We start with Riomaggiore, the village located on the east side of Cinque Terre.
The name of the village came from a local creek Rio Maggiore (Rivus Major). Characteristics of Riomaggiore are the tower houses built in typical, Ligurian style. The village has also a small harbour. Next, to it, you can find two small, public beaches.
How to reach Riomaggiore?
- by car – you should take provincial road SP 32 from La Spezia. After 15 minutes ride and after the second tunnel you have to turn right and follow the signs to Riomaggiore. In the village, the most of the parking places are reserved for the residents. When all the parking places are full the entrance to Riomaggiore can be closed. However, there is a possibility to leave a car out of the village centre and take an electric bus
- by train – a railway station is located in a very centre of the village. Trains run very often. More details here and on: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
- by ferry :
a) From Gulf of Poets (La Spezia, Portovenere, Lerici) http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/en
b) From Gulf of Tigullio (Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure, Chiavari, Lavagna, Sestri Levante) http://traghettiportofino.it/en/
c) From Genoa http://www.liguriaviamare.it/mare/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=115&Itemid=90&lang=it
According to the legend, the village was founded in the 7th century by a group of Greek refugees. In Middle Ages was ruled by Fieschi Family. In 1276, as well as, other villages of Cinque Terre became a part of Republic of Genoa.
Things to see & do
Riomaggiore is quite small. All shops, restaurants, diving centre, etc. are located on the main street of the village, via Colombo. From there you can go to a railway station, beaches or a ferry station and visit three churches or a castle of Riomaggiore.
When you are in the front of the harbour, on your right you can take the stairs of via Salita Castello and follow the signs to the Riomaggiore Castle.
Castello Riomaggiore (Riomaggiore Castle)
The first structure that was located on the hill was built in 1260 for Marquis Turcotti. Then became the property of count Fieschi. After that was taken as a part of the Republic of Genoa. During that period the construction of the castle was completed. In XVIII and XIX century, the whole area was filled with the ground and became a cemetery. At the end of the XX century, the castle was renovated and became a local cultural centre. It is worth visiting because of the fantastic panoramic view on the Riomaggiore that you can admire from the hill.
Via dell’Amore (Lovers Line)
It is the tourist path that connects Riomaggiore with Manarola. It is the most famous part of the Sentiero Azzurro (the path along the coast that connects all five villages of the Cinque Terre). Via dell’Amore it’s an easy 20-minute stroll along the waterfront. It offers beautiful, breathless views on the Cinque Terre shore. Absolutely you should visit it …. however …. in September 2011 a rockslide closed the Via dell’Amore. During that slide, four Australian tourists were injured. After that incident, the path was closed for the tourist. Since that day some works were done and now only a little part from Manarola is reopened. From Riomaggiore, the path is closed for the tourists. It is expected that the whole path will be reopened in 2021…
Riomaggiore is a very touristic place so you can find a wide choice of restaurants where you can taste different dishes.
I suggest you very nice street food: Frittura di pesce. It is a mix of fried fish and seafood. It is very cheap and delicious. There is only local fish (Cinque Terre are fishermen villages 😉 I recommend it, even if frittura is not only Ligurian dish. It is a national meal which you can find in all regions of Italy. However, if you want to eat something quickly, frittura is a perfect solution. What is more, in via Colombo there are a lot of friggerie (the shops where frittura is made), where you can buy it.
As a typical dishes from Riomaggiore, you should try :
• torta di riso salata (salted cake made from rise) which you can find especially during the feast of the patron of Riomaggiore, San Giovanni Battista (John the Baptist)
• minestra di campo (vegetable soup) made of potatoes, olive oil and wild herbs which grow in the vineyards
• ravioli (little noodles stuffed with meat or herbs)
• stocafisso (stockfish; it is unsalted cod, dried by cold air and wind)
• acciughe salate (salted anchovies)
• cozze ripiene (mussels in breadcrumbs and baked in an oven)
That’s really an embarrassment of riches … 😉 and we are just at the very beginning of Cinque Terre!
No matter If you ate or not … depends on you …. we continue our trip through the Cinque Terre … next, stop MANAROLA!