|Subject: Amalfi Area, Italy|
This, I think is difficult. The distances are really farther to
negotiate than you first think when looking at a map.
If you want a single place from which to day-trip, I would definitely NOT recommend using anyplace on the costiere amalfitan, including Positano. These towns are virtually isolated with only one very crowded and very slow road to get in and out. It also depends on your budget and your likes. If you really like beach / pool sitting then maybe Positano or better, Capri or Ischia (very popular with German-speaking people) is what you want.
When we were there a few years ago, we spent some time in Naples (and are dying to go back to this totally wonderful city) and then on to an agriturismo near Battapaglia. It was a perfect location for day- tripping to Pompei and Paestum, Sorento, the costiere, but won't give you much of a sun and sand feel. (If you want a link to the agriturismo, let me know. It has much to recommend it).
Here is a suggestion. Think about Sorento. The Grand Hotel there is one of the great treasures south of Rome ñ if your budget can handle it. There are many other fine places in this town which combines bustle and charm. The real benefit, is that you are where the ferries leave for Capri, Ischia and Naples ñ so you can get Naples too! It is an easy drive to the costiere ñ if easy can be applied to any drive on that coast. It is also easy to get to Pompei. Your only long day (but a must) is Paestem.
Oh, the ships don't go particualarly fast or slow. but the schedule will be working against you if you stay on the island. The last boats -- in either direction actually - are quite early --- in the 5:00pm range.