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One of our favorite Amalfi Coast beaches, Laurito, is a secret we hesitate to share.
Foreign tourists hardly know the place. This Amalfi Coast beach is not in the average guidebook, and the few Italians on holiday along the stunning beaches of this coastline who are familiar with this secluded little strand, keep it to themselves.
Laurito is the Costiera’s best kept secret. I’m sharing this little corner of coastal paradise with my fellow Belles, because we deserve to spend at least a day here, lazily basking in the sun, enjoying a seafood meal and hanging out with the locals.
The shuttle boat departing from the Positano main jetty sports a red fish on the mast. It’s a simple design, like your basic crayon Elmo drawing. If you perchance miss it, there’s another one every hour from 10 am to 1 pm.
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As visitors alight from the five-minute shuttle launch ride onto the Laurito beach’s wood plank gangway, you can actually see facial muscles relaxing. A smile inevitably surfaces. The beach offers little space. It’s a rocky cove few yards wide with a pebbly volcanic beach and two eateries, one of which is almost always deserted.
Folks come to Laurito to hang; to doze off in the sun on a rented lettino (beach lounger bed) and to swim in the emerald Mediterranean sea.
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Bathed in 24-karat sunshine, the sheltered beach is dotted with a few rows of sun beds and colorful umbrellas. Many girls feel free to go topless (we’re in Europe, remember) and guys don’t stare. Or grope. People lazily read the flapping newspaper, sip from frosted glasses of wine, enjoy the cicadas singing.
The confetti-hued town of Positano visible in the short distance, provides a pretty view. The sun sparkling on the rippled midday horizon relaxes instantaneously. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore and the smell coming from Adolfo’s concealed kitchen do the rest.
Swimming in Laurito’s crystal waters or just floating on an inflatable raft can build quite an appetite. So, tucked away just above the beach is Adolfo’s restaurant terrace. You don’t even need to dry off–eating in your bathing suit is a given here.
With your back to the water, Adolfo is the place on the right. Sergio Bella, Adolfo’s son – a dedicated sommelier and inspired host – cooks the fare in the back, flames shooting out of the grill on the cliff side, and serves the few informal tables barefoot.
The laid-back trattoria has been a favorite Positano landmark for more than 40 years. The items on the menu (and value prices) are the same, usually graced with freshly caught fish, mussels, delicious barbecued chicken, seafood pasta, or the curious house specialty: a slice of mozzarella grilled on a large wild lemon leaf.
Meals and conversations aren’t rushed. Patrons sit under the straw canopy on Adolfo’s wooden deck and enjoy Sergio’s totani con patate (stewed squid and potatoes), sip white wine with peaches and homemade limoncello until sundown. Mandatory breeze-laced naps can be taken on the beach or–my favorite spot–the flat inclined rocks to the far right, below Adolfo’s deck.
As the shuttle rocks and sways back to Positano in the setting sun, the shadow of the big red fish sign posted on the mast casts a benevolent shadow on sun-kissed shoulders and de-stressed foreheads.
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Getting to our favorite of the Amalfi Coast beaches
Laurito beach is 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the Positano intersection on the snaking main coastal road off the hamlet of Laurito. There’s a bus stop above the path that climbs down to the beach, but it’s a steep 10-minute descent (and consequently a 450-step hike back up) few are willing to negotiate.
Address: Spiaggia di Laurito, Positano, 84017
Tel. +39 089 875022
Closed: Closed October through April
* There is another venue in the same location, a bigger, more prominent building on the beach offering restaurant service–but you want to avoid that one (I fell victim to their food poisoning the one time I strayed). When boarding the free launch on the Positano pier, look for the boat with the big red fish on the mast, NOT the mermaid. The shuttle service works for its own restaurant and if you take the wrong boat, you’re expected to dine at the restaurant whose ride you took!
Images © Da Adolfo website