Things To See While Visiting Positano
Wondering what to see in Positano?
While many people come to Positano just to relax on the beach, soak in the amazing views and experience the incredible food, there are also some really unique things to see.
Here’s a list of 5 few things you may want to see in Positano:
#1 Church of Santa Maria Assunta
The dome of the church of Santa Maria Assunta can be seen from everywhere in Positano. The church is one of the village’s most well-known and notable attractions. There’s an ancient crypt, a bell tower, and many lovely pieces of art within its interior. The church is also home to the black Madonna statue.
The church has a fascinating history. Legend says that the monastery was built in honor of a Byzantine icon that represented the Virgin Mary, the black Madonna.
According to the stories, the black Madonna arrived in Positano under unusual circumstances. The icon was being stored on a sailing ship that made a temporary stop in Positano.
Although the crew made several attempts to continue their journey, the sailors kept hearing a voice that said, “Rest, rest!” The captain decided this meant that the Virgin icon desired to remain in this village. They gave the statue to the locals as a gift. They built the church in her honor, and made her the official Patron of the village.
Monks lived in the church until the 15th century, when the abbot and his monks fled the church after continuous attacks from plunderers.
The church was later assigned to Abbot Nicola Miroballi, but it managed to fall into disrepair. Some restoration works took place in the early 1600’s, but none of them made a significant impact on the state of the church.
A proper restoration didn’t begin until the late 1700’s. The local clergy spearheaded this project. During this time, the icon of the Virgin Mary was given a golden crown.
The modern appearance of the church can be traced back to that restoration project. Today, the church has a nave, side aisles, multiple side arches, and several chapels. The high altar can be viewed after entering the chapel.
Above the circumcision altar is a Fabrizio Santafede painting dating back to 1599. To the right of the high altar is the Chapel of St Stefano, which holds an 18th century statue of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus.
Other paintings around include Cristo alla Colonna and Addolorata, which were painted by Michele Trillocco near the end of the 18th century. The recently restored black Madonna statue can be viewed above the altar.
There is also an altar that is dedicated to Madonna del Carmine. Above this alter is a painting from Calabria. Several other chapels can be observed from the exit. These chapels include the chapels of St Nicola di Bari, Crocefisso, and more.
The bell tower can be viewed in the courtyard. A Capuchin friar built this tower in 1707. His grave can be found along the wall of the church. Above the door of the tower is a relief that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Above the relief is a gravestone commemorating Flavio Gioia, the inventor of the compass.
On weekends, weddings are often held on the church grounds. If you can catch a glimpse of a wedding here, it’s well worth it as these tend to be stunning, lavish affairs. . Although chapels cannot be entered while a wedding is taking place, the procession can be viewed from the outside.
The church of Santa Maria Assunta is the most famous sight in all of Positano. If possible, try to see the church at different times of the day to give you a better perspective.
#2 Franco Sensi Art Gallery
Unlike many of Italy’s museums, the Franco Senesi art gallery is fairly modern. It was established in 1999 under the eye of art dealer Franco Senesi.
However, its young age gives this museum its own unique appeal. Its focus is primarily on contemporary art, but it contains older pieces as well.
The gallery is split into four departments: Square Gallery, White Room, Studio Lab, and Art Archive. The Square Gallery’s goal is to find artists who can adapt to the desires of the local culture. This gallery is home to sculptures from artists like Wolfgang A. Kossuth, paintings from artists like Biagio Magliani, and contemporary art pieces from people like Gianfranco Meggiato.
This gallery features a number of rotating exhibits. In most cases, two different exhibits run concurrently. The exhibits usually showcase work from two very different artists so that the Square Gallery has something to appeal to every person who visits.
Although Positano is a small village, this museum is quite large. There is a great deal to see and do, and it’s very easy to spend hours here.
Admission rates for the museum are quite low, and it can often be visited for free. Because of this, visitors shouldn’t feel like they have to view all of its attractions in a single trip.
#3 Palazzo Murat
The Palazzo Murat is one of Positano's most exclusive hotels. In fact, it's the oldest hotel on the Amalfi Coast, and it's considered to be historically significant.
