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Monterosso: poets, lemons and anchovies

Monterosso is a borderland, rolled up on two inlets, with its houses spread out in the sun like colored cloths and its long beaches, with sand and cabins.

Here the coastline, as if to defend this small strip of coast of the Cinque Terre, rears up and curls up in the steep cliff of Punta Mesco.

From the beaches of Fegina, where the Giant Statue dominates, you follow the steep staircase that leads to the Semaforo of the Mesco, immersed in the lush Mediterranean scrub, until you reach, at 300 meters above sea level, the remains of the church of Sant’Antonio Abbot.

This is perhaps the most fascinating panoramic point of this splendid stretch of coast from which you can clearly see all the five villages of the Cinque Terre National Park. From this view-point your gaze is lost to the promontory of the Madonna di Montenero and the sanctuary of Riomaggiore.

Less harsh than the other four villages, Monterosso was the first to welcome tourism with its hotels, bathing establishments and holiday homes.

The original village was founded on the hill of San Cristoforo by the inhabitants of Albereto, a mountain hamlet near the sanctuary of Soviore, fleeing their country destroyed by the Lombards and owes its name to the Obertenghi, Marquis founders of the “castrum”, famous for the red color of their hair.

Eugenio Montale, one of the most famous Italian poets, Genoese by birth, but from Monterosso by adoption, from the age of ten, began to spend his summers in the splendid village of the Cinque Terre, which inspired many of his works including “Ossi di sepia ”, a collection of poems that describe in detail the splendid landscape suspended between the mountain and the sea.

Monterosso is undoubtedly known worldwide for two local products: lemons and anchovies.

In May the Lemon Festival is celebrated, with its typical product used as the main ingredient for liqueurs, desserts and marinated fish, which during the event is displayed on the banquets in the square and in the shop windows.
The whole town is decorated inspired by the yellow fruit: traders are rewarded for the most beautiful showcase, while producers for the biggest and heaviest lemon of the season.

After the lemons, the Anchovy Festival is held in September: the famous blue fish, of which Monterosso boasts a very fine variety, with silvery flanks, a black-blue back, firm meat and a delicate taste.
During the festival free tastings of delicious fish are offered in its various versions (salted, fried, lemon, baked), accompanied by a bruschetta with local tomatoes and a glass of the DOC Cinque Terre white wine.