Friday, May 23, 2014
For the last few days of my visit to Positano, we moved down to Fornillo Beach - a cove just north of the main beach (Spaggia Grande) separated from the main part of town by a short boat ride or a lovely 15 minute hike up and over a hill.
Positano is somewhat odd in that significant parts of the town simply have no street access - It's all sidewalks and stairs, similar to some places in Greece (or so I'm told.) When we moved, we hired porters to carry our luggage the approximately quarter mile distance from the road down to the apartment, and when we got ready to go to the beach that afternoon, we walked the 500 steps down to the beach.
We did not walk back up - but even so it was a lot of work. We took a boat around to the main beach dock, hiked up to the bus stop at Piazza dei Mulini, and took the bus all the way around the town (it runs one way in a circle) back to the road above Fornillo Beach. (Now you're starting to understand why I didn't gain any weight on this trip!)
The beach at Fornillo is divided into several different beach bars all in a row, joined by a boardwalk that runs along behind them. The first one is attached to the Hotel Pupetto. After we were there, I learned that if you eat there you can use the elevator that runs between the Pupetto and their sister hotel the Hotel Vittoria to get back up to street level. This is a big deal - see above.
We did not eat there, because we were smitten with Da Ferdinando, just next door to Pupetto. Ferdinando is related to the owners of Da Vincenzo, so we were treated like part of the family there. He saved us primo lounge chairs right by the water, and we were well taken care of in the restaurant. (You can also make reservations at the beach clubs - or just try to go early.)
The food at Da Ferdinando and the other beach bars is good, but not like Da Adolfo. They serve coffee and pastries in the morning and sandwiches and salads throughout the day. They had gelato and an espresso bar, and of course, beer and wine. Maybe even cocktails - I'm not sure - though nobody seems to drink them there anywhere but hotels. These alici marinate (marinated anchovies) we had on our first afternoon there were fabulous. Note the hand painted plate - these plates are found in every restaurant and home in the Amalfi Coast. I am sure there is a story behind this but I don't know what it is.
The creation below, known as a saltimbocca, is sort of like a cross between a quesadilla and a calzone - cheese and prosciutto grilled on a pizza dough flatbread and folded. I want one right now.
On my last day in Positano, I walked over to town from Fornillo Beach to do some shopping for souvenirs and such. I knew I wanted some of the famous custom made sandals, and a few pieces of ceramics.
I also wanted to check out the Le Sirenuse shop - directly across the street from the hotel. It's by far the chicest boutique in Positano. Out of my league, but still fun to look.
The Carlo Moretti glasses and bowls are displayed in this glass case right in the center of the store. I contemplated picking out one to take home (since that was all I could afford) but it was impossible to decide, and I really think the magic is in the way they all look so great together anyway.
I loved these swim trunks too - sporting a graphic take on the Le Sirenuse logo, but I settled on a couple of shawls/beach blankets and a small handpainted ceramic Le Sirenuse souvenir dish. When I bought it, I had no idea it was actually an ashtray - it dawned on me while looking at it a few months later. It's still pretty anyway.
The clothes were gorgeous - they had their own line of patterned tunics and dresses and a smattering of items from designer labels. I was impressed that the collection was pretty much all ages appropriate.
I wanted to get some of the famous "Capri" sandals - so I headed to the Safari shop to have some made. These type of shops are all over Capri and there are several in Positano - but I thought this one was the best quality for the price. They measure your foot and pick the size - you choose your heel height and leather and they put it together for you.
The prices run anywhere from about $60 to $150.00 depending on the style, and they take about an hour to make. Sandals are kind of the thing here - so I bought James a pair of fisherman's sandals at another shop, also for around $100.
While I was waiting for my shoes to be made, I picked up a few little painted ceramic pieces in one of the bazillion local ceramic shops to take back as gifts and souvenirs, and selected an assortment of Italian cookies from the Bar Mulino and had them wrapped up. I toted my shopping bags back up and over the hill, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at the beach.
Before I finish up with Positano and move on to Capri, I want to tell you a little bit about Nocelle, the town we stayed in for a few days before moving down to Fornillo. Before I tell you about that though, I should tell you about the buses. Having a car is really a burden in Positano - you will need to pay for a place to park it in a garage the entire time you're there, and you won't really need it, because you can walk or take the bus everywhere you want to go.
There are two buses in the area, the SITA bus, which runs along the main highway and stops in Positano (Sponda), and the short little red and white buses that run all around the town. The Interno buses run in a circular route through the town and stop about every fifteen to thirty minutes depending on the time of day. The Montepertuso/Nocelle and Praiano buses run a about every half hour or so. It's not perfect - they're horribly crowded at certain times of the day, they cost a couple of Euro (the price is the same no matter how far you go) there is no air conditioning and they don't always run exactly on time, but generally they will get you where you want to go without too much hassle.
If you are going to Positano during a hot or particularly crowded time of year, you may want to consider staying in Nocelle. It's about ten degrees cooler, and the accommodations are plentiful and tend to be more affordable than Positano proper. It's a popular jumping off (or on) point for the "Path of the Gods" (or Degli Dei in Italian) a beautiful hiking trail that runs to Praiano and beyond.
I took a little morning walk out on the trail just to get a feel for it and it was indeed breathtaking. The small town you see peeking around the bend below is the next town over of Praiano. I am told you can walk to Praiano, have lunch at Il Pirata, and take the bus back in the afternoon - that's what I'm hoping to do next time.
At the start of the trail in Nocelle (just follow the signs for the Degli Dei) there is a snack bar with a view that rivals the best in existence - Nepenthe has nothing on this place. And you can enjoy it for the price of a soda. (Note the basket of lemons on the case below. *sigh*)
I walked down here with the kids one afternoon to get them out of the house, and the owner said he had just opened up this summer for the first time - so it was brand new. It's a lovely addition to Nocelle - which essentially has one restaurant, one pizza bar and one tiny grocery shop.
There are other things to do around there that I haven't gotten around to yet, such as hopping among the other towns of the Amalfi Coast (especially Ravello) and going to Pompeii and Vesuvius, and of course there's Capri - which we did do - that's coming up next!
Posted by Alice Q. Foodie on Friday, May 23, 2014