Positano is a village and comune on the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana), in Campania, Italy. The main part of the city sits in an enclave in the hills leading down to the coast.
Positano was a port of the Amalfi Republic in medieval times, and prospered in the 16th and 17th centuries. But by the mid-19th century, the town had fallen on hard times. More than half the population emigrated, mostly to Australia.
Positano was a relatively poor fishing village during the first half of the 20th century. It began to attract large numbers of tourists in the 1950s, especially after John Steinbeck published his essay about Positano in Harper's Bazaar in May, 1953: "Positano bites deep", Steinbeck wrote. "It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone."
Positano has been featured in several films, including Only You (1994), and Under the Tuscan Sun (2003), as well as being mentioned in the 2009 musical film Nine in the song "Cinema Italiano". Positano is also the setting for the romantic adventure novel, "Finding Positano, A Love Story" (2010), by William James. It also hosts the annual Cartoons on the Bay Festival, at which Pulcinella awards for excellence in animation are presented. From July 1967 and through most of the 1970s, Positano was home of singer-songwriter Shawn Phillips and was where most of his best known work was composed. Also, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones wrote the song "Midnight Rambler" in the cafes of Positano while on vacation.
Patricia Highsmith based the little port of Mongibello in The Talented Mr Ripley on Positano. The town is also where parts of the film adaptation were filmed.
Today tourism is by far the major industry in Positano. Positano is also very popular for Limoncello, an alcoholic lemon drink that is made with local lemons and for ‘Albertissimo’, an alcoholic tipple that can only be found at a small stall at the main harbour.