Positano The Amalfi Coast

Capri Napoli Sorrento

Month: June 2019

Cocktail Time in Positano

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HOTEL POSEIDON

TRIDENT BAR

POSITANO

Drinking the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Positano, Napoli, what do you drink? Well there’s always wine. Yes wine, Campari, an Aperol Spritz, Prosecco, Mineral Water, Cappuccino, Espresso, and you must drink some Lemonade, for after all, you’re in The Land of Lemons of the Devine Coast of Amalfi. Or if you’re on Capri or Ischia, Sorrento or Salerno, or the Capital City of Napoli, it’s all the same. All the same of what you might drink, what the locals drink, business men, travelers, tourists, whoever.

    Yes, you will drink Cappuccino and Espresso, it’s good all over, and every Barista takes pride in his coffee making skills and prowess. And when it comes to Espresso, the Neapolitans are the World Champions of making it and drinking it. Espresso that is.

   And if on your trip to Positano, Capri, Sorrento, wherever your destination is down there, if you’re in Napoli, try and go to the Gran Caffe Gambrinus for one of the great cafe experiences of your life. The Gran Caffe Gambrinus is heir to the great Neapolitan coffee tradition, for coffee and the art of making and drinking a proper Espresso, is at its highest level in Gambrinus. Espresso in Napoli is rooted in ritual and the habits of each social class. There is a phenomenon in this habitual ritual that makes the simple moment of refreshment an opportunity for culture and socializing. You will experience a moment of great pleasure as you partake in this esteemed ritual known as espresso. But not just any Espresso, but a Neapolitan one. And while at Gambrinus, drinking your Cappuccino, Espresso or Special Gambrinus Caffe, why not treat yourself to a Sfogliatelle as well?

    All over the Amalfi Coast, in Naples, and especially popular on the Isle of Capri are Lemonade Stands. It stands to reason that with all the Lemon Groves you find on Capri, in and around Sorrento, and in Minori, Maiori, Atrani, and Amalfi, that they’d be serving that refreshing lemon based drink, Lemonade, yes they do. Though lemons are grown all over the coast and on the islands, there seems to be two places that you see Granita and Lemonade Stands more than in other parts, and those two places are in Napoli and on the Isle of Capri. And when it comes to me personally, I always remember that first Lemonade I ever had there, and that was the Lemonade Stand on the Piazzetta of the Piazza Umberto that’s right there before you, when you get off of the Funicular of Capri, if you happen to be taking it. And if you do take the Funicular from the bottom at Marina Grande, once up are at the top and your ride is over, the first thing you’ll see when you exit the Funicular is that Lemonade Stand that is so very inviting on a hot Summer day. So, just as I did on that day in the Summer of 1988 when I had my first, I got a glass of Lemonade. I got off of the Funicular, saw the Lemonade Stand and I couldn’t resist. I got myself a nice cold refreshing Lemonade made with the Lemons of Capri. Later on, in the trip (i988), I’d have my first Limoncello, that hugely famous after dinner drink made with the local Lemons. So, you see, it’s usually the littlest things that I love most when I travel. Like that lemonade on Capri in the Summer of 1988, my first Campari, Aperol Spritz, and most recently a lovely liquor made in these parts called Finnonchietto (Fennel Liqueur), that the waiter brought for me and my cousin Tony, after dinner at Z’Antonino one night in Sorrento. Wow, I went nuts when I tasted this wonderful liqueur for the first time. It was a revelation. I never had it before, and I absolutely loved it. So much so, that when we finished the dinner and took a little walk, as we passed by a Salumeria that sold Limoncello, Amari, and other liqueurs, including Finnonchietto, I just had to get a bottle, and so I did (8 Euros).

