A holiday in Levanto is perfect not only to fully enjoy the town, but also to explore the surroundings. If you have several days at your disposal, the Cinque Terre are a must for your holiday and in this series of posts we give you all the suggestions on trips, things to see and curiosities.
Coming from Levanto, Riomaggiore is the last of the Cinque Terre that meet. It is the southernmost and easternmost of the five and owes its name to Rivus Maior, a stream now covered.
It looks like a typical Ligurian sea village, with houses perched on steps, one attached to the other and overlooking the sea. In this post we tell you how to reach Riomaggiore from Levanto and what to see.
From Levanto to Riomaggiore: how to get there
By now you will have understood: all the villages of the Cinque Terre can be reached easily and inexpensively from Levanto by train. The train from Levanto to Riomaggiore takes between 12 and 21 minutes depending on whether it is direct or if it has intermediate stops in the other Cinque Terre countries. The trains are very frequent, almost fifty a day in high season, and in this post you will find the tables with the timetables. Trains from Riomaggiore travel on the Genoa-Pisa line.
It is possible to reach Riomaggiore from Levanto by boat. The Levanto – Riomaggiore section lasts an hour and a quarter and is obviously very attractive because it runs along all the Cinque Terre towns.
The bus between Levanto and Riomaggiore is not an option to consider. Once in Riomaggiore, however, you can take an urban bus that goes through the Castle of Riomaggiore and some buses that take you to the Telegrafo hill.
A taxi will cost you between 72 and 87 € from Levanto to Riomaggiore, while traveling by car is not recommended in high season due to very few parking spaces available.
From Levanto to Riomaggiore: what to see
The beauty of the landscape and the contrasts of colors between the houses perched on the sea, the blue of a thousand shades of water and the green of the hills have meant that the Cinque Terre were included by UNESCO in the list of World Heritage sites and Riomaggiore is not far behind.
Its origins are lost in the centuries and in the legend: it is said, in fact, that Riomaggiore arose from a settlement of a group of Greek fugitive refugees in the eighth century AD Originally born as a hill village, towards the year Thousand, with the seas protected by the Maritime Republic of Genoa, the agglomeration moved to the sea and the first historical information dates back to 1251. It was built, in addition to the tower houses, with intricate alleyways, stairs and small open spaces that served for escape more easily in case of attack from the sea. All the houses also have a double entrance, again for the same reason of escape: one on the sea and one facing the hills.
Among the places to mention when visiting Riomaggiore is the parish church of San Giovanni Battista in the part high in the historic center and dating back to 1340. The entire building was revisited in the nineteenth century and today it is in neo-Gothic style preserving, however, the fourteenth-century rose window in white Carrara marble and inside are preserved fine art objects.
In Riomaggiore there are also other religious buildings such as the Church of Sant’Antonio in the historic center and considered the oldest religious building in the village.
Another reference point in Riomaggiore is the castle which is also located in the upper part of the historic center. Built by the Marquis Turcotti in 1260 and brought to an end by the Genoese in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it was originally used for defensive purposes, then converted into a cemetery and today is a local municipal administration used as a conference hall and cultural center.
From the summit of the town of Riomaggiore there is also the so-called “Strada dei Santuari” which connects all the sanctuaries of the Cinque Terre. The one of Riomaggiore is the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Montenero, whose first documented records date back to 1335. After various renovations, today it has a plan with three naves and an 18th century fresco. It can be reached with a walk on a mule track and from the clearing in front of the church you can admire an exceptional panorama.
To make Riomaggiore famous it was certainly also one of the most beautiful scenic roads in the world, the Via dell’Amore, a pedestrian path very suggestive overlooking the sea. Unfortunately, at the moment the route is still closed due to serious landslides along the path.