The scent of gorse flowers in the mountains above the coast, the heady taste of the wild asparagus we pick on our morning walks, the fragrance of a freshly baked pastiera pie… it’s a time of glorious, inebriating sensory overload.
But we love April for other reasons too. When friends ask “What’s the best time of year to visit Positano?”, we always reply, diplomatically, “It depends what Positano you’re looking for”. Positano in high summer is wonderful, like a beach party that never ends, Positano in early fall is a delight, Positano in late fall is the after party that never ends… but Positano in the second half of April is our little secret, the recommendation we reserve for those friends who, like us, have a penchant for adventure, for taking the road less traveled.
Here are some of the reasons why
After the Easter visitor surge – which finishes this year on 10 April – our little seaside town reverts to the quietly buzzy, in-the-know ambience of its dolce vita years of the 1950s and 1960s, before the low-cost flight era, when true Positano insiders came both early and late in the season and you could spot Liz Taylor shopping for sandals in the old town, or Truman Capote ordering just one more double martini in one of the beachfront bars.
Today, we’re sure that Mr Capote would be occupying one of the front row seats of our very own Franco’s Bar – which opens early this year, on 12 April. Until the season hots up in May, this is probably the only time he or any other mortal or immortal souls are likely to get into Franco’s without waiting in line (no bookings are taken, not even from ghostly celebrities).
Franco’s is not alone in choosing to open earlier than usual ahead of what promises to be a record summer season. We have heard through the local grapevine that several Amalfi Coast beach clubs will also be open by mid-April. And if you have always wanted to try the famed spaghetti con le zucchine at waterside Nerano trattoria Lo Scoglio, or book dinner at legendary fine-dining restaurants like Quattro Passi, Torre del Saracino or Don Alfonso 1890, this is a perfect time to land a reservation.
Asparagus, broad beans, artichokes, strawberries and an abundance of fresh salad greens and herbs are among the seasonal ingredients that grace local tables in early spring – including our own at Le Sirenuse’s candlelit La Sponda restaurant, where chef Gennaro Russo’s dedication to obsessively sourced fresh, local produce shines through in every dish. And if you’ve never tried southern Italian Easter sweets like that wonderfully Baroque Neapolitan pie know as la pastiera – this is your chance. Like James Cameron films, they continue their runs well beyond their opening weekend.
Did we mention the absorbing Picasso and the Ancient World exhibition, which has just opened at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples? Or the fact that this is a wonderful time to finally tick off those bucket-list archaeological sites? Pompeii is gratifyingly quiet at this time of year, while its less famous neighbors – like our favorite, Oplontis – are all but empty.
In her poem April, Emily Dickinson summed up this month of unfurling and blossoming in two marvelously evocative lines:
A wider sunrise in the dawn
A deeper twilight on the lawn
We look forward to sharing that wider sunrise, that deeper twilight with you.
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