   So, now as we talk of drinking on the Amalfi Coast, we come up to the subject of the Aperitivo and Aperitivo time on the Amalfi Coast or anywhere in Italy for that matter. Well, what is Apertivo anyway you say? Aperitivo is a drink that you have before dinner, and is meant for socializing as well as getting your palate going for the meal to come. Most often when you go for Apertivo (aka Aperitif) and order a drink at the traditional aperitivo time (late-afternoon & early-evening), the waiter will bring you some little snacks along with your drink (Aperitivo). The snacks might be as simple as a bowl of Potato Chips and Olives. In addition, some places might serve canapes (crostini) with various toppings, all for the price of the drink. The most popular forms of Aperitivo drinks are anything made with Campari or Aperol, such as Campari & Soda or OJ, a Negroni, or Aperol Spritz. Prosecco or any wine at the apertivo hours are also considered as aperitivo drinks. You can get any other cocktails made with Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey or other forms of alcohol other than Prosecco, wine, Campari, or Aperol, but these cocktails may be quite a bit more expensive than the traditional Aperitivi.

   On a recent trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, I partook in the delightful ritual of Apertivo on numerous occasions. It was quite wonderful sharing this ritual with my cousins Tony, Mimmo, Marta, and friends in Salerno, Sorrento, in Positano, and Vietro Sul Mare. My trip started off in Rome for a day before I hopped on the high-speed train to Napoli the next day. After landing in Rome, checking into my hotel, I took a shower and then a nap. Well, more thana nap, I fell asleep for 6 hours. I finally awoke and hopped in the shower again.

    Once I showered and got dressed for one more evening out to my beloved Roma, I had a plan. My plan was to walk over to the Metro stop and take a train to near the Piazza Spagna where I would go walk around and enjoy a bit of time at this one of Rome’s most popular spots. I walked up The Spanish Steps, taking pictures along the way and enjoying the scene before me; the people and that view from atop the Spanish Steps is absolutely magnificent. I stayed there to enjoy it for a little while. So, now on to the second phase of the plan.

   After spending a half-hour enjoying the Piazza di Spagna, my plan was to walk over to the Piazza di Popolo from there, a short 8 minute walk away. Yes, my plans included going to Piazza di Popolo to see the beautiful little twin churches of Santa Maria Maracoli and Santa Maria Montesanto and to have a Aperitivo at Rosati afterwards. After that, I’d go on to dinner. So after leaving the Spanish Steps behind I made my way along to the Via Babuino leading me to my destination of the Piazza di Popolo and all its offerings.

   When I arrived about 10 minutes later, I walked towards the Fountain of Neptune to get a good view of the Twin Churches. I took a few pictures of the churches, then asked a couple if they would take a picture of me in front of them. They took a couple nice pictures that are now part of my wonderful memories of that day, and even back to 1985 and 1986 in Rome. After taking pictures of the two churches and the Piazza and myself, I went over to the churches to go inside. The Chiesa Santa Maria Miracoli was closed, but the doors to Santa Maria Montesanto were open, and there was a Mass being conducted. I went in and sat down to relax there. I listened to the priest and parishioners as they responded to the priest. I said a few prayers for my sister Barbara, myself, my Brothers Jimmy and Michael, and their loved ones, and then I left the church.

   After my time at the churches I walked across to Rosati for my little aperitivo. I took a seat at a table outside to watch the World go by the Twin Churches and life on the Piazza Popolo. I ordered a Campari Soda and the waitress brought it to me along with Olives, Potato Chips, and Canapes. And yes, I sat back, sipped my Campari and watched the World go by. I had quite a nice little Aperitivo Time at Roasati and then it was on to dinner.

   Drinking? You can’t talk about drinking in Italy without talking about wine. On this recent trip I was briefly in Rome where I drank Frascati with dinner that night, followed by an Amaro of Capo di Stato digestive from Calabria.

     Now, down to Campania and the Amalfi Coast and the wines down there. This area has some wonderful wines that are sure to please all. There are a lot of very good white wines, as there should be with all the wonderful seafood available and simply for the fact of the heat and being on the coast in Summer, for many people, white wine is the way to go. The White Wines of the area are some of the finest in Italy, in wines like; Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, Coda, Falanghina, Biancolella, and a few others, with these being the main ones as well as being most popular. When it comes to reds, Aglianico is King, especially in the form of “Taurasi” the most prestigious red wine in all  of Southern Italy. The red grape Palumbo, also known as Piedirosso which makes up the local wine that is called Lacryma Christi, meaning “The Tears of Christ.” This grape makes wonderful fruity wines as is in the case of Lacryma Christi. Yes, Aglianico is the most renowned red grape varietal of the region, but the grape Piedirossa and the wines that it makes up are not far behind in stature. The more famous wines are made with Aglianico, the grape that makes up the famed Itaian wine known as Taurasi.

