Positano – rediscovered and re-visited. We mustn’t forget the contribution John Steinbeck made in spreading “the fame” of the Amalfi Coast in the world.
An article John Steinbeck published in Harper’s Bazar made sure the number of visitors, in particular American, surged significantly.
A few sentences he wrote have become part of the heritage of modern Positano. They have been used over and over again to describe the essence of this “Vertical Citty” – la città verticale.
Here is what are probably Steinbeck’s most renowned words:
Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone. Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it. I believe that whereas most house foundations are vertical, in Positano they are horizontal. The small curving bay of unbelievably blue and green water laps gently on a beach of small pebbles. There is only one narrow street and it does not come down to the water. Everything else is stairs, some of them as steep as ladders.
For this weekend read, rather than escape, for it’s still very early in the year, I’m attaching an article published by L’Isola Web (a Capri diary), pn the Positano which John Steinbeck impressed so much when he arrived there in 1959. Click here to read more at L’Isola Web’s “Positano al Tempo di John Steinbeck” (Italian). A few articles on the journal are also available in English – click here to view.
When you walk along this narrow street just behind the beach, that John Steinbeck described “when Positano starts climbing”, you can also buy his book in a tiny book store – newspaper stand.
The book “Positano”, published in 1964 is also available online here – but it’s very expensive, much more than when you get a copy here in Positano.