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Giada de Laurentiis Travel Guide to Positano Italy

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.

Getting Around

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! 

Eat

   Bianca Bar

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.

Via Arienzo 30
+390898122401

   Buca di Bacco

Buca di Bacco Restaurant in Positano Italy

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.

Via Rampa Teglia 4
+39089875699

   Casa E Bottega

Casa E Bottega Restaurant in Positano Italy

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.

Viale Pasitea 100
+393387097500

   Casa Mele

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.

Via G. Marconi 76
+39089811364

   Da Vincenzo

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.

Viale Pasitea 172
+39089875128

   La Scogliera

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. 

Via Marina Grande 4
+390899243096

   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.

Via del Brigantino 27/29
+39089875452

   Next2

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.

Viale Pasitea 242
+390898123516

   Ristorante Bruno

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!

Via Cristoforo Colombo 157
+39089875179

   Ristorante Max

Ristorante Max in Positano Italy

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.

Piazza dei Mulini 22
+39089875056

Do

   Fornillo beach

Fornillo beach in Positano Italy

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. 

Fornillo Spiaggia

   Kayak rental

Kayak rental in Positano Italy

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.

Via Liparlati 1
+393336145247

   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.

Piazza Flavio Gioia 7
+393312085821

   Music on the Rocks

Music on the Rocks in Positano Italy

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. 

Località Grotte dell’Incanto 51
+39089875874

Stay

   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.

Via Regina Giovanna 5
+39089875400

   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.

Via Laurito 2
+39089875455

   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. 

Via Cristoforo Colombo 30
+39089875066

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