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From Spiaggia Grande you can board a scheduled day boat or hire a private one for as long as you'd like, to visit Capri, the Emerald Grotto in Conca dei Marini, or coves and inlets with small beaches. Close by, in the large caves of La Porta (650 feet east of the town center), Mezzogiorno and Erica, tools, utensils, and hunting weapons from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic ages have been discovered, the oldest known remains on the coast. The favorite boating destinations, however, are the rocky Li Galli islets (6 km [4 miles] southwest), seen from any point in Positano (as they are from the beaches of the peninsula), whose name derives from their importance in Greek mythology—resembling pecking birds, the islands were said to be the home of the sirens, part human, part feathered. Originally the site of an ancient Roman anchorage, the islands then became medieval fiefdoms of Emperor Frederick II and King Robert of Anjou. The isles remain tempting enough to lure purchasers in search of an exclusive paradise: Russian choreographer Leonide Massine in 1925, and, in 1988, dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who discovered the islands in 1984 when he came to accept the Positano Prize for the Art of Dancing, given each year in honor of Massine. The islands now belong to a Sorrento hotelier, who also purchased the renowned Villa Treville (www.villatreville.it), formerly owned by the famed film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli. This is a pricey destination, though. The suite named for Zeffirelli runs €5,500 per night in high season, and even a "budget" room costs €1,250.
Cassiopea. Boating excursions can also be organized through Cassiopea, which also rents motorboats and Zodiacs by the hour. Spiaggia Grande, Positano, 84017. 089/8123484 home; 339/1115538 mobile. www.cassiopea-positano.com.
L'Uomo e il Mare. Brothers Gennaro (whose wife is English) and Salvatore Capraro conduct boating excursions along the Amalfi Coast. Rides cost from €90 per person, including lunch onboard, less if you skip the meal. Spiaggia Grande pier, Positano, 84017. 089/811613 or 368/455818. 089/875475. www.gennaroesalvatore.it.