“Vigneti terrazzati delle Cinque Terre, di Riomaggiore, battuti dal Libeccio, riarsi dal sole. Terra sassosa impastata di sudore antico sparso per amore e non per castigo.” (Siro Vivaldi)
“Cinque Terre” means not only a taste of its sea, but also wood scents and foot paths, unique sensory experiences like a sort of third type encounters. The small five sister enchant us for the way they expose themselves to mass tourism, yet being at the same time glorified by it.
These five hamlets are made of coloured narrow tower houses, few kitchen gardens, dry walls and terraced vineyards, pine groves overlooking the cobalt blue Ligurian Sea, that in the early morning looks like a sky painted by Van Gogh. The village looks as if it is nestled in the quietness of the early twentieth century, when people travelled by mainly train, and there were few cars, but there was a lot of hard work to be done in the country, bent down in the terraced vineyards as well as in the kitchen gardens where dewy lettuce and courgette flowers grow well.
Surprisingly the traditional dish is not made of fish dish, but is a savoury pie called turta de risu, made with rice, eggs, cheese and olive oil, it is served at the traditional fair that celebrates the patron saint “Giovanni Battista” that protects the village. This is the easternmost village of the Cinque Terre, its name comes from the stream placed across the valley and the village, according to the Romans the water flow was named Rivus Major.
Its inhabitants are the most cunning fishermen of the eastern coast of Liguria, after the inhabitants of Lerici, thanks to Greek origins. As it was not much worth living on the hills, around the year 1000 the inhabitants decided to develop the village close to the marina, this gave them better opportunities.
Rimazùu is the real, authentic name of the village that echoes in La Spezia, the local dialect is a mystery in its own way. The famous terraced hills characterize this area, maybe they have always been there or men probably made them to mark their anthropic footprint.
You have surely understood that we are talking about Riomaggiore, the charming in the province of La Spezia, Riomaggiore is a small hamlet where old wine makers spend their time playing cards after the hard work in the fields, this area has always had ups and downs, the typical coloured Genoes tower houses, in summer you can hear cicadas chirping, hidden in the pine groves. This village has so many steps to reach a place or another, it is located in the steep slopes of the Apennines, rich in sand stones, where the best grapes grow well to make the most sought after sweet wine called Sciacchetrà…
The area has the shape of a funnel, the sea and the lush terraces make Riomaggiore a popular place, with foot paths suitable for trekking lovers. The charming views of the countryside are essential to experience a perfect type of experimental tourism. We can find tourists in the workshops inside the cellars (called taste labs) trying to make pesto sauce or tasting other local products such as wine and olive oil, or shopping in the tiny shops full of trinkets that look like attics.
Mother nature created generous meadows of poseidonia, where zebra morays flick in the chilly water of the early morning, when calm wind blows enough to let tourist snorkeling along the beautiful coast, however pay attention because when winter returns, coldthe winds from Val di Vara will arrive, as well as sea storms brought by wind called Libeccio.
Riomaggiore is also known for its bell towers, we can say that the village consists of two separate parts, built following the steep flow of the stream.
Both areas boast certain, particular dust-pink tower houses built on the stone arche maze that once were wine cellars. The first area is the one close to the train station, that developed starting from the second half of the nineteenth century, after the railway line connected Riomaggiore to the rest of the world.
The second area is the one close to Rio Finale, part of the municipality of Riomaggiore are the hamlets of Manarola, Volastra and Groppo.
The icing on the cake is when you look at Riomaggiore from the sea, comfortably sitting on a ferry, we can also notice the Marian sanctuary of Montenero, a magnificent glimpse stolen from a book by Umberto Eco. If we are lucky enough to find good weather and we want to reach the top of the hill, our joy doubles because the view embraces the horizon and we can even see Tuscany and part of the coast of Corsica. The unique magic of Riomaggiore does not end here…
How to get here
Although the boat trip takes more time, this guarantees to enjoy the itineraries between one village and another better. In addition if we consider the fact that the Cinque Terre are real ports, apart from Corniglia that is located on top of a hill, why shouldn’ t we rely on companies such as the Consorzio Marittimo Turistico 5 Terre – Golfo dei Poeti, that provide such services.
