History of Positano
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.
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