Italy Off The Beaten Path: Riomaggiore

Posted by ToursItaly on March 21, 2014

Spring is in the air in Europe -  that time of renewal and rebirth that always seems so much more romantic than winter. And where else to go on holiday to enjoy the transition to summer but Italy, one of the top romantic vacation destinations in the world?

When booking Italy vacations this spring, consider including Florence Tours in your itinerary. Across Italy you will encounter a storied history, fine art, excellent cuisine, and fine wine, but in Florence you can visit a renowned network of trails along the spectacular Cinque Terre coastline.

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If you are booking Italy vacation packages as a honeymoon, anniversary trip, or babymoon getaway before embarking on parenthood, including a tour to Cinque Terre is definitely worthy of consideration because it is as romantic as it sounds. The five villages of Cinque Terre are considered so significant, the villages and a protected marine area were declared a World Historic site by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

Via dell’ Amore (Pathway of Love) is part of what began as early as the 15th Century as a humble network of footpaths overlooking the Mediterranean. By the 1920s Via dell’ Amore became more of a trail than a footpath as a byproduct of sorts from railway construction in the area. Once it connected the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola more reliably, the lonely hearted in the two villages had more opportunities to find love.

Unfortunately, nature often thwarted amorous pedestrians with mudslides and rockfalls that rendered the Via dell’ Amore impassable in its early days. The Second World War was another interruption, but not too long after the war sweethearts found their way back to the Via dell’ Amore and there was even a marriage performed there in 1949.

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Today visitors to the charming historical villages of Cinque Terre can rest assured that the Via dell’ Amore is carefully monitored for safety. Some of the arcades are now lined with brickwork and firmly anchored steel nets guard the lover’s lane from rockfall, debris, and landslides. After mudslides in 2013, it was closed and is expected to reopen sometime this year. The other trails are open and updates on trail conditions are posted here.  

When the Via dell’ Amore is open once again, visitors will see that in contrast to the terraced cliffs, olive groves, and vineyards that create a symphony of natural beauty along this stretch of coastline, graffiti declarations of love and even clusters of padlocks under the tunnel on the Manarola side decorate the lover’s lane. This is where past meets present, fiction meets reality, and you can retrace stories of love through the evidence left for all to see. Many visitors are inspired to add their own declarations of love along the route as well.  

The padlocks are inspired by a wildly popular Italian young adult novel by Federico Moccia called Ho Voglia di Te (I Want You). In his bestselling romance a young couple attaches a padlock to the Milvian Bridge in Rome, throwing away the key as a symbol of their eternal love.

Copycats have flocked to do the same on the Milvian Bridge of course, but officials worried about the Roman bridge have since banned it. It continues here along the Via dell’ Amore as it does in Paris and other locations around the world now that French and Spanish translations of the book have been published.

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Remember the allure of the Via dell’ Amore because Riomaggiore, the first of the five Cinque Terre fishing villages, is so breathtakingly beautiful and interesting it is difficult to tear yourself away. It is the ideal place to daydream, wander with your sweetheart, and relax while you soak in the view.

As pretty at night as it is in the day, Riomaggiore’s colourful homes and shops cluster cheerfully together on the rocky cliffs, climbing their way up to overlook the endless blue of the Mediterranean.

When you book Avventure Bellissime’s Small Group Cinque Terre Trip from Florence  you’ll visit the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, and Corniglia with an expert guide who shares the wonders and secrets of this coastline at a relaxed pace.

Ready for an adventure off the beaten path in Cinque Terre? Visit Avventure Bellissime online now to book one of our  Florence tours for an unforgettable Italian vacation.



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