According to legend, Positano was founded by the God Neptune when he fell in love with the nymph Pasitea. It is one of the most well-known holiday places in the world.
The town is built in a charming fashion on terraces on the steep rocks of the Monte Comune, and around a small, well-protected bay.
Positano has earned its worldwide reputation not only because of the beauty of its surroundings, but also because of the shops that produce made-to-measure clothing in the distinctive "Positano style".
It has been home to many well-known artists (Seminov, Zagarouiko, Essad Bey, Clavel, Kovaliska, Massine...) and is the setting for the "Premio Internazionale per l'Arte della Danza" (International award for dance arts) honoring the choreographer Leonide Massine and various fashion shows ("Modamare a Positano" - Swimsuit Fashions in Positano).
The church of Santa Maria Assunta features a dome made of majolica tiles as well as a 13th Byzantine century icon of a black Madonna. According to local legend, the icon had been stolen from Byzantium and was being transported by pirates across the Mediterranean. A terrible storm had blown up in the waters opposite Positano and the frightened sailors heard a voice on board saying "Posa, posa!" ("Put down! Put down!"). The precious icon was unloaded and carried to the fishing village and the storm abated.
Positano has been featured in several films, including Only You (1994), and Under the Tuscan Sun (2003).
From July of 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.
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