Leaving the railway station of Riomaggiore, you will arrive at a small square. Turning right, you will see a tunnel which leads you towards the village's center, the port and the beach; turning left you find the stairs which go up to the famous Via dell'Amore (with a kind of elevator for handicapped persons).
The path, excavated in hard rock, winds along the coast on rocks overhanging the sea. The history of the Via dell'Amore is connected to the construction of the railway between Genoa and La Spezia (1926-28). In order to construct a tunnel between Riomaggiore and Manarola two paths on rocks overhanging the sea were necessary.
Once the railway works had been finished, the village's inhabitants understood the possibility of connecting with a short and fast street the two centers of the Cinque Terre. It was constructed a path which was called "Strada Nuova" ("New Street") by the inhabitants. In the course of the years the street was rediscovered by tourists who got fascinated by the romanticism of these places. That's why it was tried to find a more evocative name, and the street became the "Via dell'Amore" (Street of Love). But time and salt continue to erode and degrade the street, which around 1990 starts to cave in in a lot of stretches. Therefore it was necessary to close the street several times in order to carry out maintenance works.
The works executed during the last closure, took more than a year, and finished in autumn 2001; they make it possible to access to the Via dell'Amore once again. Today, during winter, the path presents itself as a silent and solitary promenade which can be enjoyed with calm, and maybe combined with a good lunch based on fish in one of the typical restaurants of Manarola or Riomaggiore.
During summer the Via dell'Amore's romantic atmosphere gets a bit disturbed by the excessive number of tourists. Nevertheless we recommend you to have a rest along the street, on one of the numerous benches excavated into the rocks. At the end of the Via dell'Amore, going downstairs, you will arrive at the railway station of Manarola.