Riomaggiore is the easternmost village in the Cinque Terre, the first coming from La Spezia: for those coming from the Levant, it is the gateway to the discovery of an area studded with natural wonders, history and architecture.
To welcome you there is, suspended between the sea and the sky, perched on the rock, the village of Riomaggiore. An agglomeration of tower-houses overlooking the sea in pastel colors typical of the villages of Liguria and a labyrinth of alleys, stairways, alleys and hidden corners.
Riomaggiore dates back to the 7th century and thanks to its hidden and unique position it has preserved its authenticity over the centuries as well as the nature that surrounds it: an uncontaminated but shaped Mediterranean scrub, with stone terraces and dry stone walls, by the skilled hands of man .
Only in the nineteenth century the village was reached by the railway, which first connected it to the other villages of the Cinque Terre and then to the rest of Italy.
In the same period the great painter Telemaco Signorini, exponent of the artistic movement of the Macchiaioli, was fascinated by this place and tried to impress its beauty in his paintings.
Right from Riomaggiore begins the famous Via dell’amore which is considered one of the most romantic places in the world: it is said, in fact, that whoever kisses on the path, at the end of the Manarola , you will love each other forever.
In addition to the legend, the way of love is a unique place to visit calmly, observing the boats entering and leaving the port, breathing the pure air of the sea breeze and being lulled by the sound of the sea.
Where sleeping in Riomaggiore
In Riomaggiore there is a good choice of solutions where to stay overnight. Among the Cinque Terre villages it is certainly one of the most recommended to spend the night.
In the heart of the historic center there are, in addition to a couple of hotels, several guest houses, B & Bs and apartments for tourist use.
The village is very small and can be walked around in a few minutes and you don’t need to look at the map to find the ideal solution.
Virtually all properties are mid-range. The average price for an overnight stay is medium-high but the quality of the accommodation in terms of charm, comfort and cleanliness is very good.
How to get to Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore is easily accessible and the train is certainly the most practical and fastest way. The stop is on the Genoa-La Spezia line and trains run practically every 20 minutes, especially during the summer.
From La Spezia it takes about 8 minutes to get to Riomaggiore!
From the station, go through the tunnel that passes under the railway to reach the lower part of the village, the port area. Using the lift, however, you get to the upper part of Riomaggiore.
Riomaggiore can be reached by car quite easily. From the A12 motorway, exit at Santo Stefano di Magra following the signs for La Spezia, then Cinque Terre, Portovenere and finally take the provincial road to Riomaggiore.
For visitors and it is not possible to enter the village by car. There is, however, a large paid parking just outside the village. Or on the provincial road, about 3 km away, there are several free parking spaces.
The reason why the train is generally recommended is because, especially during the summer, it is very difficult to find parking.
Riomaggiore too, like the other Cinque Terre villages with the exception of Corniglia , can be reached by boat. A fun and suggestive option to admire the coast and the country with a breathtaking viewpoint.
Boats connecting Riomaggiore and the Cinque Terre, operating from April 1 to November 1, depart from La Spezia, Portovenere, Manarola, Levanto, and Portofino.
What to see in Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore is small, pretty but full of things to see within easy walking distance. To find your way around quickly, you can divide it into 3 areas: the old town, the marina and the station area where the Via dell’Amore begins.
The Riomaggiore Castle is probably one of the panoramic points that offer breathtaking views of the village and the sea. It is located, in fact, overlooking the sea on a peak a few minutes walk from the town center.
This ancient structure is also known as “Castellazzo di Cerricò” and dates back to 1260. It was built by the Turcotti marquises and then restored by the Genoese in the 15th century. The plan of the castle has a quadrangular shape and a wall with two squat circular towers.
Today it hosts cultural initiatives and is used for shows and events.
Next to the castle there is also the Oratory of San Rocco, built during the terrible plague of 1480, which preserves an interesting triptych of the Virgin with the Child and the saints.
Church of San Giovanni Battista
The Church of San Giovanni Battista is a historical place that is definitely worth a visit during your stay in Riomaggiore.
This basilica, dedicated to the patron saint of the village, is located in the upper part of the historic center and dates back to 1340.
It retains the two side doors of the original Gothic structure, the beautiful single lancet windows and the central rose window. Inside there are some very interesting works of art such as the wooden crucifix by Maragliano, the Preaching of the Baptist attributed to Domenico Fiasella and the marble pulpit of 1663.
Guardiola Tower of Riomaggiore
This place is so called because here there was an ancient fort used to guard the coasts and to defend against attacks by Saracen pirates.
Torre Guardiola is a corner of Riomaggiore from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view and where you can enjoy the lush surrounding nature.
Here, until 2010, the Environmental Education Center of the Cinque Terre National Park was located.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero
The Sanctuary of Riomaggiore stands on a hill above the village, 340 meters above sea level and can only be reached on foot.
Although perhaps not suitable for lazy travelers, the uphill walk is amply rewarded by the incredible view and peace that this place offers: from here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the coast and neighboring villages.
The sanctuary dates back to 1335, although popular legend tells of a much older place of worship that was hidden to protect it from invasions by the Lombards.
The municipality of Riomaggiore, in addition to its actual village, includes other hamlets and localities within its territory:
Manarola it is in the territory of the Municipality of Riomaggiore even if, to all intents and purposes, it is one of the famous Cinque Terre. It remains a little further west than Riomaggiore and is the second village of the Cinque Terre coming from La Spezia.
It is perhaps the most picturesque village, also composed of the characteristic perched and colorful tower-houses that overlook the sea.More information about Manarola
Groppo is the smallest town in the municipality of Riomaggiore. The local vine growers bring their grapes here to turn them into wine. This is where the Cinque Terre Agricultural Cooperative is based.
Volastra is one of the oldest villages in the Cinque Terre National Park. Its name means “Land of olive trees” and here it is possible to admire, in addition to the panorama, the classic Ligurian dry strips where olive trees and vines are grown.
Beaches of Riomaggiore
Fossola or Guardiola beach, in fact the only one that can be reached on foot, is located at the eastern end of the village.
After the station, go down to the marina and turn left, near the Cinque Terre ferry dock.
Following the only road next to the sheer cliff you reach this stony beach which is quite wide and very suggestive.
This beach has no facilities such as bars, restaurants or beach clubs. It only has a few fresh water showers. For this reason and for the fact that during storm surges it becomes a bit dangerous and not recommended for families with children.
Another beautiful beach, not reachable by land due to the state of the route, now very dangerous, is that of Canneto, between Punta Castagna and Punta del Cavo. It has the particularity of having a natural waterfall of fresh water that descends from the hill as if it were a natural shower.
ACCOMMODATION A RIOMAGGIORE
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