There are few places on the earth that are naturally synonymous with paradise. Even the most beautifully secluded spots have not escaped some degree of commercialisation or urbanisation which detracts from the feeling of finding a paradise on earth. And yet Italy’s Amalfi coast, nestled in between the cities of Naples and Salerno and on the Southern most stretch of the Sorrento peninsula, is one place which is intrinsically described as, and discovered to be, a paradise on earth.
True, the coast has not escaped the touch of humankind, not least because much of the coast is now specifically given over to tourism. But what human development exists is inevitably curbed by the rugged and hostile landscape of steep mountain passages and severe plunging cliffs. It is also precisely that very development – the clustering of white washed and pastel houses against steep mountain passages – that makes the Amalfi Coast so visually stunning. And that beautiful relationship between man and nature is never seen with such perfection as in the little town of Positano, clustered along a fold of one of the coast’s most impressive mountainous passages. And it was to Positano that I have just ventured in my most recent European travels, making this stunner of a town our base for a week’s discovery of the Amalfi Coast and the islands beyond.
There are so many ways in which I can express the beauty of Positano, and as my tales of this Amalfi Adventure roll out on The Daily Norm, you are probably likely to see and read most of them. But as a starting point, I don’t think anything says Positano, and our experience of it better than by sharing the incredible view we enjoyed of the town from our balcony at the Palazzo Talamo Hotel. When we opened the balcony doors and saw what view was to be exclusively ours for a week, I almost fell off the balcony with the joy of the moment. An unrivalled 180 degree view took in not just the pastel and white cluster of Positano, but its beaches, its vast mountain ranges, and the toing and froing of fishing and tourist boats from its harbour.
As the days unravelled, we sat on that balcony morning and night, drank chilled prosecco as the sun set in the evening, took photos as the sun rose again over the Eastern most reach of the mountains gradually lighting up the town, watched the city become a twinkling sea of stars as darkness descended and the uninhabited stretches of the mountains disappeared from view, and painted and sketched the many glorious sights which could be seen before our very eyes. We never even shut the curtains at night – who could close off that view from sight?
And while perhaps a camera can never truly capture the awesome feeling one has when faced with the scale of an incredibly far reaching view, it surely helps to create the mood and the magic which was manifested by every moment’s interaction with this most fantastic of panoramas. And this was before we even got down into the heart of Positano! But more of that another time. For now I would like to share with you: Our room with a view.
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