   There is a most lovely legend that goes along with the wine Lacryma Christi, which can be found as either white or red wine. As the legend goes, is that when Saint Lucifer (the Devil) was cast away, he took a piece of Heaven with him. When Christ first saw the Bay of Naples, he recognized it as the stolen piece of Heaven and he wept over its loss. It’s said that as Christ wept, where his tears landed on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius is where the grapes that make up Lacryma Christi first sprang up from, and these are the grapes that sprung from the Tears of Christ. So the legend goes, and it’s quite a lovely one at that.

   So you see, drinking in Napoli, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast, is a very pleasant pastime, whether drinking Cappuccino in the morning, Espresso later in the day, Lemonade or Limoncello, local wine, a Negroni, Campari, or Aperol Spritz, you’re going to have a good time. You have to? You’re in Amalfi. Enjoy it.

EXCERPTED from POSITANO The AMALFI COAST

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke  …. Due for Publication, May 2019

VISIT  Daniel-Bellino-Zwicke.com

BEST SELLING ITALIAN COOKBOOKS by Daniel

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WHERE to DRINK in POSITANO

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Cocktails at FRANCO’S BAR

Le SIRENUSE

POSITANO COCKTAILS

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APEROL SPRITZ TIME in POSITANO

LEARN HOW to MAKE POSITANO’S “Most Popular Cocktail”

The APEROL SPRITZ 

Recipe

Yes, without question, the Aperol Spritz is Positano’s most popular cocktail. You see them on almost every table, as you pass restaurants and outdoor cafes in Positano, there’s at least one Aperol Spritz on practically every table in town. Other popular drinks are the Negroni, White Wine (& Red), Prosecco, and fresh Lemonade. I first started drinking Aperol Spritz’s way back in 1995, almost 20 years before most Americans ever even heard of it. Now it’s almost as popular as water, and for good reason, it’s the perfect drink for Positano, Capri, or any beach town in Italy or anywhere. It’s light, tasty, and refreshing.

The best places to drink an Aperol Spritz, or any cocktail of your choice, when in Positano, are; the Trident Bar at the Hotel Poseidon, Franco’s Bar at the Hotel Le Sirenuse, or any of the terraces at Buco di Bacco, or Covo d’ Saraceni.

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POSITANO

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Le Sirenuse Hotel Positano

 

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Le SIRENUSE HOTEL

 

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POSITANO HOTELS

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Rome to Positano Travel Guide

 

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Me in ROME

At The PIAZZA del POLPOLO

“The PIAZZA of The PEOPLE”

2018

 

I landed at Fiumicino Airport Rome, Italy on May 27, 2018 .. I would be in Rome about 24 hours, and I’d make the most of it, before heading down to Campania and the Amalfi Coast of  Italy the next day. I was going on a trip with my cousin Tony, to Sorrento, Salerno to see our cousins Mimo and Marta, and of course the Amalfi Coast. I was going to Minori to stay at the lemon farm of Villa Maria for two days before meeting up with my cousin Anthony in Salerno in three days.

The plane arrived safely at Fiumicino Airport after a 7 1/2 hour flight on an American Airlines plane from JFK Airport in New York. I got to the airport, went through Customs and Immigration, and got my Passport stamped. Pick up my luggage and I was off to catch my Shuttle Van that took me from the airport, directly to the front door of my hotel, hassle free. You can take the Leonardo Express Train from downstairs in the airport to the main Train Station (Stazione Centrale) for about 5 Euros less, but then you have to get from the train station to your hotel. If you’re staying within 3 blocks of the station, this option may be good for you, but to me, it was great taking the Van for just a few dollars more, and getting dropped off right in front of my hotel. I went inside,checked in, then went directly to the bathroom to take a nice hot shower and refresh myself, before going out and making a little foray into the Iternal City Roma.

