It took several trips to Positano before I could look past the obvious beauty of the town's colorful houses, busy shops, aromatic flowers, pristine beaches and sparkling blue sea to see some of its less obvious and most interesting elements, like the guard towers. These towers are not only historic finds, they are also vacation villas.
The guard towers were built as look-out points to warn against Saracen pirate (Muslim invaders) attacks. When pirates were spotted at sea, the guards would light a fire on the top of the tower to alert the villagers. The people's only defense was to run to the hills.
One of the more famous towers is the Tower of Sponda, constructed in the 13th century and located in the higher part of town overlooking the main beach. When it was taken out of service in 1798, it was made a private home. Today, it is enjoyed by those who can afford the price of its panoramic views, private terraces and beautiful gardens.
Take the pathway from the main beach to find the next tower, La Trasita. This 14th-century tower was purchased in 1950 and turned into apartment rentals. If the view from each apartment is not enough, you can always respite on its circular rooftop terrace.
The third tower is Fornillo, also referred to as the Tower of Positano. This 13th-century tower was largely in ruins when a famous artist/architect restored it in 1927 and made it his home. Today, the villa is available for rent and is made up of three different parts: La Torre (a 4-level, 3-bedroom apartment), Le Sirene (a 3-bedroom apartment) and Porticato (a 3-bedroom apartment and a beautiful dining terrace). All have stupendous views, private descent to a sunny beach and a 7-day-a-week cook!
Prices are not cheap, then again, luxury never is!
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