Walks along stunning and rugged coastline are a popular activity in Cinque Terre. Walking, along with atmospheric olive groves and beautiful countryside attract endless visitors to the Italian Riviera. No walk is more famous than the Via Dell Amore and unlike some other local walks, and unless this is your first foray off the sofa for a while, it is easy peesy, so nobody should miss out.
So, where is it? There are walks connecting each of the five villages in the area and some of them are more challenging than others, so it is important to make sure you get the right one. The Via Dell Amore is the coast-side walk between the villages of Riomagiorre and Manarola. We walked from South to North, so started at Riomaggiore. The Via Dell Amore is well sign-posted at each end, so is easy to find, whichever direction you choose to walk in.
|Padlocks on the Via Dell Amore|
The walkway itself is a wide, flat surface, so is even wheelchair and pushchair friendly. It really is a stress-free stroll of a walk, well, on a quiet day anyway. It is also a short walk, covering only about 900m and at a casual strolling pace, takes about 30mins to complete (depending how long you spend enjoying the views and taking photos) Mid way along the walk, there is a café offering drinks and snacks. There are sporadic benches, from which you can sit and stare at the sea, admire the pretty wildflowers and the little padlocks that people have fixed around the place. They are fixed all over the place and symbolise the love of the individuals who left them. Part of the walkway is covered over and some love-themed graffiti has been plastered over the walls. One saying “Matty & Pamy” made me raise my eyebrow at my boyfriend (called Matt) and ask “Oh yes, who’s Pamy then?”
The coastal walks have an interesting history. Explosives were used to blast tunnels through the rock when the railway linking the five villages to Genoa and La Spezia was being built. Whilst the work was going on there was a need to store the explosives away from the villages, so paths to storage spots were created along the seafront a safe distance from the villages. There is no trace of the explosives left now you’ll be pleased to know. Once the railway was completed the locals decided to use the path to join the two villages, which had previously had so little contact that they spoke different dialects of the Ligurian language, hard as that is to believe, given the little distances involved.
|Via Dell Amore's cafe and sign|
There is a fee to walk along the Via Dell Amore and it can be paid at either end of the walk. If you have bought a Cinque Terre card though (which provides access to all the local walks, museums, the aquarium and can also include trains or ferries) then access to the Via Dell Amore is included.