Cinque Terre’s Most Popular Hiking Path Reopens After Decade

Cinque Terre's

The famous Cinque Terre trail, Via dell’Amore, which follows the Ligurian shore, is now partly available to tourists. Since its initial excavation in the early 1930s, the 2,950-foot section has become a popular hiking destination in Italy. Landslides threatened the rugged “Lover’s Lane” (or “Path of Love”), so it was closed in 2012 for an intense rehabilitation effort. Tourists had to wait more than a decade to get their “love on,” and only last month, a 555-foot section of the route reopened.

During the trial period, about a fourth of Via dell’Amore (between Riomaggiore and Manarola) will be open to tourists for three months. (If the trial is successful, it will continue when the first term ends, so the rumour goes.) The Cinque Terre are five beachfront villages located along the Italian Riviera: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso, and this initiative aims to encourage sustainable tourism in all of them.

During the trial period, about a fourth of Via dell’Amore (between Riomaggiore and Manarola) will be open to tourists for three months. (If the trial is successful, it will continue when the first term ends, so the rumour goes.) The Cinque Terre are five beachfront villages located along the Italian Riviera: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso, and this initiative aims to encourage sustainable tourism in all of them.

How to Go to Cinque Terre's Reopened Via dell'Amore

Cinque Terre's

Via dell’Amore welcomed anybody and everyone until it closed in 2012. Booking a scheduled, 30-minute group trip on the Path of Love online now costs five euros (about US$5.50) per person. The trial trail will be open until September 30, 2023. It will be accessible throughout from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the morning and from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the evenings every day until September 3rd. During the trial phase, around 600 individuals each day can hike the path. This is because each reservation time slot will only accommodate up to 30 guests.

Visitors will spend the first half of the tour gazing out over the beautiful Ligurian Sea while learning about the history of the Via dell’Amore, from its creation following a railway development project to the current restoration efforts, a collaborative project with an estimated price tag of 21.9 million euros (US$24 million).

After completion of the repair work, the whole 2,950-foot section of Via dell’Amore will reopen in July 2024.

What tourists may look forward to on the new Via dell'Amore

The recently reopened section of Via dell’Amore provides a preview of the completely redesigned Lover’s Lane and coastal cliffside, with an emphasis on environmental compatibility, safety, and preservation. Rock experts flew roughly 28,000 square feet of steel mesh across the cliff cliffs above and below the road in January 2021. The seawall protecting the boardwalk from crashing seas will stretch 574 feet in length when finished. This became possible by the extension of an artificial tunnel that provides underground support for the path.

Along the rocks, more than 8,800 plants were reintroduced to improve the natural beauty. The new Via dell’Amore was built with colored concrete to match the natural settings. A geotechnical monitoring system tracks rock movement to avoid landslides.

The history of the Cinque Terre's Via dell'Amore and its rise to fame

The Sentiero Azzurro (blue path) is a 12.5-mile walking pathway that links all five towns and spans the whole Cinque Terre area from Riomaggiore to Monterosso, and the Via dell’Amore is a 6-mile segment of that trail.

The Via dell’Amore never intended to become a popular spot for tourists to take selfies and romantic walks. Until recently, the only way to access the 11th-century villages on the trail’s cliffs was via water and twisting paths. Before constructing the new railway that linked Vernazza, Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, and Manarola more quickly and conveniently in the 1930s, the Via dell’Amore did not exist.

The significance of preserving Italy's Cinque Terre area, a tourist hotspot.

Cinque Terre's

The five towns of Cinque Terre on Italy’s western coast have drawn hikers since before Rick Steves put them on his list of must-see sites in the late 1970s for their stunning sea views and challenging paths. With its pastel-coloured houses and picturesque vistas, the Via dell’Amore was the most popular and least strenuous of Cinque Terre’s more than 48 treks and walks. Journalist Paolo Monelli, on vacation in the 1950s, saw a rock inscribed with the words “Via dell’Amore,” forever naming the route “Via dell’Amore” and ensuring its popularity with tourists. Cinque Terre and Portovenere became UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997.

However, the sights of Cinque Terre aren’t the only attraction. The population of the five settlements is just approximately 4,000 people. But before the Via dell’Amore was closed, it was visited by more over 870,000 people per year. More than 2,450,000 tourists go to Cinque Terre each year. It’s hardly surprising that the reopening of the Via dell’Amore restricts the number of visitors, given the influx of tourists and rising worries about the impact of overtourism. In reality, the reopening of the route is a pilot project to encourage ecotourism over the whole Cinque Terre region.

Examples include:

  • Cinque Terre’s efforts to attract tourists with an emphasis on cultural history and environmental preservation by encouraging beach cleanups.
  • Professionally led responsible hikes.
  • Wine tourism.
  • Local artisan displays.

Attracting tourists away from the more crowded trails and spreading them out among the villages with various cultural activities benefits the locals, lessens the impact of foot traffic on the environment, and helps fund preservation projects of the very cliffs and paths every tourist wants to see.

The Cinque Terre National Park offers a Cinque Terre Card. This day permit grants entry to the park’s more than 70 nature trails, as well as its medieval villages and sanctuaries, for visitors who want to immerse themselves in the area’s natural beauty fully. It also provides guided excursions, including a “plogging” trek, which involves jogging while picking up trash as the latest cleanup and workout fad.

Each community encourages travellers to hike vineyards to learn about the almost vertical conditions, see castles, visit local art studios, and kayak along the shore. Finally, visiting Cinque Terre during the off-season is the greatest approach to assist with the crowd problem. Even though the UNESCO site (and its trails and communities) are accessible year-round, the best hiking weather is from November to February.

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