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.