The cost of the ticket varies a lot depending on the type of route chosen and the period of the year, as well as the type of boat and its capacity. You can enjoy simple boat trips especially for you, and if you want to spend the whole afternoon, ask for a long stop. During the summer season, there are boats that leave to and from the Cinque Terre also from Versilia, Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, while the usual itinerary includes beautiful panoramic areas of the Levante Ligure, from Levanto, to Deiva Marina, Moneglia, Portofino, without forgetting the island of Palmaria and Portovenere, located in the Natural Regional Park of Portovenere.
The nearest airports are the following: Cristoforo Colombo in Genoa, at about an hour distance, either by train or by car, and Galileo Galilei airport in Pisa, that is connected to Pisa central train station. Riomaggiore can be reached with a Regional train, or by making a stopover in La Spezia train station, if you book an Intercity train. If you have landed from one of the International flights in Malpensa or Orio al Serio, you can take a train from Milan central Station to reach La Spezia.
For practical reasons, we do not recommend to reach Riomaggiore by car. In case, you decide to do so, leave the car in La Spezia, and take a train to get to Riomaggiore. Riomaggiore is the first village of the Cinque Terre that you find coming from La Spezia, it is well connected to the administrative centre to the A12 Genoa-Leghorn and the A15 Parma-La Spezia, the exist for both motorways is Santo Stefano Magra. From La Spezia carry along Via Carducci up to SS70, also called Litoranea delle Cinque Terre, you will reach your destination in about twenty minutes.
Riomaggiore is well connected thanks to many paths, you can take one from Campiglia-Tramonti and reach Colle del Telegrafo, while if you want to reach Manarola, the village after Riomaggiore, you just have to go straight on, in the maze of narrow streets that run alongside Via Beccara. The heart of the historic centre of Riomaggiore, is closed to the traffic, the nearest parking is far from the centre, and you have to pay the parking. Finally, the famous Via dell’Amore, which is at present under renovation, it will be soon be opened soon, so you might be one of the lucky new visitors.
The train is the best means of transport, it is comfortable and cheap, and there are trains every half an hour, for possible changes, delays please consult the website Trenitalia.
How to move about
Riomaggiore is the golden proportion of the “steep lands”, however if you come to terms with the many steps, the climbs, and the shady porticos, full of colourful flower pots, you will be at home. Your efforts to explore the are will be rewarded by the wonders of this territory. First of all, the dense network of paths that cover the hills, that climb up from the sea side to the slopes of the mountain; secondly, the beautiful themed mural that is located just before the entrance of the long tunnel, which is a sort of magical portal, located at the entrance of the station, leads us to the historic centre.
After the dark tunnel, continue to the left and you reach the first period houses, with clothes hanging out on the line to dry under the sun, on your right there is the belvedere area where you can see the rocks, a sort of rural and unique bathing area.
Talking about the historic centre we must say that the original centre dates back to the thirteenth century, where the ancient Rivus Major once stood and from which the village took its name. The new part of the village that developed thanks to the construction of the railwayline is located near the adjacent valley of the stream Rio Finale, we know that it was named so, as it marked the border between the lands of Riomaggiore and Manarola.
Both river valleys are separated by the coast of Campiòne. The three peaks that welcome us in the picture, are the artistic transposition of the view that we can admire looking at Mount Verugola.
Keep in mind that for many years the roads that have connect Riomaggiore, to the rest of the East, were mule tracks and clearings, that have been recently adapted as paths by CAI. Climbing on the terraces is an unforgettable experience, walking among pine groves and ubiquitous agaves, there are three main paths all well marked: Path Number 1, also called Alta Via delle Cinque Terre, which runs alongside the ridge on the border with Val di Vara, the Path of the Sanctuaries, were the beauty of the sea and the magnificent Marian churches create a perfect bond, and Path Number 2, also called Blue Path, which connects Riomaggiore to the four remaining villages of the Cinque Terre.
