Riomaggiore (7 minutes by train from La Spezia) is the first village that you will reach coming from La Spezia. This village is situated in a marvellous valley planted with vines.
Riomaggiore owes its fame to the painter Telemaco Signorini from Florence, who from 1860 onwards stayed several times in Riomaggiore, and who painted in several pictures the village's characteristics.
Its name comes from "Rivus Major" the brook ("rio") which flows through a deep winding gully down to a small beach.
Riomaggiore is the most eastern of the 5 Terre; from the sea, it penetrates into the valley having the same name, with its houses ranged and dominated by the remains of an ancient Castle of the 14th century.
The terraces covered with a lot of flowers, the narrow slopes and the stony flight of the steps are appreciated by the visitors who like the simplest and most natural views.
The sea trip from La Spezia takes us past the "Red Rocks" and the solitary Feral island, to Riomaggiore immortalized in the paintings of Telemaco Signorini, which is the first of the first of the Cinque Terre to reveal its unspoilt charm.
It is told that Riomaggiore was founded by Greek refugees escaping from Leone III Isaurico's persecutions.
He was the Emperor of Byzantinum and it is possible that some Greeks arrived and stopped here.
The first documents, those which make history by true, belong to 1250 and confirm that Riomaggiore at that time was under the Genoese Republic.
The parish Church San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist ) Built in the XIV century. You can admire its beautiful pulpit with the parapet formed by an altar-piece coming from the ancient Church of S. Martino and representing the Saint.
The medieval castle:It is situated on the hill Cerricò. The Castle, which was recently restored, belongs to 1260. Here you can also find the old cemetery. From the Castle you can admire the Village of Monterosso.
"La Via dell'Amore" ("Way of love" or "Love's path") Path number 2 (The Blue Path), From Riomaggiore to Manarola: Trip time: 25 minutes
The "Via dell'Amore" ("Way of love" or "Love's path") is the promenade which links Riomaggiore to Manarola. It is very evocative because it is sunken in the rocks falling sheer to the sea. This path is already known and indicated as "The Blue Path".
From the Railway Station of Riomaggiore, walk till a small square. Turn right, you will see a tunnel which leads you towards the center of the village, the port and the beach. Turn on the left, you will find the stairs going go up to the famous "Via dell'Amore".
The "Via dell'Amore", the "Way of love", that in 20-25 minutes of fantastic walk leads from Riomaggiore to Manarola. It was carved into the rock at the beginning of the 1900 following the acrobatic path of the quarrymen who built the railway from La Spezia to Genova.
For a short section the "Via dell'Amore" acts as roof for the railway which runs inside the tunnel.
Its panoramic large windows face an interesting botanic garden.
You can find the welcoming and information points of the national park at both of its ends, and along its course the tourists can find restoration in the suggestive "Love's bar" which is literally projected over the cliff.
In the Welcoming Centres one can buy the tickets which authorize the entrance to the whole Path n. 2, the use of the ecologycal little buses of the Park and the lifts.
At the end of the "Via dell'Amore", going downstairs, you will arrive at the railway station of Manarola
To the Madonna of Montenero
From Riomaggiore to the Telegrafo /Via Lemmen. Path number 3
It is an historical mule track of Riomaggiore which connects Riomaggiore to its Marian Sanctuary and, more above to the Telegraph pass.
The path (path n° 3) starts from Riomaggiore and goes up along the "Rio Majior". A nice pavement between the dry walls of the vineyards on the left. You arrive at an old stone bridge and at a fork. At the fork turn right going up a nice flight of steps.
After an hours' walk following a muke-track and climbing up a flight of steps, you can reach the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary of Montenero was built at the time of the immigration from Grece (8th century), but reconstructed in the 15 th century.
Behind, you can see the area of Biassa, from where the whole extension of the Cinque Terre can be admired.
From the Sancuary of Montenero you can follow the path n°3 as far as Telegrafo, where you can take on your right the path N°1 (From Portovenere to Levanto)