|Articles Index: Positano history, Legend of Positano, Positano Hotels, “Spring in Positano”, “Positano Excursions”
The legend tells that Positano was founded by Poseidon, Neptun, the god of the sea, for a nymph he loved, Pasitea. Phoenixes and Greeks, during their journeys, landed in this territory, maybe inhabited at that period by Piceni and Oscans.
Roman conquerors built a rich villa near Spiaggia Grande: on that place there are now gardens and Santa Maria Assunta church. With the fall of Roman empire, Positano entered the Repubblica marinara of Amalfi and lived a very prosperous period thanks to commerce with other Mediterranean towns.
Norman invasions started a period of decadence. After that, there were other sad periods, especially under Angevins and Aragons, with the terrible invasions by Sarancen and Turk pirates. To defend themselves, the inhabitants built three towers in Fornillo, Trasita and Sponda and other smaller towers in the town.
In 1492 Positano was a feud of Giovanni Miroballo and then of Mastrogiudice and Cossa families: this was a terrible period made of plagues, famine and frequent sea-quakes that made many people die.
During XVI and XVII century the fast and strong ships of Positano traded with the Middle East bringing home spices, silks, and precious woods. During this period many Baroque houses were built with nice terraces on the sea. XVIII century was a prosperous one and many other rich Baroque houses were built.
After the Unity of Italy many inhabitants of Positano went to look for their fortune in America. During the First World War, many citizens died. Many Russian and German artists and writers went to live to Positano and thanks to their works of art made Positano famous all over the world.
After the Second World War film directors, painters, writers, enchanted by the beauty of this place, by its magic atmosphere, seduced by the way of life of fishermen, decided to restructure the old houses, the monasteries, and to move there. They built wonderful villas. It’s “moda Positano” time: a variegated, polychrome, exotic fashion.
Its little climbing streets have been walked by John Steinbeck, Alberto Moravia, Pablo Picasso and Dino Buzzati, in a funny microcosm that still today combines snobbism and simplicity, art and natural beauties make Positano a most desired destination of travellers from all over the world.
by Stefania Maffeo
The legend of Positano
The legend recounts, with great minuteness, that one night a Saracen sailing vessel that had stolen a precious Painting of the Madonna suddenly found itself in the midst of a furious storm off the Positano coast. The south-west wind was threatening to make the mainmast come tumbling down any minute, the fury of the sea and of the rain beset the vessel sweeping men and objects overboard.
The men of the crew had abandoned their duties and were running frantically from stern to stern on the high-prowed ancient Byzantine vessel, when all of a sudden the sailors heard a mysterious voice rising above the terrifying creaking of the foremast. Out of the howling gusts of the gale, a crystalclear voice apparently born of the wind repeatedly said: “Posa, posa!” (Lay me down). The Madonna, weary of roaming the seas, was asking to be brought to rest on land.
The sailors understood and decided to obey, in the hope of reaching safety and with the premonition that they were face to face with a new reality: a miracle.
All of the crew, converted to the Christian faith, got down to work like slaves, some went to the helm, others strove to get landward wind to fill the canvas of the one and only square sail: but miraculously every effort was superfluous because the vessel, as if propelled by a will of its own, started gliding towards the small bay where the Madonna was laid down on the small crescent shaped beach which nowadays is a favourite haunt of families on vacation.
The storm had abated and billows were gradually receding. On the water line, still black from the early morning rain, the Byzantine Madonna shone out brightly from her cedar-tree tablet where a skilful artist of distant Greece had depicted her: and there she was found at dawn by the first fishermen going out to sea. The pious inhabitants of these shores built a temple on that very site and since that day the village took the name of Positano from the “Posa, posa” uttered by its Madonna.
Filed under: Historical information Tagged: | accommodation positano, albergo positano, amalfi coast positano, amalfi positano, ancient legend, history of, hotel amalfi coast, hotel poseidon positano, hotel positano, hotels amalfi coast, italy history, legend history, poseidon positano, positano, positano history, positano hotels, positano travel