To discover this stretch of coast between sky and sea the best way is to follow the paths that wind along the coast or reach the sanctuaries that overlook each town.
Let’s start from Riomaggiore, the easternmost village. In the upper part of the town is the home of the painter Telemaco Signorini who painted these places several times in his canvases and, high up on the hill of Cericò, the ruins of the Castle. Climbing further you arrive at the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montenero from where, through a panoramic path, you can reach the medieval village of Volastra.
To reach Manarola it is a must to take the most famous path of the Cinque Terre, the “via dell ‘Amore”, built in the thirties of the last century. Being literally dug into the cliff about thirty meters from the sea, it represents the most original and interesting route from the landscape point, as well as the one most known and frequented by tourists. It is worth facing it at sunset to admire the panorama that offers what is called “the most beautiful walk in the world”.
The “Via delle Trasparenze marine” is the name of the road to Corniglia, a small town perched on a rocky promontory, a hundred meters high above the sea. A strategic position to admire, among the rocks and the vineyards, the other four villages of the Cinque Terre.
Another path that winds through dry stone walls and olive groves to reach Vernazza. The Torrione, the Doria Castle and the typical tower-houses that stand out among the olive groves herald our arrival in Vernazza.
“U cantu de musse” (the chatter’s corner) is the small square with an octagonal plan and the high bell tower that refer to Arab influences.
From Vernazza there are various paths that offer enchanting walks, one of these leads to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Reggio with its black Madonna which is said to have been brought here by the Crusaders.
The last stop is the village of Monterosso, the one to the west. Through the sentirto you skirt the terraces, where, among the dry stone walls, the wall lizard, one of the most common species here, takes refuge. We enter the Mediterranean scrub that occupies the now abandoned land. The vegetation is very varied, including holm oak, strawberry tree, mastic tree, heather, broom, juniper.
In the sixteenth century thirteen towers surrounded the village of Monterosso. Today the Aurora Tower, the Castle Tower and the Bell Tower remain. In the Convent and in the Church of San Francesco you can admire the works of Bernardo Strozzi, Van Dyck and Luca Cambiaso. But to let yourself be enchanted by the charm of Monterosso just stroll through the alleys of the old town.For sea lovers it is the ideal place for a break as here are the widest beaches and a crystal sea that frames this splendid nature artwork.
Above Monterosso, at an altitude of 418 meters above sea level, the sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Soviore, whose origins date back to the Romanesque period.