenegro, Matera in Italy, Corfu and Valletta in Malta. The ship, Silhouette, was a destination in herself and warranted a thorough exploration especially where the cuisine was concerned. A diet ensued.
December and a work conference for 300 saw us back in Morocco but this time Marrakech and barely time to step outside the hotel. Such a tease! Another work trip, this time to Bruges and a chance to explore a little; chocolate shops and Christmas markets fuelled a festive feeling.
So what’s in store for 2014? The annual ski trip is brought forward to January this year and we’ll pack the car at the weekend and head for our friends’ place in The Alps.
Ski Lift Portes du Soleil
At the end of January I’m heading for Iceland which has long been top of my travel hotlist and I’m excited beyond words…! I don’t even dare hope for a glimpse of those lights. Iceland is followed by a work trip escorting 18 incentive prize-winners to Lanzarote and hopefully a chance to thaw out. In March I have a ‘big’ birthday. Nuff said. July we’re off to France again to stay with our friends near Poitier so lots of exciting times to look forward to.
I’m incredibly grateful for your support and friendship and would like to end this post by saying a huge thank you to all you readers and fellow travel enthusiasts. Every view, comment and like is much appreciated. I hope you’ve had an amazing year and that 2014 brings health, happiness and fun times. So what travel plans do you have in the coming year? Come on spill the beans…