My pandemic tale from Italy

Where to begin? The crickets have been chirping here on the blog this past year, and now I’ll tell you why. This past year has been the most trying and tumultuous that we’ve ever experienced. The Covid-19 pandemic led us to worry not only about our health but also about how to support our family. We went from living quite comfortable lives to seeing our livelihoods whither to null. For a family income based 100% on tourism, quite likely the industry hit hardest by the pandemic, it was a devastating blow. Being both pragmatic and proactive, my husband and I immediately took drastic measures to reduce our expenditures to the absolute bare minimum.

I won’t lie, the pandemic and its economic consequences forced us to eat a big ol’ piece of humble pie.

We gave up our office, closed contracts, sold our second car, delayed our mortgage and watched every penny we spent. Yes, we had savings but who could have ever imagined that we’d have to face such extreme circumstances for such an extended period of time? As business owners we knew, and time proved, that we couldn’t rely on the Italian government to help us make ends meet. My husband and I dusted off and polished our résumés and sent them everywhere imaginable. It wasn’t long before we discovered that there was essentially no chance of work in the midst of an economic contraction, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Great Depression.

With a stroke of luck I started my Covid pivot in November 2020 as a substitute teacher in the Italian public school system. I’m now working full time at the elementary school in Monterosso. I had always thought I’d teach when I lived in the States but I never in a million years thought I’d teach here in Italy.

We’ve learned that, for as difficult as it has been, there’s always a silver lining.

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

This pandemic pushed us out of our comfort zones. It forced us to take risks that we otherwise would have never taken. I’ve (re)discovered my love for teaching. My husband is on a promising path for a new career. This past year we’ve gained clarity on what are true necessities and what are luxuries. Spoiler alert: Most everything we thought were necessities were actually luxuries. We’ve learned to swallow our pride and ask for help when we need it. We’ve learned to not take our health for granted. And perhaps most importantly, we’ve learned to appreciate more even though we have less.

We still have a long road ahead of us, but with hard work, a bit of luck and a good dose of optimism — and grit — we should make it out the other side all the stronger.

Our very first day out of lockdown, April 27, 2020

“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitude.” -Charles Swindoll


P.S. You might be wondering what this all means for me and Cinque Terre Insider. I have every intention to continue with the blog and now that I’ve managed to overcome my Covid-19 writer’s block (I felt like I couldn’t write trivial posts until I addressed the much bigger issues at hand) posts should be more forthcoming. I’ve been active on social media this past year so be sure to “like” and follow Cinque Terre Insider on Facebook and Instagram (I’ve been doing lots of live feeds and videos on Facebook so be sure to check those out!).

Once the school year ends in June I will be changing hats and I’ll be back at the helm of Riomaggiore Reservations (our family-run rental agency in Riomaggiore). Due to the pandemic we’ve scaled things back considerably (we’ll be renting just one studio and three private rooms to visitors to our area) but you should still expect warm hospitality with direct access to my insider knowledge, sparkling clean accommodations and budget-friendly pricing. Fingers crossed that the pandemic situation improves so we can all get back to living and traveling again!

Amy Inman, American expat and wearer of many hats

Italy 2020: To go, or not to go

Considering calling off your 2020 Italian vacation because of the coronavirus? Hold your horses. The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified Italy as Level 2 and their advisory is directed at two specific subgroups of travelers: “Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.”

My advice? Unless you fall into one of those two categories (aging adult or infirm) take your finger off the cancel button. Research your existing bookings and their cancellation policies (and know until what date you can opt out without penalty). This is a dynamic situation, unless you are due to depart immediately there’s no need for a rash decision—watch & wait.

Here are the most reliable and credible resources that you should be referencing:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus information:

Travel advisories:

World Health Organization

Coronavirus information:

Travel advisories:

Above all, don’t let sensational headlines or panic cloud your judgement. Here in the Cinque Terre “la dolce vita” is still happening, just with extra hand washing thrown in the mix.


Upcoming events in the Cinque Terre

Keep an eye on this post as I will be publishing flyers for upcoming events in the Cinque Terre (and I will continue to update throughout the summer). The events are posted in chronological order.

Enjoy! Buon divertimento!


Anchovy fest, Monterosso (September 21st)

This event was canceled due to the weather alert and will be rescheduled in the near future.

What’s going on with the Via dell’Amore?

