In the Ligurian town of La Spezia, the first seaside village you come across, Riomaggiore which is the eastern gateway to the world-famous, UNESCO-inscribed Cinque Terre. The town goes up along the ridges overlooking the sea and it’s marked from the standard stone houses with colored façades and slate-roofs. This circular trail of 3.5 km begins and ends in Riomaggiore, making its high to the eleventh century Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero. The church alone is usually shut to tourists, but luckily what you’re really coming up here for is the spectacular views out over the vineyards, the sea, and the villages below – you are blessed enough to be up here for golden hour, and it had been just beautiful.
Riomaggiore was founded in the 8th century by some Greek refugee fleeing victimization in Byzantium. From a historical point of view, the original nucleus of the village dates back to the 13th century, when the inhabitants of the neighboring settlements descended from the hills in place to exploit the natural resources of the sea. The state-of-the-art village was built in a valley betwixt two steep hills and named after “Rivus Major”, the stream that still flows underneath Riomaggiore’s main street. Prime families in the history of the village were the Turcottis and the Fieschis, who ruled over Riomaggiore until 1276 when Nicolò Fieschi sold it to the Genoese. Like the other four Cinque Terre villages – Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, and Manarola – Riomaggiore grew under the Republic of Genoa and experienced a development which was largely agricultural. The village’s wines – produced from grapes that are still stretched in the surrounding vineyards – became famous all over Europe. Eventually in the 19th century, the building of the railway between Genoa and La Spezia allowed the residents to escape the historic isolation, but also issue the abandonment of traditional activities. Today, the main fount of income for the inhabitants is tourism.
In Riomaggiore starts the Lover’s Lane i.e., Via dell’Amore, a glorious path known for the romantic atmosphere and amazing landscapes. It leads to Manarola and it takes 20 min walking. Several trekking routes are prepared to connect the towns. The distances are not long, but if you finally plan to follow these routes you should be prepared to hike mountain paths that require more time than simple smooth roads. To warm up you can endeavor Via Dell’Amore, the Love Walk which connects Riomaggiore and Manarola.