In Liguria is one of the most colorful and photographed places in all of Italy – Cinque Terre! The area captivates tourists with its unique nature and small villages, creating color around the blue-green landscape! It’s time to walk through them and we’ll start with Riomaggiore!
Where is located?
Riomaggiore is the southernmost village in Cinque Terre and also known as the “first” of the 5. The distance to Genoa is 120 km, and to La Spezia only 15 km. It is in La Spezia that it is the best option for a base camp at relatively decent prices. The trains in the national park are literally in a few minutes and the transport is easy and arranged. I will tell you more about how to plan your time and how to travel between Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore read in Let’s plan – Cinque Terre 🙂
From the Station to the Center
Riomaggiore Station is located outside the central part and from it starts the Blue Path (Sentiero Azzurro), which connects the 5 villages. The section from Riomaggiore to Manarola is the most beautiful and is called the Path of Love (Via dell’Amore), but unfortunately it was badly damaged by landslides and was closed.
Passing through a pedestrian tunnel, in negative time we find ourselves under Piazza Vignaioli! And while enjoying the colorful mosaics on the walls, we come to a sign that puts us in front of a difficult choice – to the main street Via Colombo or to the port?
The port of Riomaggiore
The choice was made very quickly, because the most magnetic part of Riomaggiore is the port and we can’t wait to see it! The village is informally divided into two parts – fishing (borgo dei pescatori) and agricultural (borgo dei contadini). The fishing one is from Piazza Vignoli to the Port, while the agricultural one is up the narrow streets in the hills.
We take the stairs… following the aroma of fresh fish floating in the air and the lively high-pitched conversations so typical of Italians. Many boats are parked on the narrow streets and in some places it is almost impossible to pass with other tourists… The local population has always subsisted on fishing and this hasn‘t changed much to this day.
Looking up, we see up close the colorful houses built on the uneven slopes. Riomaggiore was first mentioned in the 13th century, when its founders moved from the interior and built three and four-storey glued houses, with two entrances – front and rear. The idea was to be able to escape through the back entrance in enemy attacks, like Portofino.
The most beautiful view in Riomaggiore
To the left of the port there are some stairs that will take us to the most beautiful view in Riomaggiore! From here the contrast between the sheer cliffs and the pastel houses is most evident. Thinking that until the 60’s these heavenly places were unknown to the world… You may have to wait a while until you get a chance to take a picture, but it’s worth it!
In search of more views
I liked another place that turned out to be a little difficult to find… We went back to the spacious Piazza Vignaioli, which is used mainly by local kids for a football field! Above it rises a building that impresses with its painted facade. It is the work of an Italian-Argentinean artist, Silvio Benedetto, who draws inspiration from local farmers.
And now where? We walk up the steps of houses, small paths ending at someone’s front door… in general it is a real labyrinth of narrow streets! „Carruggio“ is the name of the small alleys typical of Cinque Terre and Liguria. The narrow houses largely prevent the sun from penetrating them and turn them into a very good cool part during the summer months. And yet… from the square to the desired view took us only 6-7 minutes steep climb… It would have been a perfect workout if we hadn’t left Riomaggiore for the final. Yep, we left the first village for sunset and the orange colors are already starting to show in the sky…
From here you can see the castle, which rises on the opposite hill and today is used mainly for various events. The place is located right at the end of Via di Loca, where there are several benches for relaxation and enjoyment. And the crowds of people are missing… The place is HERE.
To Via Colombo
The advantage of the option to go up to this view and from here to go to Via Colombo, is that only a descent follows! We go through the whole Via di Loca, which reveals a few more nice views of the opposite hills…
And right at the end of the street we see a very colorful staircase … we have reached Via Colombo! Bathed in many colorful trees, hanging flowers from the facades of pastel houses and of course… the hung out clothes of the locals! What a view… A walk along the main street of Riomaggiore is a real pleasure! Interestingly, its name comes from the river that still flows under via Colombo – Rivus Maior.
Numerous shops, restaurants and fast food restaurants contribute to the pleasant atmosphere. The abundance of shops for fishing goods and diving equipment, which is very popular here, is also impressive. Also noisy bars, which are announced by young visitors until late.
Dinner with a view
You will not stay hungry here, that’s clear! But Riomaggiore has a place for very tasty “street” seafood – Il Pescato Cucinato. Fresh and very tasty fried fish at a decent price and in generous portions! One cone costs about 5-7 euro! From here to the port are only a few minutes, in which you clench your teeth frantically and don’t eat from the fragrant funnel, so you can sit on the rocks and fully enjoy dinner! The sound of the waves crashing into the sheer cliffs, fresh fish and the lights of Riomaggiore… Perfect end of the day!