Via Cristoforo Colombo, 30,
At first, it’s the view that fells you. Positano’s jaunty stack of houses and its iridescent church dome are so close you feel you could reach out and touch them. No wonder so many marriage proposals have been made here over the years. In the evening, the soft glow helps, cast by hundreds of suspended candles that take an hour to light in the evening and almost as long to extinguish. But musicians Franco and Andrea have to shoulder their share of the blame too, for making things so romantic. Their lilting guitar and mandolin melodies have melted many a heart. Any chef will tell you that stunning backdrops like this are a challenge. But for La Sponda’s executive chef Gennaro Russo, that view, that music, and what’s on the plate aren’t that different. All three are the result of centuries of patient symbiosis between man and the natural world. In a simple plate of pasta al pomodoro, a branzino grilled to perfection, or a Neapolitan babà dessert so light and fluffy you can cut it with the side of a fork lie stories of viscounts and peasants, fishermen, and princes, but also stories of rivers, forests and volcanoes, dry-stone wall terraces and patiently tilled kitchen gardens.