“After Praiano, the road widens, the walls become higher and the hamlets end. You seem to be lost; you ask yourself if you’ve made a mistake. So you stop, you cross the road and you look out beyond the wall, toward the sea. If you find the right point, you will have a dazzling, mysterious and fantastic view of Positano: it will be your polar star. You return to your path and after a few kilometers you have arrived. You travel along a ribbon wrapping the houses, at the end of which the road begins to descend in a spiral to the Piazza dei Mulini. Just a few meters walk and you are on the Spiaggia Grande. You turn and you understand that you are on a stage, surrounded by clusters of houses set as a backdrop to the great entertainment of life. You must only choose whether you are a spectator, star or extra. It all depends on you: the fairytale imposes nothing.”
Positano Common Source
With its narrow streets clinging to the mountain in a steep route down to the sea, Positano, in terms of urban design, is a daring and unforgettable project that sees houses set in the rock like gems, with terraces and steep, rocky stairways. Everything feeds the myth that Positano was founded by Poseidon, the god of the sea, for love of his darling nymph Pasitea.
This is a bit of history rooted deep in time. Positano has been a crucible of culture, with traces dating back to the Paleolithic, the Phoenicians and the Greeks who, in their voyages toward the east, stopped in these settlements inhabited by the Picenes. They would be followed by the Romans who built a wealthy patrician villa near the Spiaggia Grande, now buried under the gardens and the Church of the Assunta; then it belonged to the Republic of Amalfi, which made it wealthy thanks to commerce with the Middle East and to the ships that furrowed the Mediterranean. They would be followed by the Angioini and the Aragona, the incursions of the Saracens that even today are represented in the famous landing, then the Turks and the fortifications with towers that even today bear witness to the defense from pirates. In the 1700′s came the Baroque explosion of the splendid villas along the eastern side of the mountain, fruit of the flourishing commerce of spices, silk and precious woods, then the first migrations, followed by World War II when it was a refuge for artists enchanted by the beauty of nature, who following their impulses, released their inspiration, enriching villas, convents and private homes it with the beauty of art.
This beauty is still vivid today with the characteristic lime plaster, and, as counterpoint to the absolute white of the walls, the bright colors of the tiles, with the cupolas that collected the rainwater in the cisterns, and overlooking majestic nature is the cupola of the church of Santa Maria Assunta.
Positano today, as in its history, is a crucible of the culture of the many visitors who, traveling the narrow streets that run steeply toward the sea, are enchanted by the visual demonstration of nature that humans have managed to tame over the centuries, making it hospitable with its unmatched seaside architecture.