Likeways its neighbours, Riomaggiore spreads its borders following the ridges of the mountain it may seem a very small village indeed, as you just need half a day to visit it, yet consider the fact that it is one of biggest villages of the Cinque Terre.
The main street in Riomaggiore is Via Colombo, it is full of shops and activities of all kind that help to fill the pockets of the shop owners, who choose to set their businesses here, we are talking about the typical little shops, bars, restaurants and ice cream parlours.
The castle in Riomaggiore overlooks the whole area, it was built in 1260 for defensive purposes. At present is it used as a conference and cultural centre. To reach the castle you have to climb up several steps, especially if you are coming from the coast of Campione, once you finish your visit you may go towards the inhabited area and discover the bright colours of the modern graffiti that are on the facade of the town hall of Riomaggiore.
Finally, do not forget about the new panoramic and exciting path that runs along the cliff, it starts from the railway station, and takes you directly to the “marina” of the village or to the alleys of the historic centre.
A bit of history...
The records or legends that we like to believe as true, report how the first inhabitants of the village were not really fishermen, but experienced farmers; these people were Greek refugees, who left their country to escape from Leo III Isauric, known as the Iconoclast, in the eighth century. They were able to settle much more further upstream compared to today’s inhabited area, approximately on the ridge of Montenero, then they moved down towards the sea only after the massive expansion of the Republic of Genoa, and the consequent oath of loyalty to Genoa, the so called la Superba.
Unwillingly la Superba was able to provide safety for the few scattred farmhouses located in the former discrict of Carpena and its inhabitants, then the majority of the people moved towards the sea creating new settlements in Quartiere della Marina, at the river mouth.
This allowed a better and peaceful access to the sea, to increase and develop safe and quick commercial trades. It was in this period, around 1200, that the main fortifications were built, including the castle, the rule officially belonged to the lords of Ripalta, then it was passed over to the Fieschi marquisate, who then handed it over to the episcopal authorities of Luni, that were of equal lineage. Subsequently, Riomaggiore and a large part of the Ligurian East was sold to Genoa which, in the past, had guaranteed the protectorate. Over the years fervent activities such as fishing, agriculture and marble transport inevitably flourished, development works began, and at the same time the first successful experiments to create terraces using dry stone walls started on the hills,this lead to what later became even a more profitable activity: the art of producing good and precious wine.
The economy grew and further renovations helped to improve the beautiful village that later became Riomaggiore … the construction of the church of Giovanni Battista, for example, started exactly by will of the Bishop Antonio Fieschi.
Under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, the village returned to be part of the Department of the Gulf of Venus, with La Spezia as administrative centre, in 1815 it was under the rule of the Kingdom of Sardinia, undergoing different problems related to grants and cadastral properties, without losing its incredible commercial expansion. Crops remained berthed for a very long time in the small marina then the construction of the railway line Genoa-La Spezia brought modern innovations to this small village.
Progress reached Riomaggiore almost on the quiet, the village overcame adversity, including WWII, luckily something great interruped the secular isolation, and helped the village to connect to the rest of Liguria: the construction of the carriage road.
In recent times, Riomaggiore has become popular all over the world not only for its excellent production of wine and olive oil, that is the result of hard work in the terraced hills, or the peculiar culinary tradition, but also for its natural beauties that have gradually obtained over the last twenty years appreciation and protection by Unesco.
When you climb the steep steps located alongside the village, and you reach the top of the hill, the stunning views from the cliffs, provide the real quality mark we are looking for when we visit the Cinque Terre.
If Riomaggiore is your destination, we cannot avoid to mention a perfect trip, its very green, pristine amphitheater, a sort of ascetic path: ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Cinque Terre National Park. The area covers a large part of the coast of the Eastern Ligurian Riviera, and includes the other four municipalities. Far and wide, thanks to the difference in altitude of the coast, the ecosystem is able to satisfy everyone, with different microclimates, this is why in every season, but especially in summer, in the Cinque Terre and in the nearby La Spezia you will certainly feel the extraordinary different climate; the air gets warmer, yet never too sultry, and looses the typical damp of the town. Riomaggiore, for its part, invites you to cool off until late October.
