Monterosso Travel Summary

Visiting the Cinque Terre for a wonderful Italian Experience?

Village-hop the hidden treasure of the Italian Riviera.  The quaint villages of the Cinque Terre are carved into the cliffsides.

The Monterosso Travel Summary is segmented into 2 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Monterosso:

  1. An introduction and brief history to the Cinque Terre & Monterossa;
  2. What to See and Do in Monterossa;

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

Cinque Terre’s five villages date from the early medieval period.  Monterosso, the oldest, was founded in AD 643, when beleaguered hill dwellers moved down to the coast to escape invading barbarians.  Riomaggiore came next, purportedly established in the 8th century by Greek settlers fleeing persecution in Byzantium.  The others are Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola.  Much of what remains in the villages today including several castles and a quintet of illustrious parish churches, dates from the late High Middle Ages.

Buildings aside, Cinque Terre’s unique historical feature are the steeply terraced cliffs bisected by a complicated system of fields and gardens that have been hacked, chiselled, shaped and layered over the course of nearly two millennia.  So marked are these artificial contours that some scholars have compared the extensive stone walls to the Great Wall of China in their grandeur and scope.

Monterosso al Mare:

Monterosso al Mare dates back to the Middle Ages.  In order to protect the village from the frequent pirate attacks, a great number of fortifications were constructed at this location during the Middle Ages; remains of these fortifications can be admired in the old village, where three defensive towers still stand today.  Monterosso al Mare is divided into two sections by a tunnel of about 10 metres (the Old and the New) characterised by the typical tower homes in varying pastel shades, the town is one of the largest and it was this reason which almost kept it out of the “Cinque Terre.” It is now considered a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and makes up part of a national park.

The old part of Monterosso is dominated by the walls of the ancient fortress, the remains of Fieschi Castle and the Aurora Tower. Other prominent features are the Church of St. John the Baptist (built between 1244 and 1307) and the Capuchin Monastery (17th century), visible everywhere in the area. Like all the other Cinque Terre villages, Monterosso has brightly coloured houses and narrow alleyways; after a pleasant day spent on the beach or hiking the trails of the Cinque Terre National Park, visitors can come here and enjoy an aperitivo in the cool evening breeze or dine in one of the many delicious restaurants. On a visit to the village, don’t forget to taste the famous Monterosso anchovies and order at least a glass of Sciacchetrà, a sweet white passito wine produced in the Cinque Terre region.

 

 

 

What to See & Do in Monterosso:

 

Church of St. John the Baptist:

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • The church was built between 1244 and 1307 in Ligurian Gothic style. The beautiful façade is decorated with white and green marble
  • The bell tower crowned by merlons was originally a medieval defensive tower with a rectangular plant in green stone
  • Two plaques on the side of the building show the high-water marks during floods in 1966 and 2011.
  • There are also photographs inside the church that reveal the damages from the flooding in October 2011

 

Aurora Tower:

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • Represents what is remaining of the many watch towers that guarded Monterosso and the surrounding area from the pirates
  • Nowadays, Elia Bellingeri, the owner of Aurora Tower, has brought to life a unique restaurant
  • The restaurant boasts breathtaking view over Monterosso’s Gulf, without spoiling the beauty of Aurora’s ancient tower and taking care of every single detail from interior designing to the choice of menus

Sanctuary Soviore:

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • If you take a steep climb you are rewarded by fabulous views at the Sanctuary Soviore (450 meters above sea level)
  • Better still you can obtain refreshments in the sanctuary which you sure will need after the climb

 

Convento dei Cappuccini:

AllThingsTravels Top Pick:

  • Monterosso’s convent complex is set on the hill that divides the old town from the newer Fegina quarter
  • The striped church, the Chiesa di San Francesco, dates from 1623 and has a painting attributed to Van Dyck (Crocifissione) to the left of the altar
  • The convent celebrated 400 years of its foundation in 2018
  • It overlooks the Bay of Monterosso and offers sublime views

 

 

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