It’s hard to believe that just over 10 years ago, Positano could still be called a ‘hidden gem’. We made our first visit in May 2004, when it was still necessary to know some Italian to get by. Michael had learned of this little seaside town from friends in LA who had visited a few years before. He’d seen their photos (back in the day when people still printed photos) and knew he wanted to visit someday too.
We booked a last-minute weekend break from London when his sister, Alli, and her husband John, had come to visit. I remember this trip like it was yesterday – the first time we drove that winding road from Naples along the steep cliffs of the Amalfi coast – I remember it being so breath-taking. I was practically gasping for air the minute we could see Positano from the car window! Our driver, Ottavio (who still picks us up every year!), pulled the car over and let us take it all in. I had never seen anywhere more beautiful in my life. We spent that long weekend feeling like we had discovered the world’s best-kept secret, and as our car drove out of town Michael and I vowed to return to Positano every year for as long as we could.
This is our 13th visit to Positano. We have kept our promise and have returned every year. Over the years we have made friends here, watched children grow up, locals grow older, and friends get married and have babies. We’ve returned with new babies (nearly every other year for a good while), growing children, more wrinkles and this year, with long hair, Brazilian hats and a scruffy beard that has made Michael nearly unrecognisable to the locals. Each year our children’s cheeks are pinched and kissed by locals who have watched them grow up. There’s Fabio, Vito, Mario and Alessandro at the beach. There’s Marcella, Giosuè and their son, Vincenzo, at our favourite restaurant. There’s the sweet, blue-eyed Maurizio selling gelato, and Giavonni and Luigi in the tabacchi and souvenier shop—(we met them when they were teenagers and now they’re grown men!).
We’ve witnessed changes in this little town — upgrades and advancements due to its growing popularity — but we are always comforted to see how much actually remains the same. For 13 years we’ve found the same friends working in the same restaurants, the same artists selling their wares on the same streets and the same guys working on the beach. Shops and restaurants remain where they’ve stood for decades – their menus and inventories virtually unchanged in 13 years. It is comforting and familiar. It feels like our home away from home. Other than the increase in visitors and English proficiency amongst the locals (waiters now speak English and you can find English menus in every restaurant), it’s not that different.
Our first week here was a busy and exciting one. Alli and John returned with their daughter, Gianna, and crammed into our little apartment with us. My best friend Esther and her children made the trip from Amsterdam and spent the first few days catching up with us. New friends we met along our journey around the world made the trip too. Michael and Lauren, from Newcastle, Australia, who we met in a campsite, came with their daughters Lillian and Evelyn. Our friends, Ollie and Rebecca from Napier, New Zealand, brought their girls, Sophia and India. It’s been so fun to introduce all of these friends to our favourite spots and to our friends here. In the weeks to come more friends are due to visit and more memories to be made.
Last night we took a stroll back through our photo archive to look at all our Positano pics from years past. I couldn’t resist including some of these moments, especially new babies, below. Our times in Positano have been some of the best in our lives. We are so thankful to have had found this place. Here below are LOTS OF happy memories from all the past years….
Baby Easton, 2005
Dada and Easton, 2005
Easton on Fornillo Beach, 2006
Happy Easton in the water, 2006
Michael and Easton, 2006
Baby Quin, 2007
Mama and Quin, 2007
Easton and Quin, 2007
Family photo, 2007
Easton on the beach (he’s always been a water baby), 2008
Mama and boys, 2008
Mama and Quin walking, 2008
Mama and Quin getting gelato, 2008
Mama and Quin in the sea, 2008
Michael getting gelato, 2008
Little Quin, 2008
Easton and Quin eating gelato, 2008
Little Quin (post-gelato!), 2008
Mama and boys, 2008
Family photo (with new baby Ivy), 2009
Mama and Ivy, 2009
Michael and Ivy, 2009
Three kids on terrace, 2011
Little Ivy overlooking Positano, 2011
Michael and the kids, 2011
Pregnant mama and little Ivy, 2012
Pregnant with Marlow, 2012
Four kids, 2013
Mama on beach with Easton, Ivy and Marlow, 2013
Baby Marlow, 2013
Quin and Ivy, 2013
Four kids on the bar, 2013
Four kids on the bar, 2014
Marlow on the beach, 2015
Four kids on the bar, 2015
34 thoughts on “Our first week in Positano (and a trip down memory lane!)”
Such brilliant photo memories – and I’ve had the joy of following your little (and large!) adventures for three years, just before M was born. Michael sure rocks that straw bag and your family is so beautiful xx
so sweet! Thank you for sharing.
Loved this post!!! These memories are so inspiring.
Oh my goodness, Courtney! This may be my favorite post to date. What beautiful, happy memories from your many trips to Positano. I especially love all the gelato photos 😉 How fantastic that you’ve been able to share this past trip with family and friends you’ve met on your journey — so special! xx
Definitely need to see four kids on the bar, 2016. What a change! x
Was just thinking this morning that my daughter, Camilla (age 12) and I were starting to get Marlow withdrawals! She makes us smile. So pleased to see this. Easton and Marlow are so alike as little one’s!
PS. Marlow’s cow joke video is still something that makes me grin broadly.
so sweet to see the same attachment to a place over the years.. and those photos !
