Local authorities are keen to encourage responsible tourism on the route that winds between the Cinque Terre.
Love is in the air as one of Italy’s most famous walking routes is set to reopen after more than a decade.
Known as the most romantic walk in the world, the Via dell’Amore or ‘Path of Love’ is located in between Riomaggiore and Manarola. It closed back in 2012 after a landslide injured four tourists and caused the trail to need repairs.
After extensive renovation, it is due to fully reopen in July 2024. The first section of the hiking route is already welcoming tourists for a summer preview until 30 September.
What is the Via dell’Amore?
The 1km long route winds around a string of five villages that make up the Cinque Terre UNESCO World Heritage Site. The paved pathway hugs the coast with stunning views of the landscape and sea.
It was built during the modernisation of the railway line between Genoa and La Spezia at the beginning of the 20th century. Railroad workers needed a way to get between Riomaggiore and Manarola while a tunnel was constructed.
The footpath was carved out of the hard rock face overhanging the sea and legend is it became a meeting place for lovers from the two towns.
The restoration project has contained the rocks above and below the pathway with steel mesh and planted 8,800 plants to reinforce the landscape. A monitoring system has also been installed so that warnings can be given in advance about any potential landslides.
No more overtourism on the Via dell’Amore
Liguria’s Cinque Terre is made up of five villages famous for their jewel-toned buildings set into the cliffs above the sea. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by a national park and around 2.4 million people visit every year to walk, boat or cycle their way through the picturesque surroundings.
As one of the most famous stretches of the Cinque Terre coastline, the Via dell’Amore is massively popular with visitors. The string of seaside villages has been battling against mass tourism this year introducing fines of up to €275 for visitors that block traffic or pedestrians by lingering for selfies.
Giovanni Toti, president of the Liguria Region, has said that the Via dell’Amore is a “jewel for our region, not just for those who visit”.
Liguria is hoping to curb overtourism by introducing a booking system for those that want to walk the path.
Currently, you have to book a 30-minute group tour online for €5. There are around 20 group tours a day between 9 am and 7 pm that will take 30 people along the route. Tickets also include entrance to the Castle of Riomaggiore.
Reports suggest that if the trial is successful it could be extended once the full Via dell’Amore is fully reopened next year.
Want to walk a bit further through the Cinque Terre?
The Via dell’Amore is one of four sections of the Sentiero Azzuro or ‘Blue Path’. It is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Cinque Terre National Park and connects the five villages together.
The Blue Path starts from Riomaggiore making its way to Monterosso al Mare through Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza. The route is around 12 kilometres long and reaches a maximum altitude of roughly 200 metres in the tiny village of Vernazza.
You can walk the whole path in about five hours and it is split into four different sections. The Via dell’Amore is the first section of the route.
The Cinque Terre National Park requires visitors to pay a fee to access some paths like this. Along the route, there are checkpoints for walkers to buy the Cinque Terre Trekking Card which allows you to use facilities within the park. It costs €7.50 for a day and €14.50 for two days.
You can also buy a card that gives you access to the hiking trails and unlimited train travel on Cinque Terre Express trains between Levanto, Cinque Terre and La Spezia. It costs €18.20 for one day, €33 for two days and €47 for three days.
Discounts are available for children, seniors and families.