Most Italian beaches are not free. Sadly, if you want to sunbathe in the sandiest, sunniest part of the beach, you'll probably have to pay a couple of Euro for the privilege.
Beaches in the Amalfi Coast are divided with orange ropes to separate the free side from the private side. For about 5-10 Euro you can rent a lounge chair on the private side.
Anytime you find yourself in a foreign country where you aren't quite fluent in the local language, and the locals can't quite understand you......a bright friendly smile always becomes the universal language. This is very much true in Positano. The locals there are so warm and friendly and always greet you with their pearly whites. Ladies.....as is the "norm" in all of Italy......the men in Positano adore women. At times, they may come off slightly agressive in their mannerisms, but a gentle reminder and a warm glance will quickly calm the savage beast. We had no problems mingling with the friendly locals there who are quick to make friends with the tourists. They enjoy being in their town just as much as we do!
From Positano it is quite easy to take daytrip to Pompeiji. The bus will take about one hour from Positano to Sorrento, where train takes about half hour to Positano. Train goes hourly; just timing your bus back to Positano.
I am impressed by the way you are treated in eating establishments in Italy. No matter how busy the place is, they will not bring you your check/bill until you ask for it. At one restaurant (Chez Black in Positano) there were people standing outside waiting for tables and still we had to ask for the bill. This never happens in the US!! I like that!
Also, most restaurants try to be very accommodating when you're looking for something that might not be on the menu. I was really in the mood for prosciutto and reggiano parmesano for lunch one day, but it was not on the menu. I asked the waiter if it would be possible to get that and he said 'sure, no problem'. He brought it out and it was fantastic. Don't be afraid to ask, unless you get a REAL sourpuss!! But in general, the waiters in Italy are much more pleasant than the waiters we ran into in Spain :-)
Also, as far as tipping is concerned, we normally tip 15 to 20% here in the States and I usually feel like giving Italian waiters the same because they are usually so accommodating. Maybe this is why they seemed to like us so much!!! :-) BUT, I'm told that the normal tip is 5-10%....you do what you want to do.