Positano is perhaps the most picturesque city in all of Italy, and it is about 30 km north of where we are staying. This whole coastline consists of solid rock sticking straight out of the Mediterranean, with houses and farms cut directly into the stone. Positano is an incredibly densely populated little place on an extremely steep part of the shore. There appears to be only 1 road, and it is 1 way–you start at the top and loop around the city and back up. If you miss your stop you have to go all the way back around again.
This is absolutely a tourist mecca, designed to handle a daily influx of thousands by land and by sea. There are seemingly thousands of shops, selling souvenirs, clothing, wine, art, candles and ceramics.
The agriculture in this area, which is marvelously terraced into the rock, is mostly lemons. Rich, large, fragrant lemons, from which is made limoncello, a bitter/sweet liqueur. Ceramics are big here (is there good clay, I wonder?), which leads to much tableware decorated with lemons–it all fits together. Flax must grow nearby, because linen is an important industry, and many of the dress shops feature lovely linen dresses produced entirely locally.
The shops use the local trees as sales racks:
One of the granddaughters, because I like the photo:
In a place with tiny streets and high fuel prices (I paid $8.50/gallon for diesel, which is cheaper than gasoline here), lots of people ride scooters, but that doesn’t keep them from taking their pets along:
We saw an interesting way to sell shirts–the hangars show you what you will look like with the shirt on:
We had some time before dinner, so Brad, Gail and I stopped into a very nice restaurant for a glass of wine. They weren’t really open because at 5:30 in the afternoon no self respecting restaurant is open. The owner, though, was more than willing to accommodate us, and glasses of wine and Coca lite appeared. Then a plate with bread, cheese and salami. Then a plate of the incredible local olives, which seem to have almost no brine taste. All the little noshes were courtesy of the house, that’s just the way they do things here. It was lovely.
Dinner was an adventure. Kate found a well-recommended restaurant in TripAdvisor, but it was way, way up the hill, and we were parked in a lot in the middle of the town. Not to worry, they pick up and deliver–we just had to be in front of the Farmacia (pharmacy) at 6:30, and a van picked us up and drove us 3 or 4 miles over the usual tiny, twisting streets to a community high up in the hills where our restaurant, Il Ritrovo (the hangout), sat overlooking the ocean, but not the great view of the city that was promised.
The food was spectacular, but the lighting precluded photos. They started by bringing us complimentary champagne and bruschetta. The girls had more fish in crazy water; they have decided to go on a search for the best crazy water in Italy. I had pasta with walnut cream sauce, Gail had lamb and Kate had a rump steak. The fish was crazy good, the meats were cooked perfectly medium rare, my pasta was excellent and Brad’s pasta was so good he liked it more with each bite. We finished with cannoli, (“Leave the gun, take the cannoli”, I immediately thought) and tiramisu. Everything was excellent: this place deserves it’s TripAdvisor rating.
During dinner, it started to rain heavily, and we were in a building with clear plastic, roll-up sides (which were down, thankfully) so we could really enjoy the pounding sound of the water. Then it cleared in time for us to walk to the car that returned us to town.
Getting our cars back was a small challenge–Kate couldn’t find her ticket from the parking lot and they didn’t want to release the car without it. Fortunately the rental papers were in the glove box so she could prove that we were entitled to that little Fiat, and home we drove.