Since the closure of the Via dell’Amore (see my previous posts about it here and here), the ancient Beccara trail (number 531) that connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola has been marked as an alternate route. This rugged trail has existed for centuries, well before the Via dell’Amore was carved out of the rock in the early 1900s. The difference being, the Beccara is an intense hike whereas the Via dell’Amore was an easy walk. For an alternative to the Via dell’Amore similar in length and difficulty, check out my previous post about the panoramic stroll around the village of Riomaggiore.
I’d like to stress that the Beccara trail is a vigorous hike, not a walk, and therefore not for the faint of heart. The villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola are very close to one another but have a steep mountain separating them. The Beccara trail goes straight up over the top of that mountain and down the other side (so essentially all stairs up one side and all stairs down the other). The trail climbs through the vineyards and offers panoramic views. The estimated time required to hike this trail is 1 hour.
To find the trailhead for the Beccara trail (number 531) in Riomaggiore:
- Make your way to the Riomaggiore train station (if you’re in the historic center, take the pedestrian tunnel to quickly connect to the train station).
- Once you’re at the Riomaggiore train station you’ll see a bar called BAR STAZIONE on the far end of the piazza. Just to the right of this bar you’ll see a road (wide enough for a car to drive on) going up. The name of this street is via Signorini.
- Walk up via Signorini and you’ll reach a hairpin turn (where there will be a stream and some benches). Continue walking up.
- Not long after the large, multi-story red house on the left, you’ll see a very steep road branching off to the left. At this point, on the stone wall you’ll see a sign indicating MANAROLA and pointing to the left.
- Go left and up this steep and narrow road. Just before reaching the gate (which may be up or down, depending on the time of day) and the start of the parking area, you’ll see the trailhead markers and signs on your left.
- You’ve arrived to the start of the trail! Go down the stairs here, cross the bridge and start your ascent through the vineyards.
- Proper footwear (either athletic shoes or hiking books) are required.
- Pack water and snacks with you.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen! A hat and sunglasses would be nice, too.
- It’s not recommended to hike in inclement weather (as the stone steps become slippery when wet).
- Be respectful of the vineyards and the locals that tend to them by not trespassing or picking the fruit.
- Please don’t litter. Pack it in/pack it out.