I went out, walked around a bit, had an Espresso and Corneto at a nice little caffe, then I went back to my hotel to take a 3 hour nap, before going out to see and hang at The Piazza d’ Spagna once again, before walking over to the Piazza del Popolo to have an Apertivo at Rosati, hang and admire the two beautiful little Twin Churches in the Piazza, and so  did.

I took a nice 3 1/2 hour nap, got up, threw some water on my face, got dressed, and it was back out onto the street of Rome, Italy. I decided the best thing to do was to take the Metro at Stazione Central to Piazza d’ Spagna, get out there, walk up the Spanish Steps, taking pictures for Instagram, hang out and savor it all, before walking over to the Piazza del Pololo.

I spent about 20 minutes hanging out at the Spanish Steps, before taking off for my next little adventure. Going to the Piazza del Popolo always hearkens back to memories of my first trip to the Eternal City, way back in the Summer of 1985. It was in New York on 2nd Avenue in The East Village when I ran into my friend Alma and Rene Ricard. I didn’t know Rene (famed Poet/ Art Critic), so Alma introduced us.  Rene got quite excited when I mentioned I was leaving for Rome on Saturday and would be going to Venice, Barcelona, Naples, and Positano. Rene wanted to give me tips, which he did for Venice and Positano, and he told me that I should stay at the Hotel Locarno in Rome and that I had to go to the Piazza del Popolo and go into the twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria Montesanto, and also that absolutely had to go to Rosati’s in the piazza, hang-out and have an aperitivo of any sort of Campari, of either; a Campari & Soda, Spritz, or the famed Negroni Cocktail. Of course I followed Rene’s great advice. I went into the churches and I went to Rosati, sat at a table outside, ordered my 1st ever Campari, a Campari Soda. I sat back, sipping my Campari and enjoying the marbelous scene laid out before me, the Twin Churches, The Piazza, the people drinking their aperitivo and having a good time. Yes, it was all so marvelous, and I shall never forget. And I think my good old pal, who sadly passed away a few years ago, he would be quite happy to know, because of that little conversation we had on 2nd Avenue, way back in 85, that I’d often remember him and the advice on Venice, Rome, and Positano, getting a Campari, and that I had to get the World’s Best Spaghetti Vongole at Da Vincenzo in Positano. Yes I’m sure that it would make Rene Ricard happy to know that I remembered him and all the advice he gave me on Italy that day in 1985, New York City.

Now, back to present day Rome, 2018 .. It  was great being back at the Piazza d’ Spagna once again. I just took it all in. After I walked up to the  top of the steps, all the way where the church of Santissima Trinita dei Monti stands majestically overlooking the whole Piazza de Spagna and Rome beyond. Technically the church is not part of the Piazza de Spagna, but I believe that it is to just about everyone who lays eyes on it. It something ever happened to it, and it was know longer there, the Spanish Steps just wouldn’t look the same. In fact, it would look as though it lost its “Head.” Anyway, it’s there, and millions are glad it is. If it weren’t, their pictures would just not look the same. 

So I had quite a nice time taking pictures, enjoying the setting, people watching, and just contemplating Rome. I was there about 20 minutes before leaving, and heading to my next stop, the Piazza d’ Popolo.

 

 

So I made my way over to and up the Via del Corso, and made it to the Piazza in about 12 minutes.  I went into both of the Twin Churches one at a time, spending about 7 minutes in each (been there before) before going over to Rosatis’s and grabbing a nice table outside. I was excited and all set for my Roman Apertivo Time, and so I did. The waitress came over and greeted me with a “Buona Serra” and I replied back in the same. She gave me a menu, which I looked over, before ordering a Campari & Soda from the waitress.  A few minutes later she cam back with my drink and a nice assortment tidbits of food that is part of the apertivo hour, and included for free with you drink. She gave me little bowl of Olives, Potato Chips, and assorted canapes, little sandwiches and PigsIn-a-Blanket (Cocktail Hotdogs in Pastry).  I sat back and enjoyed my treats, and wrote down what I had done so far that day in my travel journal, which are the notes for this piece here.

