Friday, August 10, 2007

July 2007 - Riomaggiore, Italy - La Via dell'Amore

Riomaggiore is the eastern most of the 5 villages. This town is popular with backpackers as it has an authentic laid back feel without being too resorty.
The town is built into a small valley between the green, vine-covered mountains which make up this portion of the Italian Riviera.
From up here, the colorful buildings all look like they are leaning on each other and into the mountains in order to stay standing.
We walked down into the town which is all pedestrianized (like all of the Cinqueterre which prohibits cars in the center of town in order to keep pollution low and walking tourists happy).
Like the other fishing villages, we encountered plenty of tourist shops but also family-owned restaurants and locals sitting on benches talking to each other and watching the passers-by.
Of course, Casandra immediately spotted a sleeping cat. He effectively ignored her until she went away.
This is the town's colorful, narrow, winding main street which leads from the hilltop vineyards to the small, fishing harbor.
As we made our way toward the water, we could hear the ocean crashing onto the rocks with a resounding KABOOM. The waves crash right into the center of town which is used as a parking lot for little, old fishing boats.
Like Vernazza, Riomaggiore has a breakwater that attracts people who want to sit out in the sun with a picnic lunch and soak up the heat and the cool splashes from the strong waves. The town's many backpacker types hang out on the big, dark basalt rocks which jut out of the turbulent sea. This is a great place to tan while the water keeps you cool. The only catch is climbing up and down the slippery rocks without falling to your death.

As we walked away from the center of Riomaggiore and toward La Via dell'Amore, we stopped for a final look back at this colorful town. It almost disappears into the surrounding hills.

La Via del Amore (Italian for Lovers' Lane) is a walking trail that spans from Riomaggiore to Manarola along the edge of the cliffs where the bright blue Mediterranean roars and crashes.

Only in Italy does a lovers' lane have a coffee bar - because you never know when you might need a caffeine fix.
We followed the trail all the way to Manarola enjoying beautiful views of the Mediterranean and the other villages along the way.

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