Riomaggiore, last of the Cinque Terre hamlets for us and where we spent our last afternoon. Having been well and truly blown away by the four other villages, I feared complacency would have set in by Riomaggiore, so used were we to amazing views and stunning scenery. Perhaps this fifth little hamlet would not stand a fair chance, we might have become blase. Not so. Breath well and truly taken away, we all agreed this place is maybe even just a bit more gorgeous than the rest.
Riomaggiore is probably the most characteristic of the Cinque Terre. It sits at the head of a valley and is a vertical village. All steps, there is not a bit of it that is flat. We steeled ourselves to spend a lot of time out of puff. I read somewhere that the people who live in this region develop certain physical characteristics to equip them for this tough terrain – we did see a lot of very fit grannies with strong leg muscles striding around, perhaps there is some truth in this rumour.
Coming out of the railway station we turned right and found ourselves in a long tunnel leading to the harbour. No steps yet though, this was just a mild incline.
I loved the harbour, beautiful and somewhere you could sit for hours and never get bored of the view or the comings and goings. The harbour itself is tiny and the jumble of colourful fishing boats piled up on the streets and the steep rainbow tower houses are picture postcard perfect.
Husband found a little alleyway leading off the harbour with (yes) steps, so despite Son’s groaning we took it, climbed up forever but got the most incredible view of the sea and the harbour from on high. Well worth all the effort in my opinion.
We found a fantastic ice-cream shop just by the harbour – the perfect thing after all those steps. Refreshed by gelato we carried on walking along a flat path by the sea. Black spiky rocks everywhere and those crashing waves again pounding onto the rocks.
We retraced our steps through the first tunnel and found the other part of the village. More colourful houses plus an assortment of cafes, bars, restaurants and ice-cream shops. Another steep hill, much perspiring and we found ourselves by the castle and the church.
Tier upon tier of stone stairways is my lasting memory of Riomaggiore and a labyrinth of gorgeous little streets. There were plenty of tourists by the harbour, but up here on high was where we saw most locals and an odd child who, though loathe to do all this climbing was full of beans when he spotted these steps – ones that we didn’t have to climb!
We all loved Riomaggiore and dare I say it, this was possibly my favourite Cinque Terre village. Sorry Vernazza, but Riomaggiore just inches into the top spot. With competition so stiff as here, that is really saying something.