Update 2017:  The works on the Via dell’Amore are at a complete standstill.  The local city  hall is waiting on national public funds to be released to pay for the extensive repair costs.  It sounds like it could be a very, very long wait.  *sigh*

The Via dell’Amore (Lovers’ Lane) connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola and is the most famous portion of the Sentiero Azzurro (the path along the coast that connects all five villages of the Cinque Terre).  The Via dell’Amore has become a world-famous landmark in its own right, and is especially popular with visitors to the area (as it’s an easy 20 minute stroll along the waterfront rather than a vigorous hike like the remainder of the Sentiero Azzurro).  For locals, it has played an integral role in unifying the two villages and their residents.

A wedding party traveling from Riomaggiore to Manarola on the Via dell'Amore.   photo credit: M. Ravecca, Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

A wedding party traveling from Riomaggiore to Manarola on the Via dell’Amore.
photo credit: M. Ravecca, Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

Since its creation in the early 1900s, the Via dell’Amore has faced numerous periods of closure due to rock slides. Eventually, a tunnel was constructed for a portion of the path that was particularly prone to slides and steel netting was pinned to the mountainside in other areas at risk.  Obviously, the unique geography of this land with its steeps cliffs and rocky terrain makes for a constant struggle to keep slides at bay despite safety measures.  In September of 2012 an extensive slide closed the Via dell’Amore until present day.

The Via dell'Amore in the 60s/70s, before safety measures were instated. photo credit:  Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

The Via dell’Amore in the 60s/70s, before safety measures were instated.
photo credit: Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

Regarding the Via dell’Amore’s most recent closure, here are the facts:

  • September 24, 2012:  A rockslide on the Via dell’Amore injures four Australian tourists, two of which are hospitalized.

photo credit: Pistelli

photo credit: Pistelli

  • From that moment, the Via dell’Amore is officially closed by local ordinance and is sequestered by the Italian Procura (prosecutor’s office) while the slide and its cause are under investigation.
  • February 25, 2013:  The Italian Procura releases the Via dell’Amore back to the Comune di Riomaggiore, under explicit directions that the path is not to be reopened to the public until it is messa in sicurezza (deemed safe).
  • March 14, 2013:  The Regione Liguria proffers €800,000 euro to help with costs for the messa in sicurezza of the Via dell’Amore.  These funds were originally earmarked for a different project in our territory.
  • April 18, 2013:  Riomaggiore’s mayor as well as numerous experts in geological hazards perform their first official inspection of the Via dell’Amore.
  • April 22, 2013:  After the inspection, the Comune di Riomaggiore proposes that an extensive study be conducted by geologists and other professionals in the sector, detailing the current state of the path (and the terrain both above and below it) and what operations will be required in order to make the Via dell’Amore safe.  This is the beginning of a long and arduous process (and paper trail).
  • September 26, 2014:  An accord is signed between the Comune di Riomaggiore, Regione Liguria and the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (the Italian railway) to authorize work on the portion of the Via dell’Amore directly above the Manarola railway station.
  • January 13, 2015:  Work on the portion of the Via dell’Amore above the railway station in Manarola begins.  Works for this phase will extend from the railway station in Manarola to the Bar Via dell’Amore (circa 200 meters).


  • April 3, 2015:  Inauguration for the reopening of the first 200 meters of the Via dell’Amore (from the Manarola railway station to the Bar Via dell’Amore).
  • April 3, 2015:  The Regione di Liguria issues a press release pledging 1.5 million euro towards the Via dell’Amore project and promises another portion of the path will reopen before the end of 2015.

photo credit:  Comune di Riomaggiore

photo credit: Comune di Riomaggiore

Due to miles and miles of bureaucratic red tape and the slow motion grindings of Italy, the future of the Via dell’Amore at the moment looks grim.  The best case scenario for 2015 is that the portion of the Via dell’Amore between the Manarola railway station and the Bar Via dell’Amore will reopen.  As this is just one portion of the path (experts have divided the work into a total of seven sections based on geological surveys), you can probably imagine just how long the works on the Via dell’Amore will take to conclude.

photo credit: G. Pecunia, Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

photo credit: G. Pecunia, Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

For locals, the Via dell’Amore is more than just a touristic attraction; it’s the lifeline between two medieval villages.  It’s a place for elderly residents to sit in the sun and reminisce with one another.  It’s a place for young families to take their little ones on their first walks.  The closure of the Via dell’Amore is much more than just an inconvenience to visitors to our area, it’s the denial of a legacy to locals.  As can be imagined, villagers are feeling very disheartened and upset.  It’s in everyone’s interest to reopen the historic path as soon as possible.  The question remains, will it happen?  

photo credit:  Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

photo credit: Riomaggioresi Nel Mondo archives

Want to know a little more about the history of the Via dell’Amore?  Check out this article published on the Smithsonian website, penned by Rick Steves.

