The train from Turin arrived at La Spezia more or less on time but with the end of day crowds at the station I didn’t quite have enough time to catch the connection back one stop to Riomaggiore but this gave me time to visit the Cinque Terre office and pick up a map and find out about the coastal trails. The next train to Riomaggiore got me there in time to check in and enjoy the sunset from the terrace of my room.
The following day, knowing the Via dell’Amore from Riomaggiore to Manarola was closed due to a rock fall, I was planning a train trip to Vernazza to do the hike along the coast to Monterosso, but I had the morning free to explore Riomaggiore a bit further.
I headed up to the castle with a pretty white church next door, passing the Town Hall on the way with its impressive maritime mural below the steps leading up to the front door, which was worth closer inspection with lots of interesting details to photograph.
The route up to the castle overlooked the town, with impressive views over rooftops backlit by the morning sun, a great spot to linger and catch your breath after the climb up the hill before descending through colourful alleyways down to the harbour.
The narrow streets and lots of steps mean that Riomaggiore is mostly traffic free, with just a few service vehicles coming down the main street, so it’s a great place to explore on foot. Down at the harbour I peered back up at the brightly coloured houses tumbling down the hillside.
By this time it was getting close to my train departure for Vernazza, so I headed back up the steps toward town and through the pedestrian tunnel to the railway station. I just had time to walk on the first part of the Via dell’Amore up to a viewpoint over the sea and the locked gate at the start of the closed section to Manarola before catching the train.
For more information on the Cinque Terre national park including hiking trail status see the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre website.
For more images see my Riomaggiore set on flickr.