Riomaggiore, located at the eastern tip of Cinque Terre, is just 12 kilometers far from La Spezia and can be easily reached in different ways: by ferry, by train or by travelling along the SP 370 route, known as Litoranea, from where it is possible to reach The Poet Hotel in about 20 mintues and from where it is possible to enjoy beautiful views of Gulf of Poets and sea sheer walls, typical of the Ligurian coast.
Its name comes from the creek Rivus Maior that crosses the village. The history of this place is really undefined: according an old legend, it was born in 700 A.D even if the first official sources date back to the 13th century.
The town center is located along the course of the creek and is characterized by tall and narrow houses, many of which recall the design of the tower-houses typical of the village.
At the mouth of the river, there is a small port from where, going left, it is possible to easily reach the main beach of the village, 120 meters long and made of pebbles, gravel and sand. For diving-lovers, it is possible to dive in the crystal-clear water of the protected area that hosts a various marine flora and fauna.
Diving is just one of the many activities that can be practice in this area. For trekking lovers, there are several paths among which it is worth to mention the path number 2, also called “Sentiero Azzurro”, that links all the Cinque Terre villages. The first segment links Riomaggiore to Manarola and is universally known as “Via dell’Amore” (Love path). It is completely carved in stone and is characterized by sheer cliffs overlooking the sea that makes this path unique and evocative. It is subject to payment to limit accesses and protect the territory.
Heading back up the high part of the village, it is possible to find the 14th century San Giovanni Battista church that hosts a wooden crucifix of the Maragliano school and the “Predicazione del Battista” by Domenico Fiasella.
Another important attraction of the village is the Riomaggiore castle that, thanks to its position on a rocky spur (Cerricò hill), has a dominant view on the entire village. It was built in 1260 and subsequently completed by the Genoese. The castle has a square base with two large and circular towers that are located at the end of the city walls. Currently, the fortification is used as reception center and it hosts many cultural and educational activities.
Moving away from the village, it is possible to find The Madonna di Montenero Shrine that is placed at 350 meters altitude on a wonderful natural terrace from where people can admire all the Cinque Terre villages. The first information about this place date back to 1335, even if its origin could be between the 11th and the 13th century. No trace of the original building remains, since it was reworked in 1740 and then completely renovated in 1847. The Shrine can be reached only by foot, hiking the path 3a that starts from the Riomaggiore village.