If you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided to forgo my advice to park beneath the station at La Spezia Centrale and train to the Cinque Terre (more details on that option can be found on my blog post here).
If you’re convinced that you’ll drive to Cinque Terre and park in Riomaggiore (the first village from the city of La Spezia) I think there’s one thing you should arm yourself with: patience (lots and lots of it).
The payment parking situation here is quite confusing thanks to a lack of clear and adequate signage (this is a huge pet peeve of mine). The situation is so muddled that even Italians stop locals to ask for help (*sigh*). To say there’s room for improvement here is an understatement.
I’ve taken photos in hopes that they will help illustrate exactly where (and how) one can park in the payment parking garage in Riomaggiore.
When you turn off the Litoranea (provincial road SP-370) for Riomaggiore (SP-32), you’ll find yourself on a narrow and winding road leading down to the village. Stay to the right and keep in mind that despite the fact that there’s no median line, this road will have traffic coming in both directions.
PSA: Unless you find a place to safely pull off the road, do not stop to take photos (yes, it’s beautiful but don’t risk your life or the lives of others by making this rookie mistake).
When you arrive to the top of the village you will find yourself at a roundabout. On the opposite side of the roundabout you’ll see a Tourist Information office. Just to the left of the TI office you’ll see a flat road with a gate blocking it. On your left you’ll see a road heading downhill.
Continue driving circa 30 meters down this road and just before the gate you’ll see on your left two entrances to two garages (one is numbered 4 and the other is 5/6). These are the entrances to the payment parking garage.
There are lights posted by each gate indicating whether or not there are spaces available. If the light is green you’re good to go; if the light is red it means the garage is full.
If the light is green, pull up to the ticket machine (you’ll need to stay to the left).
Push the button to retrieve your ticket. As you pull your ticket out, the gate will automatically open so you can enter and park in an available space.
When you are ready to leave the parking structure, first take your ticket and make your way to the payment machine located near the gate at garage 4.
It’s important to note that the payment machine is finicky. You cannot pay with credit cards or your ATM card. Only cash is accepted for payment and the machine will not accept the newly introduced €20 notes (do you see why I have a hard time recommending people to drive and park in Riomaggiore?).
- 1 hour: €3.50
- 2 hours: €6
- 3 hours: €9
- 4 hours: €11
- 5 hours: €13
- 6 hours: €15
- 7 hours: €17
- 8 hours: €18
- 9 hours: €19
- From 10 hours to 24 hours: €23 flat rate
Once you’ve paid, retrieve your car and pull up near the gate (remember, you’ll need to stay to the left). Scan your ticket at the machine and the gate will lift, allowing you to exit.
A few things to remember about the Riomaggiore payment parking garage:
- It is not possible to reserve a space in advance.
- An emergency contact number is posted at the payment machine (in case you encounter unexpected difficulties or something is out of order).
- When the garage is full, your best bet is to move on (there’s really only space for one car per gate to queue, otherwise you’ll be blocking traffic and enraging locals trying to reach their dedicated parking spots).
- Do not park in the yellow lined spaces outside of the parking garage. These spaces are for local residents only and a permit is required to park there (this is a high ticket area, see my previous post for details).
- There are a few places where you can park for free, but these spaces are very limited and up to 1km from the village (I will post a follow-up better explaining the free parking options at a later date).