Relaxing at Bar Di Martino
Bar Di Martino
Via Pasitea, Positano
Once Upon A Time in Positano on the Amalfi Coast not so long ago there was the Bar Di Martino on the curve of Punta Reginella with one of the most scenic panoramas this village of breathtaking panoramas has to offer. Breakfast-lunch-cocktails and late night gatherings brought together visitors from around the world and local residents in a perennially festive mood to see and be seen. To discuss and argue and create new friendships and appointments for the day and the weeks ahead.
I first started gong to Positano way back in the Summer of 1985. I was in my early 20s, working
at the venerable old Italian joint “John’s of East 12th Street” and my boss Nick and his wife Valentina had been there and raved of the place. Valentina said, “I had to go. It’s gorgeous.” I was about to take a trip to Italy, to Rome, Venice, to visit my high school friend JoAnna in Florence, and now Positano. I would also go meet up with some friends in Barcelona, run into my friend Lisa there, and go to Blanes on the Costa Brava as well. In-between Spain and making my way to Venice, I made a stop at The French Riviera to Monaco and staying in Nice where I had a brief affair with a beautiful French girl Chantel.
After my first foray of several trips to Venice, I mad my way down to Positano. Back then, there was no internet, and though they had travel guide books and I had my Frommer’s Guide to Europe on $25 a Day, the amount of info you could get back then as compared to these days, was a dismal fraction of present day travel info. So o that first trip, I took a train from Rome to Naples, which took 3 hours. Then I took the Circumvesuviana that goes from Naples to Sorrento, but someone told me to get off the train at Meta, which I did, and for me to catch a bus in Meta to take me right into Positano, and so I did.
So I hopped on the Blue Sita Bus in Meta and I was on my final leg to Positano. Once on that bus I would be treated to the most beautiful ride of my life. The bus drove from Meta to Positano along the famed Amalfi Drive (Divina Strada). The rode clings to the side of cliffs that soar high above the sea 1,000 feet below. It’s absolutely beautiful, and quite dramatic. That first trip I shall never forget.
A few thousand feet away, you catch your first glimpse of the enchanting little town on the Amalfi Coast, the town of Positano which literally springs up out of the sea, with hotels and white and pastel colored homes that seemed to be stacked on-on-top-of-the-other. Jasmine trees fill the air with their fragrant scent as thousands of bright purple Bougainvillea plants disperse their gorgeous color, along with all sorts of varied shades of flowers that only enhance an already gorgeous setting. So when I first saw this beautiful town springing up out of the Tyrrhenian Sea, I was mesmerized. I’d never seen anything so stunning.
By the time the bus dropped me off in front of the Bar International, I was already in Love. I grabbed my bags and went into the bar. I needed an Espresso and a little something to eat. I also needed to use the bathroom and wash up a bit. I went into the bathroom and this was one of the first of so many things in Positano that struck me. Something little, but it struck me nevertheless, and as you can see, I still remember and talk about it to this day, some 35 years on. What is it, you ask? I walked into the bathroom and can see that the bar and bathroom were quite literally built into the mountain. The mountain was in the bathroom, or vice versa. The wall was quite literally the rock of the mountain. Not rock that was placed there, but it was the mountain, and this building was built into the solid rock of the mountain and was the most inner wall of the building (Bar International). When a went to Bar Di Martino the next day, I would relieved that that building, as well as the restaurant Da Vincenzo was built into the mountain as well, and in the lower dining room at Da Vincenzo, the back wall of the restaurant is the mountain itself.
Yes, I fell in love with Positano in an instant, “Love at 1st sight,” as they saw. and I no matter that the town has been overrun by way too many tourist for a small town, Positano I still love, I guess mainly for the reason that I was a young man making my first explorations of Italy, Europe, Positano, and the gorgeous Amalfi Coast.
As I’ve just said, one of my explorations was going into the cute little Bar Di Martino which was close to my pensione Villa Maria Antonietta, where I stayed my first year in Positano (1985) on the advice of my friend, the poet Rene Ricard who wrote me a letter of introduction to Signora Carmen, the owner of the little pensione. It was a nice little place, affordable, and in a good location right in the center of Positano, and so I spent 4 nights there in the Summer of 1985. The next year (1986) I made a great discovery in coming across Casa Albertina, a lovely hotel right behind Da Vincenzo and Bar Di Martino, and I have been staying at this wonderful hotel ever since.
When I went back to Positano the following year, and I was scouting around for a hotel, I walked into the front door of Casa Albertina, where Lorenzo was sitting behind the desk, and greeted me with a friendly hello. When I inquired about the availability of rooms, I guess Lorenzo could see I was just a young man, and probably didn’t have a lot of money to spend so he gave me what he called “a Special Young Persons Price,” which was $79 and quite a good deal for the quality of this lovely hotel, which is one of my favorites in the entire world, and for anyone looking for a nice place to stay in Positano, I highly recommend to stay there, and so I did, in 1986, again in 1987, and in 2015.
Wow, really got off the main subject of what I wanted to talk about, Bar Di Martino. When I started going to Positano in 1985, Bar di Martino was just a small little town bar that served coffee (espresso / cappuccino) all day long, as well as Cornetto, Campari, Negroni’s, local wine, beer, sandwiches, and the normal things that you’d find a thousands of little local bars all over Italy. Bar Di Martino was a small bar, with not a lot of space inside, but they had tables outside along the outer wall of the bar, as well as tables on terrace on the other side of the street (Via Pasitea) opposite the bar, where I’d go for a Campari after a day at the beach, and before I went back to Casa Albertina to take a late afternoon nap. I got to know the family, the two girls Betty DeMartino and her sister.
The one very cool thing about Bar DiMartino was that it was the cool place for those in-the-know to go to for evening cocktails and just the best place to hang out at at night, after dinner at your chosen restaurant of the evening, Bar DiMartino was the place to go. Lorenzo introduced me to the Di Martino’s and to other people around town. It was my good fortune to walk into Casa Albertino and meet Lorenzo way back in 1986.
Italian Cookbook Author Daniel Bellino “Z”
At Bar DiMartino
The AMALFI COAST COOKBOOK
At Da VINCENZO’S
At CASA ALBERTINA
HOTEL CASA ALBERTINA
A 10-minute walk from a sandy beach in Positano, Hotel Casa Albertina features a terrace with views of the sea and a bar. Including free Wi-Fi, the property is only 10 miles from Amalfi.
Featuring a flat-screen TV, minibar and telephone, the air-conditioned rooms have a private bathroom. They include free towels and free linens. Some have a balcony or a terrace.
Guests at Casa Albertina Hotel can enjoy a continental breakfast buffet. On request, a cooked breakfast is also available. Two restaurants are within 300 feet of the property.
ANYWHERE iN POSITANO
The AMALFI COAST / WORLDWIDE