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Riomaggiore, Italy

Riomaggiore, ItalyRiomaggiore is a village and commune in the province of La Spezia, lying in a small valley in the Liguria region of Italy. It is the first of the Cinque Terre one meets when travelling north from La Spezia.

The village, dating from the early thirteenth century, is known for its historic character and the great wine produced by the town's vineyards.

Riomaggiore is in the Riviera di Levante region. It has a shoreline on the Mediterranean's Gulf of Genoa, with a small beach and a wharf framed by tower houses. Riomaggiore's main street is Via Colombo, where numerous restaurants, bars, and shops can be found.

The Via dell'Amore is a path connecting Riomaggiore to its frazione Manarola, also part of the Cinque Terre.

Riomaggiore is the most southern village of the five Cinque Terre, all connected by a trail. The water surrounding it and mountainside have been declared national parks.

Riomaggiore inspired paintings by Telemaco Signorini (1835–1901), one of the artists of the Macchiaioli group.

Riomaggiore railway station is on the Genoa–Pisa railway. It is served by trains run by Trenitalia, including services from La Spezia Centrale. Inside of Riomaggiore, all major attractions are walkable for tourists.

In popular culture, Riomaggiore was featured in the 2014 driving video game Forza Horizon 2. The village was not featured as the central location but was referenced on various road signs.

Riomaggiore, ItalyRiomaggiore and other Cinque Terre towns were the inspiration for the fictional Portorosso in the 2021 animated film Luca.

The emergence of Riomaggiore was only in 1251, when the inhabitants of the district of Carpena, scattered halfway up the coast, swore allegiance to the Republic of Genoa.

Between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the inhabitants of these settlements decided to go down to the sea and give life to the country.

A shift that was favored by the consolidation of the Genoese dominion that allowed a quieter access to the sea on which to develop fast and safe trade.

Riomaggiore boasts monuments of great interest, including San Giovanni Battista, a church built in 1340 including three naves with the central double compared to the lateral ones (like the other churches of the Cinque Terre).

And the Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta which houses a fifteenth-century triptych and a wooden statue from the fourteenth century depicting the Madonna. Also important is the Castle that dominates the historic center.

Riomaggiore is in the Riviera di Levante region and has shoreline on the Mediterranean’s Gulf of Genoa, with a small beach and a wharf framed by tower houses. Riomaggiore has one or two roads where people go and hang out, but most of the life at night can be found at the Bar Centrale.

The Via dell’Amore is a path connecting Riomaggiore to its frazione Manarola, also part of the Cinque Terre.

Riomaggiore, ItalyRiomaggiore is the most southern village of the five Cinque Terre, all connected by trail. The water and mountainside have been declared national parks. Riomaggiore is a wonderful example of the classic method of construction used by the Genovese.

Its municipality also includes the nearby Manarola, is the first of the Cinque Terre that you meet coming from La Spezia, and the fifth for all those who see the world starting from Genoa.

Here you will find out what it looks like, its beach, and what to see and how to get there. Without forgetting the hotels where to sleep and many other curiosities that make a holiday unique and unmissable in the presence of its rainbow-colored facades.

Step by step, going down the main street that stretches towards the sea, you are rushed into a country where everything has a sugary and tasty taste. Well-ordered stairways and squares, a pedestrian center, many shops where you can buy the best of local production: wine, anchovies, lemon jams.

Walking through Riomaggiore is walking through one of the most beautiful villages in Italy - once down the railway underpass, past this last barrier, the amazement becomes wonder and only when the sea appears the magic of Riomaggiore can be said to be truly complete.

The buildings are crushed in the water. The boys sit on the wall and wait for the sunset while sipping an aperitif. The painters sit next to them and give breath to the tempera. The waves set the pace and everything else is music for the eyes and the ears.

Thebeach of Riomaggioreis a hymn to stubbornness. A desire to look at all costs for a corner for a dip, a piece of land where to leave the human condition to transform, just for a moment into mermaids and mermaids.

Riomaggiore, ItalyOn this beach, in fact, the only thing is to find contact with the sea, immediately get into the water. To bask in the sun, then, there will always be plenty of time to do it in Monterosso.

The village as such has nothing but two stones that lap the first houses. It is more a landing place to put boats in the water than anything else.

To find a real beach you have to go around the eastern rock, pass the marina, and hidden by a high cliff, there it is, our stony object of desire.

The beach of Riomaggiore, in fact, has no sand. Since it is all stones, and not even small (starting from a diameter of a tennis ball and up), it is certainly not suitable for small children.

For all the others, for the same reason, rock shoes are absolutely advised. Last warning, there are no toilets and the showers work "alternating summer". When to go there?

The beach of Riomaggiore becomes more beautiful at sunset - at that moment, the sun looks you straight in the face, without intermediaries and with a full spectrum of colors. A "snapshot" of the evening that you will hardly forget!

Riomaggiore is all "to see", indeed not only her, even the mountain villages of Groppo and Volastra, which no one ever mentions, but they could easily bring to seven the number of the Cinque Terre.