This characteristic is due to the narrow and long mountain chain that overlooks the sea, it is over 800 metres hight, and Corniolo, a small but stoic hill that divides Riomaggiore from Manarola, together they have become a valuable shelter from the typical wind of the area the mistral, as well as from the frequent mist that remains only reaching high altitude.
The good and warm weather grants the bloom of strawberry trees, oregano, sage, rosemary, the “scents” of the garden make our olfactory cells work really well, creating a sort of sweet, unusual addiction. At higher altitudes, the Mediterranean scrub loses its bite and holm oaks woods, maritime pines and Aleppo trees replace the brighter shade of green. On the slope that interests us, there are dense tangles of elms and hornbeams, attracted by the presence of water.
As regards animals, the avifauna in Riomaggiore has many regular visitors, we can see herring gulls, as well as peregrine falcons, buzzards and other various local animals that came from the pools of Fiumaretta such as green cormoramts.
The great variety of animals that live in this park tell us how well it is managed, we might spot green woodpeckers, badgers, foxes and few wolves that come down to the valley from the Apuan Alps, however pay attention when you decide to walk in less beaten routes because there are vipers and wild boars.
It is good to know that human impact has not affected the environment, instead it has made the Cinque Terre National Park a unique and rare example of a successful cohabitation. For thousand of years the inhabitants have worked the rugged mountains in order to create strips of land from what once were thick woods, trees bend their leaves to the winds, and rocks are crushed to create dry stone walls, nature has been left free to express itself, in this way, nothing has been destroyed, it has simply changed shape.
Patiently and gruadually many fruit trees and olive trees were planted on the terraces, and we can still see many of them on the hills going towards Levanto and Bonassola, many vineyards were placed on the terraces too, we must not forget to mention the precious grapes from which the well known passito wine Sciacchetrà is made, using Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino vines. The encounter between man and nature has led to an enhancement of the territory that was unimaginable elsewhere, the small villages are still stuck to ancient craftsmen activities, and to traditional methods of preservation that confirm how fundamental it is to respect the values of the environment, protecting the area from the danger of excessive building expansion. In return, with a little compromise, man obtains a high level thriving economy based on tourism, agricultural production at zero kilometre, and the protection of its biodiversity.
The coast lacks flat stretches and shows high and jagged sea depths, full of caves and ravines. The few beaches are mostly with pebbles, that are the result of debris from streams and rivers, landslides or deposits of materials deliberately left behind by man. The beach in Riomaggiore has a similar fate, there is practically no sand except on the shoreline.
Deep waters and labyrinthine currents await swimmers who do not know the dangers of diving outside the appropriate bathing areas, however you can avoid problems by staying close to the shore. At first glance the clear waters of this part of Mediterranean sea attract curious and less skilled tourists that do not know that the whole area is part of the Marine Protected Area, due to specific environment features controlled by the aegis of the Park Authority and by the Ligurian Sea Cetacean sanctuary called Pelagos, established in 1999 thanks to the cooperation of France, the Principality of Monaco and Italy (Liguria, Tuscany and Sardinia).
It is estimated that there about a thousand whales, rorquals, pilot whales and striped dolphins in the area of the sancturary thanks to the thermoregulation of the sea and other features, in particular in the sea in front of the Cinque Terre, they come here searching food and places where to reproduce themselves.
Not less important and at the same time a very useful tool to explore the area, and maintain its natural environment, its foot paths and its safety, is the “5 Terre Card” that provides transport discounts, guided tours, workshops, wi-fi and access to the paths of the National Park of the Cinque Terre.
Places of interest
It the 1930s the idea of creating a road to reach Manarola took shape, this road is the well known Via dell’Amore, at present it is under renovation, only the part near the train station can be crossed, however the works are on the roll, so we expect that they will be finished soon.
Via dell’Amore is part of a twelve kilometre path, obtained by digging the rocks that overlook the sea, where the magnificent colours of the land and the horizon merge, this path is called Sentiero Azzurro (C.A.I. n. 2), you can admire lush hills kissed by the sunny atmosphere of the Mediterranean sea.
