The path n. 530 – From Volastra to Telegrafo

In the network of paths of Cinque Terre, the stretch of the so-called path of the Sanctuaries has been included by using n. 530. It is mostly dirt road that from Volastra leads to the Telegrafo, passing by the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero.
The road was built in the 50s to connect La Spezia with the then isolated Cinque Terre and in the 70s after the construction of the coastal road, this old road was abandoned giving place to a relaxing location in the Mediterranean bush where the surroundings are mostly flat and access to vehicles is restricted to the owners of the land adjacent to the road.
From Volastra there is a short stretch of paved road up to the local cemetery, then on foot you may follow the dirt road that in two hours leads to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero and then in 40 minutes you may climb till the hill of the Telegraph which stands at 513 m. above sea level, where you may find a bar/restaurant. From here, you can follow onto the High Way of the Cinque Terre, that in approximately 3 hours leads to Portovenere, passing by the village of Campiglia in a stretch of uncontaminated nature with unique views.
Along the route to Montenero there are numerous vertical paths that descend to the sea. Path n. 502 leads to Manarola, path n. 532 to Corniolo, from where you can descend either to Manarola or to Riomaggiore. Path n. 501 leads to Riomaggiore as well as the S.V.A. passing by the Sanctuary of Montenero.
At the end of the flat section, when the road starts to climb with the first hairpin leading to the Telegraph, on the right you may find a small path that in 15 minutes leads to the Sanctuary of Montenero, elected as Sanctuary of Riomaggiore already in 1335 even if you have news of this worshipping place since the eighth century. From the Sanctuary using the S.V.A. path or with path n. 593 you easily reach Riomaggiore.
From the square in front of the church of Montenero you can enjoy an incredible view of all the five villages scattered along the coast till the promontory of Punta Mesco and the stretch of coast to the Gulf of La Spezia with the islands of Palmaria and Tino which closes the scenario on the background. This strategic place was once used for warning signs by lighting large fires when the Saracen pirate ships were arriving. These facts terrorized the inhabitants of these places for over 500 years not allowing the settlement on the coast.
Every Saturday before Pentecost the inhabitants of Riomaggiore rise in procession to the Sanctuary, on S.V.A. trail along which there are 13 shrines. For 3 days, inside the church, are exposed “Gli Ori di Montenero” treasure of inestimable value dating back from the nineteenth and twentieth century represented by sacred objects offered as votive gifts.

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