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Why Monterosso al Mare is my favorite Cinque Terre village

As some of you readers may know, I come from the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, but I also have a home in Liguria, where I spend my time as soon as I can. My home here in the eastern side of the Liguria region, is very close to the Cinque Terre.

From where I live infact it takes only 20 minutes by car to reach Riomaggiore, the closest to the town of La Spezia of the five Cinque Terre villages. After Riomaggiore, going towards Levanto, you encounter Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and finally the beautiful Monterosso. All 5 these seaside villages on the ligurian coastline are very nice to spend a day (in reality, Corniglia is the only one that is not located right on the sea), but my favorite is only one, the beautiful Monterosso.

So here are my good reasons to visit Monterosso al Mare.

Monterosso al Mare, for the beach with the rock

Monterosso has the best beach in the Cinque Terre area, enclosed within a crescent bay and the Punta Mesco cape. When you get off the train you will already be on the Fegina waterfront, the “new” part of Monterosso, where some small hotels and private residences are located. You can continue by foot on your right up to the main beach, the marina and the Giant’s Statue, a sculpture clinging to the rock representing the god Neptune, or if you want to reach the old town, you have to turn left passing through the tunnel. It is a very pleasant walk along the seafront in both directions.

The beach has sand and pebbles, like most of the beaches in Liguria; it is largely reserved to the bathing establishments, but there are some a free stretches too. Alternatively, you can go sunbathe on the rocks. There is also a large parking area right on the sea, the Fegina Parking, it is very expensive (25 euros daily fee or 2,50 euros per hour) but it allows you to arrive with your car very close to the beach.

The most scenic part of the beach is the one with the rock, expect many people here during summer! The sea in Monterosso has the so-called Ligurian-blue color! : -)

IMPORTANT! during summer season 2020, access to free beaches in Monterosso will be restricted, it is necessary to reserve your place in advance. Some stretches are available to anyone, others only to residents or hotel guests. Access to free beaches is restricted to a time slot (morning or afternoon). Reserve your place here, entry is free of charge as usual: spiaggeliberemonterosso.

Monterosso al Mare, to eat at Ciak’s

To me, having lunch or dinner in Monterosso means going to Ciak. We visited the first time we discovered the village, more than twenty years ago, on a winter Sunday, and we always come back. To taste the fresh seafood, the fried or marinated anchovies, the homemade pasta with DOP basil pesto, the Ciak’s spaghetti (which is my favorite dish). For dessert I recommend you to taste the lemon and basil sorbet.

Ciak’s restaurant is located in the center of the old village in Monterosso, in the Don Minzoni piazza, in front of the Gothic church of San Giovanni Battista and next to the Oratorio dei Neri unique church, both have white and black striped facades, the same decoration adopted in the interior of the restaurant.

Monterosso al Mare, to read the Montale’s poetries

In Monterosso you can read Eugenio Montale’s poems strolling around the village. It is here in Monterosso that the Literature Nobel Prize – born in Genoa – spent his summers, in the family house called “villa with two palms”, now no longer open to the public. Some of his poems from the collection “Ossi di Seppia” were written inspired by these places. You can find Monterosso in the verses of “Punta del Mesco” and “Meriggiare pallido ed assorto”. Turn around the village and the promenade and you will meet its verses and places that the poet loved so much.

Monterosso al Mare, to head to the Soviore Shrine

The church dedicated to Our Lady of Soviore is a peace and silence oasis located just 7 km away rom the village of Monterosso, a place dedicated to hospitality and spirituality. It is a wonderful place from which is possible to enjoy an extraordinary view of the coast, and it is the meeting point of some of the most important hiking trails of the Cinque Terre too. Soviore is dedicated to hospitality because here you can stop to stay overnight (has a hundred beds in both traditional rooms and hostel), or to eat. The large dining room is open as a restaurant to all customers passing hereby. Do not forget to taste the fried anchovies, wich is the traditional dish of Monterosso.

The Shrine can be reached from the village on foot in about 1 hour and a half uphill (trail no 509), by car (free parking in front of the church) or by bus.

Monterosso al Mare during winter: when to visit

The Cinque Terre villages are nice to visit in all seasons, not only in summer. Obviously, every time of the year has its pros and cons: in winter you can not swim at the sea, but coming here during low season allows you to enjoy the beauty of these places without experiencing the sometimes overwhelming summer and spring crowds and the heat. Temperatures can be very high during summer, and are mild all over the rest of the year. I remember a new year’s day when we visited in short sleeves and when we could even park very close to the village, reaching it by foot. Things that in summer are almost impossible. The only season I would avoid is late autumn, beacuse it is often very rainy.

Practical infos: how to get to Monterosso

Best way is take the train from La Spezia, it takes about 40 minutes to Monterosso, check out the train schedule here. During peak season it is very difficult to park in Monterosso, I suggest to arrive early in the morning, check out the parking prices here. You can reach Monterosso by sea too, checkout the official Navigazione del Golfo dei Poeti website, from La Spezia the daily ticket costs 35 euros (with return).

What can I say, to me Monterosso is the most beautiful place in the Cinque Terre, even without many Instagram filters, even in winter on a gloomy day.

What is your favorite Cinque Terre village and why?

Cover picture: view on Punta Mesco cape from the Soviore church

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