Riomaggiore, ItalyRiomaggiore is itself a gigantic monument, to be discovered corner after corner, alley after alley, alley after alley. It must be taken calmly, without haste, without expectations.

It must be imagined, it must be unearthed from the drawers of our memory, from the generations that preceded us and that have been able to weave this web of walls, windows, houses and people together.

Among the monuments proper, the main role is perhaps the Castle of Riomaggiore, with its cylindrical tower and the base made of still mighty walls.

Next to it is the Oratory of San Rocco: it was built to say thank you to the end of the plague epidemic of 1480. By the way, we know something about it in these years.

Then there is the Church of San Lorenzo, important because it is she who is dedicated to the Saint of the village, and continuing the roundup of places where to leave a prayer for having had the good fortune to visit Riomaggiore, theChurch of San Giovanni Battista.

Impossible not to appreciate his central rose window in Carrara marble, the wooden crucifix by Maragliano that, if he were not there, otherwise we are not in Liguria, and the beautiful churchyard - actually one of the most harmonious squares in the country.

Few, usually, stop to get to know the Parish of Our Lady of Health, because it is located slightly outside the center of Riomaggiore, more precisely in Borgo Vittoria. It dates back to 1240 and the time dedicated to it will certainly not be wasted.

The most spectacular church in Riomaggiore, however, is located far from Riomaggiore, indeed, well above Riomaggiore. We are talking about the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Montenero, about 350 meters high, and let's say about 45 minutes of paths and ladders all uphill.

It is also the first stop of the hiking itinerary that leads to Portovenere, and the view, well, what we write to do.

Riomaggiore, ItalyFrom here you can see all the Cinque Terre from a bird's eye view, you get to Punta Mesco, the clear mornings appear the islands of Tuscany and Corsica.

Unmissable, despite the effort that will be required to achieve it. By the way, it is better to avoid the hottest hours, even if part of the route takes place inside the woods.

What a great idea it is to choose a hotel in Riomaggiore! Because it is one thing to visit it during the day, together with the others, to stop and make small purchases of typical products in its boutiques, or an anchovy lunch in its inns.

Another is to wait for the evening, when the others leave, and the lights start to shine from the windows, and the yellow colors of the street lamps make the colorful world of Riomaggiore even more orange.

Many old apartments have been rented and made B&B's, and we have selected only the most characteristic, those where Andrea and Katerina would stop to sleep. Indeed, where they did it on their weekends in the Cinque Terre.

The Via dell'Amoreis the most famous stretch of the Cinque Terre trail of all, perhaps also because it is the easiest and most immediate, with no climb and always paved - creating a real walk on the sea unique in the world.

It connects Riomaggiore to Manarola in just 1 kilometer of absolute magic. But the fragility of the Ligurian territory has played a bad joke: since 2012, it has been closed to the public due to a landslide, and only a few hundred meters remain passable near the two villages - better on the Manarola side.

Currently Riomaggiore is working on the execution of the project and if things go well, the ability to move once again on foot between Riomaggiore and Manarola along the 'Road of Love' is set for 2023.

Riomaggiore, ItalyThere are two main ways to move between Riomaggiore and Portovenere: the ferry and the path. They couldn't be more philosophically distant, and yet they constantly look into each other's eyes.

From the boat, comfortably seated, the eye watches this magical stretch of coast flow away, and from the path, the eye is always turned to the sea and you follow with amused the wakes of the boats, 600 meters below, and that make you guess the position of the destination in the path.

It goes without saying that they are complementary: the ideal is in fact to walk the outward journey, and relive the adventure comfortably seated on the way back, towards the parking lot, or towards the train station that will take you home.

The path between Portovenere and Riomaggiore, one of what Americans might call "the most beautiful trail in the world", is a one-day hike. It is about 15 kilometers long and with a difference in elevation of almost 700 meters.

The trail is perfectly signposted and at regular intervals you will find bars and rest points. Halfway there and not to be missed, is also the delightful village of Campiglia, where you can take the bus to La Spezia, in case you are too tired to complete the entire route.

The intrepid, however, can continue even in stages lasting several days, and in that case, it is highly recommended to reach the mythical village of the octopus, Tellaro, just on the opposite side from Portovenere in the Gulf of Poets.

For the most part, the path between Riomaggiore and Portovenere runs sideways between the Mediterranean scrub and the sea below. It's never dizzying, but there are a couple of slightly exposed points, avoidable with a small detour.

The first part, between Riomaggiore and the Telegraph Hill, among vineyards and panoramic sanctuaries, is almost moving.

Riomaggiore, ItalyFinding parking spaces in Riomaggiore is not trivial. Indeed, very often - it is almost impossible! So, no one would ever tire of advising you to try to get here by train or ferry, or at most by bus from La Spezia.

But anyway, especially out of season, you can reach the village by car and in this case, the town has space to leave the car in the last kilometer before arriving in the village, whose entrance is still closed by a bar. Beware of the ZTL, many of these places are the prerogative of the locals.

To find parking in Riomaggiore, then, there is another solution and it is to park in the covered parking at the beginning of the village. It too is easy to run out of places, but it is still a choice to take into consideration before moving away from the pedestrian streets that will be the destination of your day.

There are numerous options to get to Riomaggiore: so isolated over the centuries, but so accessible - or almost - nowadays.

To get to Riomaggiore by car, you simply have to take the provincial road 370 for about 15 kilometers. In less than half an hour, you will have reached your destination.

To getto Riomaggiore by train, as almost everyone will do - just get off at its station, carved into the rock right in the heart of the historic center of the country.

Riomaggiore is the stop immediately next (or earlier, depending on where you arrive) than La Spezia - it's not even a 10-minute journey. In Riomaggiore not all trains stop, on the contrary: only the locals and the Cinque Terre Express stop which we will talk about shortly.

Precisely for this reason, anyone who wants to get to Riomaggiore by train from Genoa, Milan, Turin, Pisa, Pisa, Florence, Rome and all the other big cities that we have forgotten, will have to change convoy in La Spezia, or sometimes, in Sestri Levante.

The Cinque Terre Express is the local Trenitalia train that runs between La Spezia and Levanto, and makes all the stops. In order, the train stops in Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso, and of course, Levanto.

Riomaggiore, ItalyIt is a spectacular service because the frequencies are also every 15 minutes during high season, the cost is € 4, which allows you to use it to visit all the Cinque Terre easily in a single day.

In addition to the Cinque Terre Express, you can get to Riomaggiore by train even without changing directly from Genoa.

But, in this case prepare a snack, a book, good music and maybe a conversation companion, because the fast regional that makes all the stops takes about 1 hour and a half to reach Riomaggiore from Genoa Brignole.

The other way to get to Riomaggiore is by ferry. There are many boats that stop in Riomaggiore, most of them on the route Portovenere (sometimes also La Spezia) -Monterosso – Levanto.

It is a seasonal service, from March to November - managed from June to September, then, you can get to Riomaggiore by ferry also from Genoa and Versilia (Viareggio, and Marina di Massa and Marina di Carrara) and with some cases, also from the beautiful Moneglia and Deiva Marina.

Riomaggiore is a community of almost 1500 souls, with a cultural life and many things to do through-out the year. The main events in Riomaggiore, however, are traditionally linked to religious holidays and the dates to mark on the calendar to visit it with even more sacred passion are three.

It starts with the feast of the Madonna del Montenero, usually on the second weekend of June. On June 24, then, it is the turn of the procession in honor of St. John the Baptist while in August, it will be the time to celebrate the Confraternity of the Assumption, on the increasingly important day of the summer.

Perhaps this is also why we like Riomaggiore so much: its original settlers speak Greek, or so it is said. It was in fact Greek refugees, fleeing from the persecutions of Leo the Third the Iconoclast, who first found shelter among these rocks that are so beautifully arranged to meet the sea.

Riomaggiore, ItalyThen came the years when the dominion of this stretch of sea was the matter of Genoa or Pisa, and Riomaggiore, immediately, proved to be Ligurian and swore loyalty to the Lantern.

The stability that Genoa gave to these lands was repaid with commercial development, but above all with the exploitation of the territory.

In these years, and we are talking about before the Renaissance, about 1300, we are witnessing the first, heroic, viticulture. The sciacchetrà became, already at the time, an export product that made the happiness of the cellars of the most important European courts.

The rest of the history of Riomaggiore, then, continues to follow that of the Republic of Genoa. First Napoleon, then the Kingdom of Sardinia, then the Kingdom of Italy and today the Italian Republic.

What better idea is there to visit the Cinque Terre than to take advantage of the boat rental service in Riomaggiore? There are multiple operators that offer the possibility of renting boats for half a day or a full day, depending on the budget available.

Usually, you can choose between rafts and kayaks. The former, depending on the number of passengers they can carry, cost from 500 to 800 throughout the day, while the cost of canoeing or kayaking is around €15 per hour, even less for longer rentals.

In a small way, thinking of Riomaggiore, the torment of a lifetime is repeated. First, the burden of having to answer the classic question "what is the most beautiful Greek island?" followed by the most beautiful place in Liguria?

Riomaggiore, ItalyWill Riomaggiore be the most beautiful of the Cinque Terre? Possibly. Surely, it is the most impressive, once you are down at the marina and you feel crushed by the country, it seems that the towers and palaces of Riomaggiore fall on you and the world seems to end there, in that patch of sea that houses two boats and a winch to put them out into the sea.

How to answer with certainty, because everything bewitches you in this piece called Liguria. What is certain is that along that concrete promenade that leads to the pier, and to the only beach, Riomaggiore seems unique and unrepeatable.

Its red facades like raspberries, the main street that looks like a river of colors and people, will never cease to fascinate anyone who witnesses it.


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