Riomaggiore might interest us for the sea, considering its views. If you find too many people on the rocks, the village borrows the beach in Manarola, that is narrow and with pebbles, not an ideal place for people who love sunbathing, but it has plenty of attractions for people who practice scuba diving, and for those who dare diving from the rocks. Take as many photos as you can, the colourful houses deserve the effort of carrying the proper equipement.
A third option is an area that is accessible only by sea, because it is very difficult to come down from the steep vineyards, we are talking about the coast that is between the cliffs of Punta Castagna and Punta Cavo, you can lie down under the sun on a tree lined terrace or on the only beach called Canneto, it is quite difficult to reach this beach even if the path is not long and is equipped, therefore it is not suitable for non experts.
The landscape we find here is somehow similar to what we can see in some foreign documentaries that show stunning atolls and coral reefs, there is a stretch of sand and pebbles, in the foreground we find some natural pools among the rocks, that the undertow fill up. At the end of your trip, why not have a shower under the natural waterfall, just to get rid of the salt that is on your skin, it will be very refreshing.
We remind you that Riomaggiore is part of the Cinque Terre Marine Protected Area, located between the Promontory Punta Mesco and Capo di Montenero, and at the same time is included in the National Park that honours the five sisters: both areas are preserved and protected in favour of a policy of biodiversity that distinguishes the villages, with full respect. The top of Capo Montenero guards the promontory that laps Punta Mesco, try to get close to Torre Guardiola, a centre for naturalistic observation, in the past this area was part of a fortification, of the Royal Navy.
This area is commonly known as the Battery – named after Carlo Alberto Racchia – at present it is under massive restoration works.
In this area the shooting stations, commonly called “bunkers” can still be visited, the tunnel from which you access the powder magazine, and the various ladders that connect the different sectors. A centre for naturalistic observation also means the possibility for bird watching enthusiasts to stake out in a particulary valuable landscape, where there are many different types of rare botanical species. Torre Guardiola hosted until 2010, the Environmental Education Centre of the Cinque Terre National Park. In the quiet part of the village located on the hill, we find the house of the famous painter Telemaco Signorini, he belonged to the well known artist group called Macchiaioli, Telemaco Signorini painted the places where he worked and lived for a considerable period of his career.
Another place of interest is the sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Montenero, it cannot be reached by car, but only through some foot paths that are close to the village. It was built between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, and is equipped with a guesthouse. There are three aisles divided by columns, and a large portico with five arches, the building underwent many renovations, its present structure is quite recent.
You can reach the sanctuary by coach from Riomaggiore, passing the village of Biassa and stopping on top of the hill Montenero, the Sancturary of Nostra Signora di Montenero as well as the Sanctuaries of Nostra Signora della Salute in Manarola, Nostra Signora delle Grazie, Nostra Signora di Reggio in Vernazza and Nostra Nostra Signora di Soviore in Monterosso are part of a path called “Via dei Santuari” an important route that can be crossed on foot or by bike.
San Giovanni Battista is the patron saint of the village, the charming church devoted to this saint is located in the upper part of the historic centre of Riomaggiore, we can appreciate the precious work of the Antelami Masters, its facade was built in neo-Gothic style, and is perhaps a little bit gloomy, but faithful to the Romanesque style buildings. There is a white marble rose window that defuses its look, thus offering not only the features of the architecture that gave birth to the church suggested by Antonio Fieschi, but also of other architectural styles.
The inside of the church does not lose its charm, in fact we find valuable works, including a painting depicting the Preaching of John the Baptist, attributed to Domenico Fiasella.
The Oratory of Saints Rocco and Sebastiano dates back to 1500, it was built close to the castle of Riomaggiore, of which we will talk about shortly. At First the building was used as a hospital where sick patients who had plague could find refuge during the quarantine in this relatively small place, located on the ridge that separates the two valleys of Riomaggiore.
The chapel is a single room covered by a lowered barrel vaulted ceiling, decorated with devotional frescoes. The structure is like a forerunner to the magnificent bastion that overlooks it, placed to guard a ledge that dominates the hustle and bustle of the village and the amazing landscapes.