After spending about 35 minutes at Rosati, I took off and it was time to look for a nice little Trattoria for a nice meal. I could have gone to a place that I knew, but decided instead to just walk around and look for a new place. After walking around for about 20 minutes, I came across a little Osteria near the Trevi Fountain that was absolutely jumping. I looked at the menu, it looked good, and from the looks of how busy the place was and other little factors, I decided that the place would be good, so I asked one of the waiters if he had a nice table inside. “Certainly Sir. Follow me,” he replied, so I was on my way. I sat down, and looked over the menu and thought about what I’d like to eat, and which wine to have. I settled on Carciofi alla Romana (Roman Artichokes) and Veal Saltimboca, with a glass of Frascati, the local Roman white wine. The meal was wonderful, and I had quite an adventure which I’ll get into at another time.

Yes, I had a great time at dinner, and finally left the restaurant, and I wanted to walk around Rome for an hour or so, before heading back to my hotel, for a nice sleep to be fresh and ready for my journey down to the Amalfi Coast the next day.

Now the next day, and getting from Rome to Positano. I packed my suitcase, then went down to the hotel dining room for breakfast. The breakfast was very nice. I was able to get a Cappuccino, and there was a good assortment of; pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, juice, Salami, Cheese, and sweets. I ate as much as I could, and as usual, made sure to take a good amount of Salami & Cheese and a couple rolls to make a couple small sandwiches to bring with me on the train (lunch). I went back to my room, got my bags, went to the front desk, and checked out of the hotel. I grabbed my bags, and walked over to the train station. I bought a one-way ticket on the Fast Train to Napoli (about 16 Euro). For those of you who have the cash, if you’d like, you can take a Private Car door to door, from your hotel in Rome, direct to your hotel in Positano, Sorrento, or anywhere on the Amalfi Coast.

As for me, I took the Fast Train from Rome to Stazione Centrale Napoli (Naples) which took about an hour and 15 minutes. I walked downstairs and jumped on the Circumvesuviano, the local train that goes from Naples to Sorrento and stops at many points in-between, including; Pompeii (Roman Ruins), Vico Equense, and other points, before the final stop of Sorrento, where I caught the Blue Sita Bus to Amalfi. Once in AMalfi, I had to catch another bus to Minori, which dropped me off near Caffe Gambaradella where I go for a Gelato and the nice lady at the cash register makes a phone call for me to Villa Maria, letting the family know that I have arrived in Minori, and I’m waiting down at the caffe. Twenty minutes later Mr. Vincenzo Manzo arrives in his Fiat Station-Wagon to pick me up an bring me up to the agriturismo of Villa Maria (Lemon Farm), and I’m there. All this being said, I now know there’s an easier way. It would have been much better for me to take the train from Rome to Salerno ( 1 hour & 1/2 ), then walk two blocks to the ferry terminal and catch a ferry boat from Salerno to Minori, and all points on the Amalfi Coast. 

I was used to the old way, that I read about in my Frommers Guide Book to Italy. There was no Internet when I first started to go to Positano, nor for a long time afterward and I ws used to taking the Circumvesuviano and then the bus on the AMalfi Drive from Sorrento to positano and Amalfi, which is the most interesting and way to go, with the World’s most beautiful Bus Ride ever. The scenery driving along the AMalfi Coast is absolutely spectacular, and is “Not to be Missed.” You have to do this at least once in your life, and then if at other times you want a faster / easier way to get to your destination, do as I’ve just said, take the train from Rome to Salerno, and then take a Ferry Boat in Salerno to any town you want to go to on the Amalfi Coast.

If you’re going to Sichia or Capri, take the train to Naples, then take a taxi from the train station to the Ferry Terminal and catch a boat to either Procida, Ischia, or the Isle of Capri.

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I’ve been going to Positano and the Amalfi Coast of Italy since the Summer of 1985, when I made my first trip to Italy, France, Spain, and Europe as a young man in my early 20s. That frist trip was amazing, there’s nothing like being so young and taking a trip like that, when new everything feels so magical. It’s an feeling you just don’t get as you get older. Anyway, I’m a bit older, and though I can’t regain the same feelings of my youth, I still love the place (Positano) and going there is always so very nice. 

