I was thinking a lot if to write about this place. I was wondering that maybe if I publish it hundreds of thousands of tourists start heading there and it won’t be a magical place anymore … But after that, I thought that my blog doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of followers (yet 😉 )What is more, the place is not secret at all and it is quite easy to reach. So I thought that I won’t destroy its magical atmosphere with this post. Moreover, maybe I can help the tourists that visit Cinque Terre to find a calm place where to find a rest from the crowds that visit Cinque Terre every day.
The place that I have in my mind is Capuchin church and monastery in Monterosso. About Monterosso and how to arrive there, I wrote here. However, today I would like to describe this particular place. It hasn’t got only artistic and historical values but also offers fantastic views and incredible and almost mystic sensations.
In 1618 the government of Monterosso (!) donated to Capuchin monks the terrain of the S. Cristoforo hill. It is the hill that divides Monterosso in two, the old and the newest part. The monastery was active till 1811 when it was closed by Napoleonic ordinance. After the Napoleon fall, the monastery was reopened but only for 50 years when it was closed again by Savoy laws. After the unification of Italy, it was reopened again and functioned til 90’s of the XX century. It that period because of the lack of new monks the monastery was closed again! However, fortunately in 2006, the new monks arrived and now it is open again also for tourists.
S. Cristoforo Hill
The monastery is built on the hill that divides Monterosso into two parts. In the past, the hill hosted a castle of Monterosso. Nowadays you can see the rests of the castle like the tower Torre Aurora, that nowadays is a private house and restaurant.
The rise of the hill is not very difficult or steep. However, you need about 10 minutes to climb and get to the top of the hill. I think that this is the secret of the magical and special atmosphere of this place. Majority of the tourists that visit Cinque Terre have only a one day to see them all. That’s why they simply don’t have time to climb the also that hill and add the monastery to their visit. As a result, it is one of the less crowded places in whole Cinque Terre (!!!) even in high season.
Before the monastery entrance, you can turn left where you find a fantastic panoramic point. From here you can admire a beautiful view of the Ligurian sea and Aurora Tower.
Monastery of Capuchin
Normally, the monastery is closed for the tourists. However, more or less once a month it is possible to visit it with a tour guide. What is more, you can also contact the monastery and book a tour on a date that you prefer. Additionally, it is also possible to stay there on a spiritual retreat. More info here.
Saint Francis Church
The church is always opened. Every day from the sunset to sunrise. Inside the church, you can admire numerous paintings from the XVII century. However, the most important painting present in the church is the “Crucifixion” made by Flemish painter Antoon Van Dyck (!). The church is always very tranquil and there are a few tourists. The magical atmosphere increases also thanks to the Georgian choir that is audible from the part of the church hidden behind the main altar. Really incredible… All these things make the place peaceful and relaxing.
Definitely, I recommend you to see it! You will love it!