We are ready to reach the two circular towers “Castellazzo” in Riomaggiore, that according to the maps are perched on the hill Cerricò; these buildings date back to 1260, and they are easy to reach if you go up the small road that starts from the railway station, there are also some walls and an external staircase with a panoramic point, above which there is a large round clock, placed right in the centre of the facade. This structure is currently used by the administration as a cultural centre and conference venue.
Accommodation, tourism and events
For ages the dualism of Riomaggiore, has created an indissoluble bond between the hills and man with the sea as a background, that allows a truly, varied and interesting type of accommodation, despite being just a tiny cosy place.
Grapes are the undisputed “stars” of this area, not only in the terraces and in the old cellars, they are grown on pergolas at no more than one metre from the ground, in a relatively small space, moistened by the right light and saltiness, that are essential elements to obtain an excellent must, but also natural skimming is important to obtain the best grapes. Since the local wine supports the economy of the village, we can observe how the yellow gold is transported on the shoulders in big baskets, follow how the fermentation takes place in the workshops and then how wine is bottled; to overcome the distance from the hills to the cellars, there are rack monorails that you might spot in the buses, created to respect the environment.
About twenty years ago they used to organize a fair called the Grape Festival, it was a challenge between the various districts, luckily it was decided to continue this tradition and organize the fair again, it is very much loved by the locals, it is a sort of gathering oppurtunity for everyone, especially during the “village dinner”, and a small harvest for the children of the village with exhibitions, concerts and parades; it is a good opportunity to enjoy the harvest period.
We must not forgett the other appealing factor that attracts many wine lovers in Riomaggiore from every continent, remember to book your personal food and wine tastings, that include the famous passito wine Sciacchetrà. “Cantina Sociale Cinque Terre” is a landmark, available to receive customers at the weekend and, upon advance request, during the week. In Riomaggiore and in the surrounding areas it is possible to “rent” horses for an lovely afternoon, spent riding and contemplating the magnificient landscape, you just have to contact the Equestrian Tourism Centre, or the organization that deals with rentals, it accompanies hikers along the routes, depending how difficulty they are.
For the type of services that the park authority offers, please consult the excursions calendar (with trained guides) to discover the wine landscape of the Protected Area, visits go from May to October – and don’t forget to buy the Cinque Terre Walking Park card.
If the woods do not touch the strings of your heart, there are boat trips that connect Riomaggiore not only to the main landing points of the East, but also to Sestri Levante and Portofino. There are worthy boat tours that include aperitifs, you can relax, drink, nibble, and take refreshments on the pilot boat, admiring the flora and fauna of the Cinque Terre.
On 2 June the village celebrates its patron saint San Giovanni Battista, with an complex procession in the main gathering places of the village.
On Pentecost Sunday, the local inhabitants pay their respects to the Sanctuary Madonna di Montenero. On August 15, there is the Feast of the Confraternity of the Assumption in Riomaggiore. During the Christmas period, on the hill opposite the village of Manarola there is a particular nativity made of lights called the “Luminous Nativity of Manarola”, at very short distance from Riomaggiore it usually attracts the eyes of the most daring tourists. Curious news Riomaggiore is included in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the first Italian village to installed a cable television system, connected to a satellite. In those days the municipality had already banned the use of normal roof antennas, with the idea of safeguarding the beauty of the landscape.
…Does not lose sight of a good wine glass a “gotto” in local dialect, in Riomaggiore you eat and drink well.
The very first ancient promoter of this was of living was Pliny (1st century AD), who considered Riomaggiore’s wine as the best in the whole Etruria; we are talking about a white wine, with a straw yellow colour its name is Cinque Terre DOC, it is the results of a mixture of Bosco, Vermentino and Albarola grapes, flavoured not only by the concentration of sugar of the small and fragrant grapes used, but also by the proximity to the sea and brackish, which makes its flavour round, with a slight scent of grass. We suggest to try local Grappa and sparkling wines, so when you get to Riomaggiore don’t forget to ask for the Cinque Terre Social Winery…
Less versatile and refined is the traditional food of the area, needles to say that it is linked to simple ingredients cultivated on the lush terraced hills. In spring pumpkins grow easily and become quite big, as well as different types of vegetables and juicy lemons that keep good company to the very scented basil, marjoram, sage and other spontaneous herbs such as oregano and borage, very useful to make excellent dishes. Local honey benefits from spontaneous blooms of thyme, heather, rosemary for the wildflower type of honey, and chestnut, acacia for more robust honey. The olive oil of the Cinque Terre is a special product that has excelllent organoleptic properties due to its wealthy and generous climate.
