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Popular Italian Hiking Trail Reopens in Time for Summer

by Barbara Rogers

May 9, 2024

© Porojnicu | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

Europe’s best-known hiking trail, connecting the five villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre, will finally be opened for its entire 12-kilometer (7.5 miles) length. Planned for reopening in July (in time for summer family travel), the most famous section of the trail is between Riomaggiore and Manarola and known as the Via dell’Amore or “Path of Love.”

 

The Via dell’Amore, carved from the steep, hard rock face above the sea, has been closed since it was damaged by landslides in 2012. It has since undergone extensive restoration that involved securing the rocks above and below the trail with 28,000 feet of steel mesh and planting more than 8,000 plants to stabilize the surrounding soil.

 

The full trail, known as the Sentiero Azzurro, follows the precipitous coast, clinging to the step cliffs and almost always overlooking the sea. The trail passes through the center of all five towns, four of which cluster around tiny ports at sea level. One of the towns, Corniglia, perches atop a point 600 feet above the sea.

 

The trail approaches each of the other four villages from above with postcard views down on to the cluster of colorful houses around the tiny harbors. Portions of it are not for the faint of heart, but the Via dell’Amore is wider, with a smoother walking surface and secure railings suitable for families with younger children.

 

To walk any portion of the trail, you’ll need to reserve a pass online, costing about $7.50 per person ($15 during the peak tourist season) for a one-day pass. Children ages 4–11 are about $4.50 ($9 in peak season). Another option is a pass that includes train fare with the hiking permit, so you can walk part of the trail and take the train between other towns.

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