The origins of Positano is lost in time, where story and legend have been confused. The myth says that Positano was founded by Poseidon, the god of the sea, for the love from the nymph Pasitea. The Phoenicians and the Greeks had to have known this land, when they traveled to the West, and so maybe it was inhabited by Oschi or Piceni. In the Roman times, Positano was the place where the Emperor Tiberius stocked up his "safe flour", not trusting in the products he found on the island of Capri because he was afraid of conspiracies. In the 9th century the town developed around Abbazia Benedettina di S. Vito. It became more populated when the attacks of the Saracens in 915 AD forced the inhabitants of other areas to seek refuge in Positano. The town reflects these various influxes of people in many elements of its architecture. During the period of the Marine Republics came the ransacking of the Pisani, and the architecture changed as they built structures for the protection of the citizens from the invaders that came from the sea. For this reason they built defense walls, narrow and windings streets, houses climbing along the coast at a height difficult to reach and in a strategic position. Positano also became the center of intense marine traffic, even rivaling Amalfi between the 15th and 17th centuries. After there were feuds between a few rich Neapolitan families, and only at the end of the 1700s did it turn into a royal city. Then the demographic decline began and continued until the beginning of the 1900s when it was "discovered" by the Germans, English and Americans. After the first world war, Positano became preferred by the artists and German and Russian writes that chose it as their home being able to enjoy the peace and tranquility and, after the end of the second world war, painters, directors, writers all bewitched by the magic atmosphere, attracted by the beauty of Positano, seducted by the fisherman style of life, reconstructed huts, convents, and built villas and created refugees where today it is possible to stay in (Villa Carmela, Villa Partenope, Villa Leucosia, Villa Ligia, Apt. Angela, Apt. Anastasia, Apt. Amanda, Apt. Mare A and B, Apt. Vito, Apt. Corvo, B&B Porpora). From that moment on, Positano underwent a new economic ascent that is still happening today. Flower shops and small clothing stores became very important to create the style and fashion of Positano. The clothes of the Positano seamstresses have created a distinctive style with sarongs and laced bodices that are vibrant and fresh. Initially they used silk and hessian fabrics, followed by the bobbin lace in the postwar period, and thanks to the attitudes and marketing of the inhabitants, the Positano fashion was born from the idea to utilize the "pieces", poor materials, to create dresses, purses and bathing suits.
THINGS TO VISIT:
. The church of S.Maria Assunta: many important works of art are conserved on the inside, among them is a Circumcision from the end of the 16th century and a lovely table in Bizentine style, from the 13th century, depicting of the Virgin with the Baby. In the bell tower you can admire the the marble slab depicting the worrying and marvelous "pistrice", the mythological symbol of Positano.
. The Galli islands: they are a archipelago of the three islets called Gallo Lungo, Rotonda and Castelletto. According to the legend told by Omero, in these exact waters the sirens attempted to attract Ulysses into their snare. The identification of the Sirens with the islands comes from figurative Greek art. The three islands, when seen from afar, have always been a point of reference for sailors. But as you move closer the game of currents and whirlpools push their boats into the rocks. These deadly shipwrecks had to be the victims of the Siren's fatal songs, from which Ulysses managed to defend himself and because of the warning from the witch Circe. Another legend tells that the three Sirens came overwhelmed by waves and died in the attempt to capture Ulysses. At the end of 1131 the islands were called Guallo, or Gallo. In 1225 Federico II gave them as giftsto the Monastery of Positano, calling them three sirens quae dictur gallus, today "Li Galli". The longest one the is the largest of the three and the only one to be inhabited since the Roman times. In the next few centuries, the ruins were used by the Saracens who exploited the advantageous position of the islands to make their invasions on the land. In 1924 the American choreographer, of Russian origin, Leonide Massine constructed a magnificent villa over the ruins, that the architect Le Corbusier embellished even more. One of the last owners of the island was the Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev that bought it for 3 billion 43 million lire. Among the various celebrity names that have stayed in this paradise there are Greta Garbo, the princess Margharet d'Inghilterra, Roberto Rossellini, Ingrid Bergman, Anna Magnani, Sofia Loren, Jacqueline kennedy, Onassis, Franco Zeffirelli and many more.
. The Leonide Massine Prize: the prize is named after the great ballet dancer Leonide Massine, who had stayed in Positano; this event is completely dedicated to dance and takes place on Positano's beach of the Sirens, an enchanting setting designed to accommodate a large crowd of fans. The prize, that is given in September, contributes also to the value for the upcoming young talent, giving them a chance to be in the eye of the critics and the public.
. The Landing of the Saraceni: on the night of August 15th, the reenactment of the real landing of the Sracens in Postiano is celebrated among songs, music and fireworks on the beach.
. Summer Music