The main ingredient of the local cuisine is pesto sauce, made with fresh basil, pine nuts, cheese, salt and olive oil, it is the perfect dressing for a good plate of homemade pasta such as trofie, farmers’ recipe requires also boiled potatoes and green beens. A similar sauce, but less popular was invented in Corniolo, it is made with anchovies and peppers. “Pansotti” are dressed with walnut sauce , this dish can be found in many restaurants in the Cinque Terre and Val di Vara, so why not take the opportunity to stop and taste this sauce, especially if it is made on the spot.
Among the many starters we suggest to try mixed fried veggies and whitebait, called in local dialect “gianchetti”, the batter is very light, try to taste them, they serve them right after they come out of the pan.
Lean meat is very appreciated, since there are no pastures, some types of meat are stuffed such as cima (a meat pocket stuffed with eggs, vegetables, cheese and other ingredients), we can also find roast meat and game cooked in the pan with olives, onions from Treschietto and juniper, this meat has a strong taste, however if the hunter has taken good care of it, the result will be a success.
Minestrone, the vegetable soup is another great protagonist of the local cuisine, as well as other soups such as “prebuggiun” and “mesciua”, that use leftovers and simple ingredients that know it all.
Fresh breams, sea bass, snappers and sea breams, as well as many anchovies caught in Monterosso, or stuffed mussels “muscoli ripieni” called “cozze” in the rest of Italy, cooked in their broth and stuffed with mortadella, parmigiano cheese and bread crumbs.
When the season changes and it gets cold, we find salted preparations on the menu, such as stockfish with chard “a zemin”, and simple desserts, like the scented castagnaccio and Ligurian canestrelli, delicious biscuits to dip in glass of passito wine, this is a real privilege for those who wander in the Cinque Terre.
A tribute must be given to the farmers’ roots as it is not fish that makes Riomaggiore stand out, on the contrary: what is still important in the local cuisine is the recycle of leftovers, the cultivation of the terraces is equally important, we find many different types of savoury pies, such as “pasqualina” and “torta di riso”, on the menu, that are a successful compromise for and aperitif or dinner.
Local catering is essential and mainly composed of agritourisms, small inns, workshops, where you can try to make the traditional pies and pesto sauce by yourself.
There is a good selection of fish and wines that follow contemporary trends, when summer arrives, restaurants usually lay the tables outside, so you can enjoy not only good home food, but the best sea view possible.
If we want to compare Riomaggiore with the other four villages of the Cinque Terre, we should say that it stands out “as an excellent land”. Mother and high rated sister that has developed using harsh slopes and sweet sunset views on the small marina, it is thought that its inhabitants have Greek blood, we are sure that this is true for their persistence they have always been ready to welcome progress.
Riomaggiore no longer consideres itselsef as an “isolated village” because its borders are not defined, the hamlets merge with one another and the places have peculiar names, we hear the words scattered houses, the close area of Val di Vara, Levanto and Portovere influence so much this little village. If more tourists arrive, the village continues to keep care of its traditions, that will always be a guarantee protetion.
Riomaggiore must be protected and loved, to receive, as an equal a stay that will remain set in your memory, inside the little hollows of the village and in the hearts of those who, perhaps unaware, had ignored it. No cartographer will be mistreated: Riomaggiore, borders to the north the town of Riccò del Golfo and the Valley of Soviore to the south with the Ligurian Sea, to the west with Vernazza and to the east with the administrative cente of La Spezia, from which it is only at twenty minutes drive on the road Litoranea.