Guide to Positano
A picturesque seaside town built into the cliffside of the Amalfi coast, Positano is one of Giada’s favorite places in the world. You’ve probably seen photos of its colorful buildings perched above crystal blue waters and thought it was all an editing trick—it couldn’t possibly be so pretty in real life. Quite the contrary! It’s somehow even more special in person, with a magic that can't quite be captured in photographs. If you have an Italy bucket list, Positano needs to be on it.
South of Naples, the Amalfi coast is a stunning stretch of land that’s famous for its mild, sunny weather, citrus groves, and dramatically rocky coastline. It’s been a popular vacation destination for millennia—even members of the Roman Empire had summer homes here to escape the heat of the city. Breezes from the Tyrrhenian Sea ensure the summer sun never gets too oppressive, and the waters also provide an abundance of fresh seafood. Basically, it’s paradise! Today, Positano is an amazing town for souvenirs, so try to leave space in your suitcase or carry-on for bottles of local limoncello, handmade ceramics, and so much more.
Because the Amalfi coast is on a peninsula that juts out from Italy’s western coastline, it’s not serviced by the train lines that run up and down the country. The only ways to access its towns are by car or boat. From Naples, you can take a ferry to either Capri or Sorrento, then change to another boat that will take you to Positano. It’s not a quick trip, but it’s relatively affordable, and you’ll get to see a lot of the gorgeous coastline as you go. By far the easiest way to get there is to arrange for a private driver to take you from Naples (Giada likes mydaytrip.com)—you can even plan in a day of sightseeing in some of the smaller towns along your route.
Once you’ve arrived in Positano, you’ll be getting around by foot. One main road zigzags through the cliffside town, and most of the historic sights can only be reached by walking. The good news is it’s not a large town, so it’s easily covered on foot as long as you can manage hills and stairs. Be sure to pack comfortable shoes!
Whether you’re staying at the ultra-luxurious Villa TreVille or not, you’ll want to make time for a drink at the hotel’s bar. They craft their own spirits using the herbs that grow on the stunning terraces, making for a truly local cocktail experience.
Buca di Bacco
This hotel restaurant serves casual trattoria-style food right on the Spiaggia Grande, the main beach in Positano. Try the arancini and octopus salad, or stop in for a gelato to cool off during the day.
Casa E Bottega
For a quick smoothie or a light lunch, Giada loves this little shop-slash-café. In addition to the great food, it’s got lots of fun gift ideas, from local ceramics to breezy sundresses.
This striking black-and-white-decorated restaurant offers modern, inventive Italian food that never feels fussy. The pasta Genovese is especially outstanding! If you’re inspired by your meal, the chef also offers private cooking classes where he’ll guide you through your choice of recipes.
This family-run restaurant has been serving up homestyle dishes that are always ultra-fresh and tasty for more than 60 years. It’s a great slice of classic Positano.
Plan yourself a luxurious beach day that includes a terrific lunch and cocktails at this private beach club and restaurant on the edge of the Spiaggia Grande.
Le Tre Sorelle
There are a lot of contenders for the best seafood in Positano, but this beachfront osteria has Giada’s heart. She loves the seafood salad, zucchini alla scapece, and calamarata pasta.
With a cozy terrace lined with blooming herbs and climbing jasmine, this Michelin-recommended restaurant is a magically romantic spot for dinner. Put yourself in the chef’s capable hands with the six-course tasting menu, or choose your homemade pastas and fresh fish a la carte.
Opened as a small local bar in 1959, this institution is now a full restaurant with a gorgeous flower-covered terrace overlooking the water. The pastas are all delicious, especially the spaghetti with meatballs and linguine with anchovies & fennel, and the tiramisu can’t be missed!
You’ll want to stay all day at this eclectically decorated wine bar, restaurant, and art gallery that feels like you’re being hosted in someone’s home—someone with serious skills in the kitchen. With more than 600 bottles in their extensive wine cellar, you’ll never run out of options.
The smaller, more out-of-the-way beach in Positano is much quieter than the busy Spiaggia Grande, and it still has a great view, chairs and kayaks to rent, and a little restaurant and accessible bathroom. To get there, take the path that runs along the cliff from the main beach, or head down the stairs of Via Fornillo in town.
The best way to get out in the water and look up at the picturesque town at your own leisure is to rent a kayak. No booking is required, just head down to either beach and you'll see stands charging 10 Euros per hour. Tip: Head out in the morning when the water is calmer and there are fewer people out and about. Bring a hat, sunscreen up, and have something waterproof to store your phone in, because you'll want to take a lot of photos.
Museo Archeologico Romano
Under the main church in town, the Chiesa Santa Maria dell’Assunta, lies the remains of a Roman summer house that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. Today, you can tour the excavated rooms and get a sense of life some 2000 years ago from the gorgeous frescoed walls and decorations that have been preserved for so long underground.
Music on the Rocks
If you’re looking for a little nightlife, this two-story club in a cavern off the Spiaggia Grande is the place for dancing and DJs. At night, the craggy cavern is lit up dramatically to show off the natural rock formations, a constant reminder that you’re still on the Amalfi coast.
Covo dei Saraceni
Right above the Spiaggia Grande, this hotel’s location can’t be beat, especially when you’re swimming in the private pool and looking out on the beach scene below. All of the rooms have ocean views, many with balconies for enjoying your morning coffee al fresco.
Il San Pietro
Just outside the center of town, this luxury retreat offers a free private shuttle to take you back and forth in style. All of the rooms have private terraces with stunning ocean views and are decorated in the typical white-and-blue Amalfi coast style. It’s the only hotel in Positano with a private beach, which can be reached via an elevator built directly into the cliff.
Le Sirenuse Hotel
A family vacation home-turned-boutique hotel, this timeless retreat run by the Sersale family still feels like you’re a valued guest in their home. The rooms, suites, and public spaces are all comfortably decorated with artworks and tiny treasures that feel charmingly chic, and the service is top-notch.