Positano - 'Dream Place that isn't Quite Real'

Positano Travel Blog

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Overlooking village of Positano

 

Positano - 'Dream Place that isn't Quite Real'

 

John Steinbeck (excerpts from Harper’s Bazaar, May 1953)

 

Positano bites deep.

Scene from coastal road platform
It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone. Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it. I believe that whereas most house foundation are vertical, in Positano they are horizontal. The small curving hay of unbelievably blue and green water lips 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.

 

Nearly always when you find a place as beautiful as Positano, your impulse is to conceal it. You think, "If I tell, it will be crowded with tourists and they will ruin it, turn it into a honky-tonk and then the local people will get touristy and there's your lovely place gone to hell". There isn't the slightest chance of this in Positano. In the first place there is no room. There about two thousand inhabitants in Positano and there is room for about five hundred visitors, no more. The cliffs are all taken.

 

Well, we had accomplished one thing.

Amalfi Coast east of Positano
We had imported a little piece of Italian traffic right into our own front seat. Signor Bassani was a remarkable man. He was capable of driving at a hundred kilometers an hour, blowing the horn, screeching the brakes, driving mules up trees, and at the same time turning around in the seat and using both hands to gesture… Flaming like a meteor we hit the coast, a road, high, high above the blue sea, that hooked and corkscrewed on the edge of nothing, a road carefully designed to be a little narrower than two cars side by side. And on this road, the buses, the trucks, the motor scooters and the assorted livestock. We didn't see much of the road. In the back seat my wife and I lay clutched in each other's arms, weeping hysterically, while in the front seat Signor Bassano gestured with both hands and happily instructed us: "Ina dda terd sieglo da Hamperor Hamgousternos coming tru wit Leegeceons". (Our car hit and killed a chicken.)… And below us, and it seemed sometimes under us, a thousand feet below lay the blue Tyrrhenian licking its lips for us.

traceymort says:
This sounds great. Planning a trip to europe and want to find a few nice villages to stay for a week in each. Its hard wading through info on cities. Thx for posting this
Posted on: Mar 28, 2015
Ella01 says:
oops its one of my dream locations I mean :-)
Posted on: Jul 16, 2011
Ella01 says:
I love this - I have booked a hotel just outside but no real idea how to get there from Rome - I understand the options just that when I try to buy train tickets online it keeps sending me to Rometta? and journey taking hours instead of 2/3 ? Still figuring out how to get there if you have tips - its one of my trip location - I want to sleep on a boat looking at the town at night ...lol but hey don't think I can afford that bit this time around....
Posted on: Jul 16, 2011
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Overlooking village of Positano
Overlooking village of Positano
Scene from coastal road platform
Scene from coastal road platform
Amalfi Coast east of Positano
Amalfi Coast east of Positano
Normal traffic tie-up on coast road
Normal traffic tie-up on coast road
J. Steinbeck-Positano bites deep
J. Steinbeck-"Positano bites deep"
Dream place that isnt quite real
"Dream place that isn't quite real"
Amalfi Coasts flowers in bloom
Amalfi Coast's flowers in bloom
Positano
photo by: Eric