It’s always a pleasure to read your stories, to follow the adventures and look at those nice pictures!
Oh my goodness I love this entire post! Such special memories. Really cool to see how your family grew over the years. And now I want to go to Positano.
Your love for Positano is infectious, fab photos too. We’re going in October and can’t wait 🙂
This is so touching, and so incredibly beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful, dear pictures. And looking at the 2015 pictures it seems to me that the biggest changes from one year to another your children experienced during the last year. Your travel year. From e.g. 2013 – 2014 they became “just” bigger, as all kids do…But from 2015 until now, they became such free spirits, such personalities! You can see how all these adventures, all those wonderful experiences, foreign countries, different people…changed their faces, their attitude, their personalities.
I remember you when talking about your gap year plans telling about a family in your childhood-neighborhood which went on a year long world travel, and how fascinated you were even as a kid about how different they were when coming back. It will be the same with you. So amazing to see!
Thank you so much for your sweet comment and observations. It’s so true how much they’ve all changed this year – not just in appearance but in all that they’ve seen, discovered and learned. I am certain this year will help define who they are and how (and where) they want to live in the future. (I know it’s had this effect on me!) x
Many blessings to your entire family and all you touch with the sharing of what you have, do and portray.
Love, Love, Love.
Thanks so much for sharing your pictures, thoughts & memories of this wonderful place. I could really identify with the description of your first sight of this magical place. My first visit was in 1980 with two girlfriends & since then I’ve returned 3 or 4 times & each time you visit it still had the power to take your breath away. My last visit was in 2006 with my mum & other relatives & we had the best pasta dish I’ve ever had at the restaurant on the corner, near the beach. I can still remember the succulent King Prawns, lemon & tomato sauce. Have you been to Villa Cimbrane at Ravello yet? This is still a hidden gem, but not gor long!!!!
Courtney , I’ve been to positano three times & on your recommendation my husband and I went to Da Vincenzo for a meal whilst on our honeymoon. Well it was hands down the best place we have ever eaten! Ricotta ravioli , perfect rosé & a view to die for & wonderful staff …it has become my minds go-to “happy place.” One of my favourite memories. So much so that a year later ,whilst I was in labour using hyponbirthing to deliver our first baby , I thought of that meal at Da Vincenzo every time a contraction surged. My happy place. One of my favourite , happiest memories. Drinking rosé, eating the most delicious food , with my love. We can wait to return with our (now) toddler! Thanks for sharing your gems & secrets in this beautiful place X
beautiful, lovely lovely, love !!! XOX
I hated Positano !…cramped & dirty…yet your photos make me want to like it. They are beautiful and your family adorable.
We did a ‘la scala’ walking holiday in 2008 from Ravello to Positano. Maybe that was why, when we realised what La Scala translated too (steps)….we found the locals very unfriendly and the service appallingly. Although we did hire a car and take a day trip to Pompeii which was out of this world & worth every penny of hiring a tour guide for the magnificent lost city.
Wow such a nice post. I love the idea of having a familiar place to take your family back to every year. It was so cute to see how they have all grown over the years.
Sweetest post, Courtney! Love seeing you and your cute family throughout the years in these pics!
Such a beautiful post! I have a 26 month old and 10 month old. My computer mouse is currently hovering over 4 tickets to Italy! My husband and I have been to 20 countries, but we haven’t been abroad since I was pregnant with our oldest. It is so nerve wracking to take the plunge back to international travel when you have small babies. But these pictures are inspiring! So looking forward to the 2016 kids on the bar picture!
This is so nice to read and the photos over the years are great! These kids are going to own that bar in a fee years! 🙂
Haha! I certainly hope they’ll be offered summer jobs there if they want them! 🙂 x
Oh, Courtney, such amazing memories – how lucky you and your gorgeous kiddiwinks are. And the boys’ hair – that’s going to be the most noticeable thing from last year. Beach blonde!! Enjoy the rest of your stay in Italy, and dolce fa niente!
(PS – we are off on our little-by-comparison 5 week Costa Rica trip in 8 days…. The packing – how did you cope?!!)
just wonderful, beautiful and really touching.
Have been following you on Instagram and only just realised you have a blog. Enjoying to read through it, and see the pictures of your travels (giving me definite wander-lust… and also increasing my longing to be a mother at some point. One day, I hope).
This looks like such a beautiful spot – and I loved seeing all your flash-back pictures (the one of pregnant-you and Ivy is so lovely).
Looking forward to reading more. Happy travelling xx
Amazing, memories to cherish always x
I’m Nora from a town near Venice, Italy. I’m going to Positano next week for the first time ever. I fell in love by looking at your pictures! Thank you so much for your advices!
Have a great holiday,
Love! We first went in 2004 also! In the Fall and it was just as you describe the winding road! We’ve only been twice but I love your trips.
How sweet going down memory lane…and how wonderful to find a place like this to call home. Happy visiting!
thanks for sharing your memories and feelings with all of us. You are an Inspiration for being strong and as a role model for me as a mother. I have two girls (2 and 4) and we are travelling through Tuscany and the Amalficoast right now.
Thanks and all the best for your growing family!!
This is so wonderful! Seeing those beautiful children growing so well and more and more adorable. Thank you for sharing. You are so inspiring! Jess