One night in Positano we wandered down to the beach for a late dinner, no reservation, just figuring we would be able to find a table somewhere.
It was peak season and our options turned out to be limited.
We ended up at one of our less favourite places – Buca di Bacco. We have eaten there before and the food is excellent but the service can be less than friendly and has always felt rushed.
This time, however, we discovered their terrazzo – the roof of the restaurant where we had our own private balcony – and enjoyed a leisurely meal, excellent food and wine (we must talk about Sicilian Chardonnay at some point) and service that couldn’t have been better.
We drove from the Amalfi Coast to Matera and back in a rental car. We picked the smallest and cheapest class of car Avis offered so it came as no surprise when we were presented with a bright red Fiat Panda at the rental car office in Sorrento.
The gentleman from Avis joked with us that it was a “red Ferrari” as he helped us shoe-horn our two large suitcases and various other bags into the car.
But our little Ferrari did us proud on the roads to and from Matera – far surpassing the Ford Focus we had earlier in the trip in Chianti – for both power and comfort. It was only when you saw other Panda’s on the road that you realised you were effectively driving an oversized roller skate.
The Fiat was full of useful and thoughtful features to make the trip easier. For example, it came with a holder for a phone on the dashboard which made it easy to follow the GPS directions to Matera and back to Sorrento.
Three days later we returned the car intact to Avis in Sorrento – to what must be the most attractive rental car depot in the world.
A recent visitor to Positano was the super yacht commissioned by Steve Jobs prior to his death and designed by Philippe Starck. The yacht Venus is rumoured to have cost around $120 million to design and build and is now owned by his widow Laurene Powell Jobs.
It is quite a statement when you see it moored alongside other super yachts. There are very few, if any, pictures of the interior but word is it continues Apple’s minimalist approach throughout.
Last Saturday morning life at the villa ground to a halt as we watched the All Blacks play Australia in the first Bledisloe Cup rugby match.
We found the broadcast on Sky Italia with the only downside being a choice of Italian or Australian commentary. Sadly no Justin Marshall for us, just Aussie commentators who became more depressed as the first half developed. Even they were struggling to find anything good to say about their local team until after the 50 minute mark. In the end of the game the best they could do was talk up the second half which, apparently, the Australian team won.
Our friend Fernando who looks after us when we spend time at the Eden Roc pool is just too good. As we arrive towels are laid out and drinks are delivered almost by magic. It makes spending time in the sun too easy.
One of the reasons we came to Positano in mid August is because of the festival of Ferragosto on August 15. It is a public holiday and is celebrated in Positano by, among other things, fireworks at midnight.
We attended the festival dinner on the terrace at Eden Roc and had a perfect position to view the fireworks. The bay was full of boats of all sizes, all there to view the spectacular display.
After the display there were the usual traffic problems as people tried to leave and go home – but unlike the traffic jams we experience at home after events, this was more of a “Vespa jam”.
One thing we have noticed this visit is that Positano is busy. Much busier than we remember – even in the middle of August during festival week – which is peak season.
Everywhere there are people, people and more people.
Last week when we went to restock our groceries we ran into this midday crush of people trying to negotiate the narrow pathway to the beach.
Our advice – visit in late August and September. The weather is still warm and settled but the number of visitors drops quite dramatically as August comes to an end. Even now – 23 August – the village feels calmer, emptier and more inviting.