Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Climb to La Madonna de Montenero

As I mentioned earlier, there are many hiking routes between the Cinque Terre Villages, ranging in difficulty and length. If you go to the visitor's center near the train station, you can get a handy guide that outlines the numerous paths that you can take. One of the most recommended trails starts behind Riomaggiore and snakes its way up the hill to the sanctuary of Madonna de Montenero. The best part of this view is that you can see all the five villages of Cinque Terre.

We decided to do this hike on our first day, immediately after reaching Cinque Terre. The way up is an easy to moderate hike of about an hour. We started at the base of Riomaggiore, after stopping by a local grocer to grab sandwiches made of fresh baguette, prosciutto, and slices of cheese. Then, we walked up the main street until we reached the path from which the hike really begins. If you are at all confused about the way, just ask a local! From my experience, they were all friendly and knowledgeable.

The road turns into a tranquil trail that weaves between gardens and terraces with olive and grape vines.

The higher up we went, the denser the trees and brush, though there were still little farmhouses dotting the trail here and there. As we ascended, the other villages started coming into view in the hazy afternoon sunlight.

Finally we arrived at our destination, a peaceful sanctuary at the top of the mountain.

From this point, we could see all along the coastline, and we spent some time trying to spot and identify the other four villages.

It was such a beautiful place to see the sunset. We spent a while here before heading down, because we did not want to be making our way down the unlit paths after dark. I definitely recommend going on this hike. It's not too difficult, and the views are simply gorgeous.

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