Tag Archives: Sanctuary Trail

On the sanctuary trail in the Cinque Terre

14 Oct


We arrived home Friday, and I am finally getting around to the last part of our trip report.

Our last full day, Thursday, we went back to the high trails, this time from Riomaggiore to the Santuario della Madonna di Montenero, one of five religious sanctuaries linked to the five villages. It is possible to hike between all five, although it is a very long hike.  We chose a hike to a magnificent vista that stretched from Monterosso al Mare to the north to Portovenere in the south. Breathtaking!

Also breathtaking was the  1,110 foot climb. Some people apparently had no idea what they were in for. On what planet is it OK for a woman of 60+ to open her shirt to cool off while hiking? Thank God she was wearing a bra. (That was a rhetorical question. The answer to “on what planet” is Germany.)

While the day was partly cloudy and rain threatened, it did not start to rain until we were done hiking for the day. Torrential rains in the afternoon must have made the locals fear a repeat of last October’s flood. Luckily, by nightfall it was  dry and we enjoyed another fabulous Ligurian meal overlooking the harbor at Manarola. We might have to come back next year….

The way up is far steeper than this looks. Many many stairs created and maintained by volunteers.

All along the trail, the “Via Grande,” were shrines to the Madonna, donated by various families. The “Via Grande” is described as “an ancient road.” These footpaths were essential transportation routes for centuries.

At the top, a church more than 119 years old. And few people.

View from the top looking south, all the way to Portovenere. Worth the climb!

The path is “paved” in many places, especially where it might wash out. But it is very rough and footing is tricky on the downhill portion. Sturdy hiking boots are in order.

As you can tell, we had a wonderful time in the Cinque Terre.  Walking and eating: What’s not to love?

There are so many daytrippers who do not have time to explore the  National Park. They merely get off the train, spend 37 minutes looking at the souvenir ships in a town, then move on and do the same thing in the next village. I actually overheard a woman telling her husband “We have 37 minutes here. That should be plenty of time.” Seriously?

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