It’s been a long wait, but the famed Via dell’Amore, or “Path of Love,” in Italy’s Cinque Terre has partially reopened.
The walking trail, which is carved into seaside cliffs and connects the coastal villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola, was closed in 2012 after it was damaged in a landslide. Subsequent damage from waves and an ongoing $25 million restoration project kept the trail closed.
The region reopened about 525 feet of the 3,215-foot path last month as part of a trial project to run through September. The entire trail is scheduled to reopen in July 2024, according to National Geographic.
The restoration isn’t all that’s different. Although access to the trail is still free for local citizens, tourists must pay a 5 euro fee and join a guided tour to walk the path.
That change is part of an initiative by local officials to curb crowds and mitigate the effect of overtourism.
“There’s an excessive pressure on residents,” Fabrizia Pecunia, mayor of Riomaggiore, told National Geographic. “We have to try to find balance. If we just go after [tourist] numbers, we’ll implode.”
Via Dell’Amore And Cinque Terre
The Ligurian Coast of Italy, also known as the Italian Riviera, begins at the French border and stretches down to Tuscany. The Cinque Terre region, or “Five Lands,” is a UNESCO World Heritage site made up of five villages on the Italian Riviera: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
There are roughly 75 miles of hiking trails around the five villages. While they differ in strenuousness, Via dell’Amore, which is a paved walking path offering magnificent views of the cliffs and sea, is certainly one of the most popular.
“The trail has a magical atmosphere and is excavated through hard rock and is winding along the rock-face overhanging the sea,” Cinque Terre explains.
“The history of the Via dell’Amore path dates back to the beginning of the 20th century during the modernization of the Genoa-La Spezia railway line,” Cinque Terre continues. “A footpath was needed by the railroad workers to move between Riomaggiore and Manarola during the construction of the tunnel between the two villages. The legend holds that this footpath became a meeting place for lovers from the two towns.”
Know So You Can Go
Although about a quarter of Via dell’Amore between Riomaggiore and Manarola has temporarily reopened, it will be closed each night to prevent vandalism of the $25 million restoration project, National Geographic explains.
The trail will be open each day from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. and in the evening until September 3 from 7 p.m.–9:30 p.m., according to AFAR.
Each time slot will be limited to 30 visitors with 20 slots per day. Consequently, about 600 people will be able to walk the open stretch of Via dell’Amore each day.
During the tours, visitors will be treated to spectacular views of the Ligurian Sea while guides recount the history of Via dell’Amore — from its inception as part of a railway development project to its ongoing restoration. That project ranges from installing nearly 28,000 square feet of rockfall barriers to building a 574-foot breakwater to prevent erosion, AFAR explains.
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