Before the coastal road of the Cinque Terre was built in the seventies and before the Genoa-La Spezia railway arrived (inaugurated in 1874), and the Via dell’Amore, dug into the rock overlooking the sea between 1926 and 1928, Riomaggiore and Manarola, two beautiful villages of the Cinque Terre National Park, were connected only by a short path but with significant slopes, which forced the villagers to climb Mount Corniolo, which separates the two villages.
The Cinque Terre National Park, carrying out an important environmental and productive recovery, consisting in the planting of new vineyards, has restored this ancient path marked in the trail network with the number 531.
The trail, also called “della Beccara”, takes about 1 hour and a half on foot, starting from Riomaggiore in via Telemaco Signorini, near the railway station and then up to the Rio Finale stream and then cross it with a small stone bridge and face the steep climb to Mount Corniolo.
The staircase goes out onto the overhanging walls that overlook the Via dell’Amore and give access to the caves of Don Fresco, meditation cells that at the beginning of the last century, a priest from Riomaggiore, Don Andrea Fresco, dug by chisel adorning them with sacred symbols.
At the top of the mountain you will cross new vineyards and experimental vegetable gardens planted by the Cinque Terre National Park and now managed by local private individuals; here the hiker is satisfied by the fatigue of the climb, with a fantastic panorama that on December and January nights is embellished by the grandiose Manarola Crib, illuminated by 15 thousand light bulbs, set up on the Croci hill by Mario Andreoli a retiree from Manarola.
Once you leave the summit which stands at 249 meters above sea level the path begins its descent to Manarola through old terraced vineyards, now abandoned, supported by dry stone walls and then forking: on the right towards the church square and on the left towards the Marina, passing through the Red House that was so dear to the famous painter Antonio Discovolo.
Given the persistence of the closure of the Via dell’Amore due to the lack of funds for securing the path that runs along the sea that connects Riomaggiore to Manarola in just 20 minutes, to date the path n. 531 is the only way that links the two villages without using trains, cars or boats.