Cinque Terre: Is The Via dell’Amore Open?

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Bad news first – no, the Sentiero dell’Amore is not currently open. And according to locals it doesn’t seem like a lot of effort is being put into securing the trail for public access.
But now that you know, let’s take a step back and see what we’re talking about and what alternatives you have.

First of all, if you found yourself looking for exciting and stunning trails and footpaths to walk down during your trip to Liguria, the Cinque Terre area is exactly what you need.
It is a portion of the coastal area of Liguria and it spans the Italian Riviera from just West of La Spezia and across five villages. The towns, coastline and surrounding hills are part of the Cinque Terre National Park and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the incredible landscape made of steep cliffs and terraced zones is subject to the elements and is affected by seasonal torrential rains and the consequent floods and mudslides. These events have caused several problems when it comes to the trails that line the Cinque Terre (the most notable example being the subject of this article, the Sentiero dell’Amore), so be careful to check weather alerts (“allerta meteo” in Italian) for dangerous weather conditions, and double check online or with local guides to make sure the trail and footpaths of your choice are currently safe and open to the public.
Of course, while you’re visiting the Cinque Terre, you can’t miss out on the other opportunities unique of this territory, such as local cuisine. You can enjoy great seafood dishes and wines made from locally sourced and produced grapes, and many other dishes and snacks. Try out authentic pesto pasta, focaccia and farinata!

To get back to the topic at hand, let’s see what options are available along the Cinque Terre as far as hiking goes. Don’t worry, there’s plenty to do and see for walkers and hikers both travelling solo, in groups, or with their significant other.

 

What Exactly Is The Sentiero dell’Amore?

The Sentiero has been closed off to the public ever since a landslide back in 2012. Before the rockfall hit, this particular trail was famous for being the most romantic hike one could possibly do in the Cinque Terre area.
The trail is more of a paved path, like a long terrace overlooking the sea, and easy access for the disabled was available to allow everyone to enjoy the Sentiero. The landslide made it impossible to gain access to the trail, save for a short section that can be reached from Manarola, so anyone looking to walk along the Cinque Terre will have to look for alternatives.

Is It Currently Open?

As mentioned, no. The Sentiero dell’Amore is closed off, and any access to the other trails and footpaths depends on weather conditions, due to the region’s periodic floods and landslides that can always block passage to walkers and tourists. The National Park and local authorities will block access and close paths (most often only for a few days) for safety reasons when heavy rains are expected.

The Problems The Trail Is Facing

Since the region has to face periodical heavy rains, due to the area’s climate and the peculiar shape of the territory, with cliffs and rocky formations, the authorities have to face several occurrences of accidents and damage to the paths along the Cinque Terre. The copious amount of tourists visiting the area and enjoying the activities and establishments in the villages along the area’s trails ensure a steady income that is used to maintain the structures and footpaths, but the severe damage caused in 2012 to the Sentiero dell’Amore still hasn’t been repaired.
One of the main problems in the area remains the landslide between Manarola and Corniglia, that has already caused the trail’s closure during the past year. Local accommodation and business owners maintain some of the trails, as volunteers.
You can easily by-pass the problematic section by enjoying a beautiful walk leading through the hamlet of Volastra.

Here Are Some Alternatives

There are plenty of beautiful, picturesque and romantic trails that you can walk for a fantastically immersive experience in the Cinque Terre, so be sure to check the Park’s official website for info. Some trails are recommended for expert hikers, as they can be quite steep and challenging, but if you’re being accompanied by a tour guide most of the alternative paths to the Sentiero dell’Amore will be completely manageable.
Before the inauguration of the Sentiero dell’Amore, directly coasting the sea with a paved path, locals had been walking the upper path from Riomaggiore to Manarola. This is a trekking trail with steep steps that can pose some challenge when wet because of recent rains, so caution is advised and proper gear is recommended.

The Beauty of the Five Lands: Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre which means five lands is on the brink of Italian Riviera. It is named after the five small towns of Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso and Riomaggiore. It has out of the ordinary scenes that are very architectural and filled with lively colors. These villages are connected by old steps and different hiking trails. Accommodation booking should done early especially during summer.

Cinque Terre
Stunning villages – The cinque Terre – Source

Monterosso the largest of them all is among the most scenic towns in Italy. It is located on the Ligurian Sea and is the point of departure for 12km hiking path used by adventurers that runs down the Coast of Cinque Terre. This village features various tourist attractions like a cathedral, castle and a sandy beach with a magnificent footpath. One can board a ferry that connects this town to the other four towns.

Corniglia, the smallest of Cinque Terre villages is located in the center of the five villages. It is not adjacent to the sea like the others but is about 100metres high on a cape. Three sides of this town are surrounded by terraces and vineyards while the part that goes down sharply to the sea is the fourth side. You can reach this village by climbing the Lardarina if you love climbing. It has the narrow roads and a terrace through which the other four villages can be seen with two on one side and the other two on the other.

Manarola built at the mouth of river Volastra has very steep narrow alleyways that lead you to the waterfront. It is considered to be the quietest village of all the five and is known for producing olive oil and wine. The distinctive terraces with vines can be viewed from the hilltop. Wine lovers can make a stop at the small museum that is devoted to wine. It has a tiny harbor with blue water formed by a terraced boardwalk. Sit at the piazza if you want to enjoy the atmosphere and have some great seafood.

Riomaggiore the first of the Five Lands lies between two steep hills is characterized by constricted tower-houses. If you want to go to the little beach of Fossola then you can use a set stairs on the south side. Bird watching can be done at botanical gardens of Torre Guardiola. On the lower part is the old castle of Riomaggiore where one can enjoy stunning sights over the sea. The Lovers’ Walk path is a well covered shoreline trail that has stone benches set on the side of the cliff along the way.

Among all the five towns Vernazza is the only one that has a port. It is considered to be the most beautiful Cinque Terre village. It is surrounded by sharp terraced olive groves and a complex layout. While here you can visit Belforte Castle, the cylindrical tower, go hiking through the north-west trail that is 3.5km and you will have to purchase a Cinque Terre Card to access it. At the end of the paths is the open space of haven with a flowing spring. This town can be accessed by local commuter trains. This will enable you to ride alongside cliffs which overlook olive trees and turquoise waters.

Food Experiences near the Cinque Terre.

If you are interested in a food experience around the Cinque Terre you should also check this page about fishing tours in Camogli. For hiking tours in Cinque Terre you can also check out sister site.