Although some visitors may not be able to afford to stay in the hotel, you can still visit the restaurant and grouns and enjoy much of what the Palazzo Murat has to offer.
The Palazzo Murat is hidden behind a sea of pink bougainvillea. Beyond that is a luxurious garden, which is illuminated by countless candles. Visitors can observe the walls of this beautiful hotel from within that garden.
The garden surrounds the hotel completely, with plants growing up and down its sandy-colored walls. Flower-covered trees and climbing vines can be seen from any viewpoint. You can spend hours exploring the garden alone.
The hotel was built in the 18th century. At the time, it was constructed as a summer residence for Gioacchino Murat, who was the king of Naples. He was married to the sister of Napoleon, and he built the palace largely for her.
No expense was spared in building this home. It has a beautiful Neapolitan baroque style, and there are balconies and terraces all over the building. Each one of them offers a fantastic view of Positano.
Today the Attanacio family owns the Palazzo. They've made sure that the hotel retains its old world charm. Every room of the hotel is stocked with beautiful antiques, and lovely works of art line its walls. It's just as beautiful now as it was when it was first built.
The hotel also has a boat and a pool, both of which are only available to guests. The pool is elevated, with a clear glass wall allowing visitors a perfect view of Positano's sites. The pool is surrounded by a small and charming garden, and umbrella covered tables make it the perfect place to relax.
The hotel courtyard often hosts art shows. The courtyard may or may not be open to the public depending on the events that are being held there. If you're not staying at the hotel, but would like to view the courtyard, you may want to call the hotel staff and speak with them ahead of time. They're more than helpful, even if someone isn't a guest of the hotel.
Anyone who can afford a stay at the Palazzo Murat should take advantage of it. This palace-turned-hotel is one of the most beautiful hotels in all of Italy and will give you an incredible experience to add to your vacation memories (Click here to see my full review of the Palazzo Murat hotel).
#4 The Emerald Grotto
Also known as, the Grotta di Smeraldo, the Emerald Grotto is a gorgeous cave that houses a number of fascinating geological structures.
The cave's name comes from its water, which has a stunning emerald green color. When viewed from the inside, it looks as though the water has been lit up from below.
In order to view the cave, visitors must be rowed in by boat. Many boaters (which you'll find down by the main beach) will row visitors to the cave throughout the day.
A trip through the Emerald Grotto won't cost you much, even when the tip for the boater is included (but feel free to haggle on the price!). For most of the year, boats are available starting at 9 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m.
In order to get the full effect of the water, the grotto should be viewed on a sunny day. This will let you see the water at its brightest and most brilliant.
Visiting a cave on a sunny day may feel like a waste of time, but trips through the grotto won't take long so you can easily do this and then spend a few hours relaxing on the beach.
#5 The Birds of Prey Show
You can see a lot of different birds throughout the Positano landscape. There are giant vultures, noble-looking hawks, falcons, owls, and more. While you can see these birds as you explore the village, you have the chance to admire their beauty at the Birds of Prey show.
This show gives visitors a close-up look at all of the birds of prey that can be found in Positano. You'll be driven to the top of a high hill before the show begins. There, you'll find both guides and an assortment of birds.
The guides will show off each bird and provide an explanation of how that bird lives. Visitors will learn how the birds hunt, fly, and so much more. The guides are extremely knowledgeable, and speak English very well. They are more than happy to answer any additional questions visitors have.
In addition, the guides are happy to give you hands-on time with the birds. You'll have opportunities to touch or even hold the birds that are part of the show. This can be especially exciting for families.
The show is fairly long, but refreshments are served throughout. It's an exciting and informative experience that is very different from most of Positano's attractions. This show isn't about showcasing Positano's natural beauty and scenery. It's all about teaching people to appreciate the birds who live there.
If you'll looking for a great educational experience in Positano, this show is an cool way to spend an hour. Ask your hotel staff about show times and transportation.
So those are 5 of the most popular things to see in Positano. Of course, the most stunning thing to see, in my opinion, is the view of Positano itself. There are lots of different locations to do this, but in general, the higher you go, the better.
You can also take a number of amazing tours. I've listed several that leave from Positano here: