Of all the villages in the Cinque Terre, Monterosso is the first one you will encounter if you arrive from Genoa and the last one coming from La Spezia. In short, the one to the west.
Of all five it is certainly the most accessible country, because it is surrounded by a sweeter and easily accessible territory. For those unfamiliar with the Cinque Terre, an excellent idea could be to take advantage of Monterosso as a strategic starting point to discover the other villages. Or, maybe, leave it for last to enjoy a few days of tanning and relaxing holidays on the beach.
Precisely this simplicity of access has made Monterosso the most populous town in the Cinque Terre and also the one with a wider range of clubs, bars and restaurants.
Some consider it the liveliest and most renowned of the five. Surely the writer Eugenio Montale, who spent his childhood and many summers of his life here, wanted to celebrate the beauty of Monterosso’s nature in many of his works.
But how is Monterosso made?
Monterosso is made up of an ancient part and a more modern part, connected together by a tunnel. Along the coast of the new part there is a beautiful and very popular sandy beach, the beach of Fegina.
Then of course the colorful tower-houses, the alleys, the views and the luxuriant nature make Monterosso a fascinating village that deserves a visit at least once in a lifetime.
What to see in Monterosso
Although in Monterosso the beach life is very pleasant and dinner in a restaurant by the sea is absolutely unmissable, it is worth spending half a day discovering the historic center, among the alleys, discovering authentic views and the most interesting monuments.
Church of San Giovanni Battista
One of Monterosso’s most fascinating historical gems is undoubtedly the Church of St. John the Baptist. Located in the heart of the town’s historic center, this church is a bastion of spirituality and art that has fascinated visitors for centuries with its impressive architecture and great historical value.
Erected in the 13th century in the Ligurian-Gothic style, the Church of St. John the Baptist is particularly noted for its black-and-white striped facade, a common feature in Ligurian religious architecture. Carrara marble stripes and slate chips create a wonderful visual effect of contrast, making this church easily recognizable.
The entrance to the church is surmounted by a beautiful marble rose window dating back to the 14th century. On the right side of the church stands a square bell tower that dates back to the time of the temple’s original construction.
The interior of the church, with a single nave, preserves important works of art. These include a 17th-century wooden crucifix and a valuable 16th-century altarpiece depicting the Madonna and Child with Saints by painter Andrea Semino.
The Giant Statue
Also known as “The Giant” or “Neptune,” the Statue of the Giant is one of Monterosso’s most fascinating and mysterious symbols. This marvelous piece of architecture, representing the sea god Neptune, dominates the cliffs of Fegina Inlet, the most modern part of the village.
Built in the early 20th century, the statue was created by architect Francesco Levacher and sculptor Arrigo Minerbi. Initially thought of as a structural support for the terrace of the villa above, the Giant statue is over 14 meters tall and weighs about 170 tons. Neptune, with his trident and a giant shell, was once adorned with a dancing terrace used as a social place for parties and receptions.
Unfortunately, over time, the statue has suffered significant damage from wartime events and the weather. During World War II, bombing reduced it partially to ruins, causing Neptune to lose both arms, his trident and the giant shell he held on his shoulder. Despite this, the statue remains one of the most fascinating and photographed points of interest in Monterosso.
Today, Il Gigante represents an emblem of the unique charm of the Cinque Terre, a must-see destination for anyone visiting the picturesque Ligurian village. With his gaze turned toward the endless sea, Neptune continues to reign majestically, a symbol of a glorious past and a silent witness to the passage of time.
Traffic light of Punta Mesco
Tucked away in the spectacular natural setting of the Cinque Terre Park is the Punta Mesco Traffic Light. This isolated structure stands on the tip of Capo Mesco, the promontory that closes the Cinque Terre bay to the west.
The semaphore was built in 1917 by the Italian Navy for the purpose of controlling maritime traffic on the Genoa-La Spezia route.
Before the era of advanced technology, the semaphore was used to transmit visual signals (flag signals during the day, light signals at night) to ships passing through the Mesco Strait.
The Traffic Light remained in operation until 1976. Since then, the structure has been abandoned, becoming a refuge for trekkers who venture along the path leading to the Mesco headland.
Despite being in a state of neglect, the Punta Mesco Semaphore is a place that offers one of the most beautiful views in Liguria. From here, it is possible to admire a breathtaking view of the entire arc of the Cinque Terre, with the view stretching from the village of Monterosso to the tip of Portovenere.
A visit to the Punta Mesco Semaphore is a must for lovers of nature, history and hiking. The path to reach it is surrounded by greenery and surrounded by typical Mediterranean flowers and plants. With any luck, it is also possible to spot the sea eagle, which nests in the cliffs below.
The Castle and Torre Aurora
Located in the picturesque setting of the Ligurian village, The Castle and Torre Aurora represent important historical resources of Monterosso. These well-preserved monuments carry with them centuries of history and fascinating secrets.
Also known as Fieschi Castle, Monterosso Castle dates back to the 13th century. This small medieval castle was the seat of the powerful Fieschi family, one of the most influential families in Liguria at that time. Despite its small size, the castle played a key role in protecting the village from pirate attacks.
The castle is built on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea and offers a panoramic view of the entire village and the coast. Today, although private, it remains a point of historical interest in Monterosso, and its silhouette characterizes the village’s skyline.
Further along the coast, you will find the Aurora Tower. This watchtower built in the 16th century served as part of Monterosso’s defensive fortifications. The tower is named after Aurora, the goddess of dawn, a choice inspired by its prime location overlooking the east that allows sunrise views of the sea.
Unlike the castle, the Aurora Tower is accessible to the public. A famous restaurant is located on the lower floor, while the upper part is open for tours. From its top, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Cinque Terre Bay and the surrounding hills.
Convent of the Capuchin friars
At the highest part of Monterosso, overlooking the Ligurian Sea, is a quiet refuge of history and spirituality: the Convent of the Capuchin Friars. Dating back to the 17th century, this convent represents an important piece of religious history in the area.
Both the interior and exterior of the Convent reflect the simplicity and humility of the Capuchin Friars. The structure is basic and collected, built of local stone. Next to the convent is the small church dedicated to St. Francis, also built of stone, with a small single nave dominated by a simple but graceful altar.
Inside the convent and church are various works of art. Perhaps the most significant is a painted cross attributed to Van Dyke. Other works include oil paintings and sculptures from various periods, as well as various ancient manuscripts kept in their library.
The Convent of the Capuchin Friars is surrounded by a small garden, where the friars grew plants and fruit trees. The garden is an idyllic, serene and quiet place that also offers a panoramic view of the town of Monterosso and the sea. Sometimes, friars can be seen tending the garden, picking fruit or meditating.
The Capuchin Friars of the friary carry out multiple activities for the local community. These include religious services, prayers, spiritual retreats, and volunteer activities. Sometimes, they also organize guided tours and lectures on the history of the convent and the surrounding area.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Soviore
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Soviore is a place of prayer rich in history and spirituality, located in a natural setting of rare beauty in the territory of Monterosso, Cinque Terre. Dating back to at least the 11th century, it is considered one of the oldest Marian shrines in Liguria.
Surrounded by lush vegetation, the Sanctuary of Soviore stands on a hill overlooking the town of Monterosso. Although its origins date back to the 11th century, the building has undergone various renovations and extensions over time. The interior consists of a single nave, with period frescoes decorating the walls and ceiling.
The shrine is dedicated to the worship of Our Lady, specifically Our Lady of Soviore. According to legend, the image of Our Lady was miraculously found in a tree trunk, and has been venerated there ever since. The original painting (a Madonna and Child) is displayed on the main altar and boasts great devotion from pilgrims.
The shrine also offers overnight accommodations for pilgrims, having rooms and a small restaurant serving traditional Ligurian dishes, prepared with simple but flavorful ingredients from the region.
Among the surviving villas there is the “yellowish pagoda”, the one where Eugenio Montale, the future Nobel Prize for literature, who came here on vacation since childhood, stayed. Since 2015 there has been a literary park dedicated to the great poet: for now it is more virtual than real, but from time to time it is possible to follow the organized excursions to find the passage of Montale, to intuit the corners and views that inspired him, to listen the readings of his verses.
Monterosso, one of the five picturesque villages of Cinque Terre in Liguria, is famous for its beaches, the most extensive of all the villages. Offering a unique combination of natural beauty and convenience, the beaches of Monterosso are an ideal destination for those seeking a high-quality beach experience.
Fegina Beach is the largest and best known beach in Monterosso. It is located in the new part of the town, easily accessible from the train station. This sandy beach is popular with tourists and locals alike because of its ample space and available facilities, such as sunbeds, umbrellas, and cabanas. Also located here is the famous statue of the Giant, a 14-meter concrete sculpture depicting Neptune, god of the sea.
Old Town Beach
The Old Town Beach, which stretches in front of the old part of the village, is another popular option. This beach features a combination of sand and pebbles and offers breathtaking views of the old town and castle. Although less well equipped than Fegina Beach, it is especially loved for its authentic atmosphere.
The beaches end where the walk towards Manarola begins, the famous “ Blue Path “, which then between Manarola and Riomaggiore is known as the” Via dell’Amore.
For those who prefer a more private beach, there are numerous small coves along the coast around Monterosso. Some of these can only be reached by sea, thus ensuring a quieter and more private bathing experience. Remember to bring everything you need, as these beaches usually do not offer services.
Whether you are looking for a comfortable, fully equipped beach for a relaxing day in the sun, or a quiet corner of the coast where you can enjoy the sea in peace, the beaches of Monterosso have something to offer everyone. With their crystal clear waters and breathtaking views, they form a true paradise for sea lovers.
Where sleeping in Monterosso
In Monterosso you will find the widest choice of solutions where to stay overnight including apartments, B&Bs and a few mid-range hotels: Hotels in Monterosso
You can choose between the Fegina area, for those who intend to spend a lot of time on the beach, or the historic center area which has a much more romantic atmosphere.
Many accommodations offer splendid sea views, while others are tucked away in quieter corners of the village. If you prefer a more authentic experience, there are also numerous apartment rental options, ideal if you plan a longer stay or are traveling in a group.
As in all Cinque Terre the prices for accommodation are not cheap and the solutions with the best value for money are snapped up. Here, too, the advice is to plan your holiday in time and book as soon as possible!
How to get to Monterosso
As with all Cinque Terre villages, the most convenient and economical way to reach Monterosso is by train. Monterosso station is located in the new part of the city and is on the Genoa-La Spezia line where trains run practically every 20 minutes, especially during the summer season where the trains of the 5Terre Express line also take service. From the station you can reach the center of Monterosso in about 10 minutes on foot or by city bus which runs quite often.
If you instead opt to drive to get to Monterosso, the best way is to take the A12 highway, exit at Carrodano and follow for Levanto. Once there continue following the signs for Monterosso.
This route is different from the Cinque Terre provincial coastal road that you take to reach the other villages. Even if it is slightly longer, you will avoid demanding curves and complicated points to go through.
There are not many car parks in Monterosso but they are in the center. The best are the Loreto car park, in the historical part and the Fegina car park in the modern part, both for a fee 24 hours a day.
Localities in the surroundings
ACCOMMODATION A MONTEROSSO
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