Now the main point in this all, is unlike so many others who are blogging and writing about the magical town, very few could match my long history and experiences in Positano, on Capri, Rome and Naples, or anywhere on the Devine Coast of Amalfi. Yes, I have quite a lot of experiences in Positano over the years. I tell you about them, and make recommendations on where to stay (hotels), where to eat (Trattoria ‘s / Pizzeria ‘s & Bakeries), the Best Beaches, How to Get There and What to Do Once you are there on Positano or anywhere on the Amalfi Coast. You’ve got to go to Ravello, there’s a wonderful Lemon Farm Agriturismo that I go to in Minori, that’s a Hidden Gem few people know about. You’ve got to go to Pompeii, and a foray into Naples is highly recommend for a Pizza Crawl if you have the time. While on your trip to the Amalfi Coast area, I highly recommend staying two nights on Capri if you have the time. What I don’t recommend that highly is going to Capri just for a few hours, if you have the time, you must stay there to really appreciate the island and all its many charms. 

 

My TOP POSITANO HOTELS

“If You Can Afford It?”

1.    Le SIRENUSE

2.    IL SAN PIETRO

More Affordable

1.    HOTEL CASA ALBERTINA

2.    HOTEL PALAZZO MURAT

3.    HOTEL POSEIDON

BUDGET HOTELS

1.     HOTEL VILLA MARIA ANTONIETTA

2.     HOTEL SAVOIA

 

WHERE to EAT

“My Favorite Restaurants”

1.    Da VINCENZO … My All-Time Favorite. Been Going since 1985. Spaghetti Vongole

2.    BUCA d’ BACO … Great restaurant, great Hotel, Great Views & Great Food. 

3.    CHEZ BLACK .. The In-Spot. Great Pizza, People Watching & Spaghetti Nerano.

Yummy Food For Less

1.     LATTERIA … Latteria (Italian Deli) is a wonderful little place, just a short way up the hill, on the Via Pastea, the main roadd of Positano. This wonderful little Salumeria has some of the Best Food in Positano, and at much cheaper prices than most. They make tasty Panini (Sandwiches), Arancini (Rice Balls), Frittata, and Melenzane Parmigiana (Baked Eggplant). You can buy Wine and Fresh Fruit and bottled water here. There is a wonderful little spot to eat outside (Limited Seating) or you take your prepared-food and grocery’s back tot you hotel or apartment.

BEST BEACHES

1.     Le SCOGLIERA BEACH CLUB is my all-time Favorite Beach to go to in Positano. It’s a bit of splurge treat, and I split my beach time in Positano between this beach and the FREE BEACH at FORNILLO BEACH. Yes, it’s a bit expensive, but I’ve been going here since my first trip, and it’s a special treat to myself whenever I spend the extra cash to go there.

2.    My 2nd favorite Beach in Positano, is the Free Beach at Fornillo Beach where I used to go with my friend Nicoletta way back in 1986. There’s also a Private Beach area, where you pay to rent a Chaise Loung. I like the free part better, and when I to spend the cash for a private beach, I go to Le SCOGLERA BEACH CLUB next to “Music O The Rock.”

Basta !

READ MORE on The BEST BEACHES of POSITANO on POSITANO-AMALFI-COAST.com

 

BEST BARS For APERTIVO or Anytime

1.   The BAR at The POSEIDON HOTEL .. Great view * Crowd and Cheaper than FRANCO’S BAR at Le SIRNEUSE HOTEL

2.    FRANCO’S BAR .. Great spot for your evening apertivo, with a Spectacular View and equally spectacular prices (expensive) to match. It quite nice, but persoally, I like the Bar on Terrace of The Hotel Poseidon. It’s cheaper too!

 

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View from The TERRAZZO

HOTEL POSEIDON BAR

POSITANO

 

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HOTELS in POSITANO

The AMALFICOAST

 

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Franco’s Bar

Le SIRENUSE HOTEL

POSITANO

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