Want to follow the progress of the Via dell’Amore on the official Comune di Riomaggiore website?  Brushing up on your Italian beforehand is recommended: Situazione Via Dell’Amore

Want to see my most recent post on the Via dell’Amore?  Click here.  

Current status of the Cinque Terre “Sentiero Azzurro” (Coastal Trail)

Latest update: October, 2017 

There’s a lot of (mis)information out there about what trails in the Cinque Terre are open or closed at the moment, so I’m hoping to clear up any confusion.

The most famous hiking path in the Cinque Terre is the Sentiero Azzurro (the so-called “blue” coastal trail that connects all five villages, also known as SVA).  There are currently two sections of the coastal trail that are open (the sections between Corniglia and Vernazza and between Vernazza and Monterosso) while the other two sections are currently closed. 

Let me break down the four sections of the coastal trail for you and give you some details for each one.

Riomaggiore to Manarola:  The famous Via dell’Amore (Lovers’ Lane) which can be classified as a walk or stroll (not a hike) has been closed since 2012 due to extensive landslides. There’s no hope of it reopening in 2017 as no works are currently in progress (thanks to a lack of funding and Italian bureaucracy *sigh*).  Learn more about the Via dell’Amore here.

  • Alternate trail:  At the moment, the primary alternative trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola (called the Beccara, trail #531) has been closed to the public due to pending litigation (more details on that can be found here).  While super steep and intense, the Beccara was a straightforward way to hike between the two villages.  My friends at Cinque Terre Trekking in Manarola have mapped an alternate route (albeit longer and not so direct) for avid hikers wanting to connect between the two villages (see below). img_2907Starting on trail 501 in Riomaggiore (you’ll find the trailhead behind the village’s castle) connect to trails 530 – 532 – 532C – 502 – 506V – 506.  This loop is circa 5.8km (3.6 miles) with 420 meters of positive elevation gain.  If you’re on Instagram, I recommend following @cinqueterretrek for gorgeous Cinque Terre trail photos and some inspiration!

Manarola to Corniglia: This portion of the coastal trail has been closed since 2011 due to landslide; at this point we do not have an expected reopen date.  However, don’t be discouraged as the alternative trail for this portion of the coastal trail is actually one of my favorites (and is actually much more beautiful than the original!).

  • Alternate trail: via Volastra (trail 506 to 586 to 587) From Manarola, trail #506 makes its way up the hillside, climbing through the terraced vineyards.  Once you’ve reached Volastra (a beautiful little village off of the sea) the trail connects with trail number 586 and takes you through the olives groves and then descends down into Corniglia on trail 587.  As Corniglia is already located up off of the sea, the descent isn’t too steep.  This alternate route between Manarola and Corniglia takes roughly 2 to 2 1/2 hours (diffulty level: medium to difficult).

TIP:  Keep in mind that the most difficult portion of this alternate route is the section of trail 506 (as this is the incline from sea level in Manarola up to 333 meters/1,094 feet above sea level in Volastra).  If you prefer, it is possible to catch a bus from Riomaggiore (two per day during peak-season) or Manarola (multiple buses each day) to Volastra and hike the latter two trails to Corniglia.

Corniglia to Vernazza*: This portion of the blue coastal trail (SVA) is currently open and takes approx. 1 1/2 hours to hike (difficulty level: medium to difficult). As you approach Vernazza you’ll have some stellar views over the village!

Vernazza to Monterosso*:  This is the most difficult portion of the coastal trail (not counting the alternate route between Riomaggiore and Manarola).  Approx. hiking time is 2 hours (difficulty level: strenuous).

*Keep in mind that in order to hike the Sentiero Azzurro a special national park hiking pass (€7.50 per person, per calendar day) must be purchased.  In alternative, you can purchase the Cinque Terre Card  (€16 per person, per calendar day) which will include not just the hiking along the coastal trail, but also unlimited trains for the day between the villages as well as use of the buses in the villages.  See more details about the different passes available by clicking here.


Only the coastal trail (Sentiero Azzurro) requires payment.  All of the other trails (including the aforementioned alternate trails) can be hiked free of charge.

I’m oftentimes asked about the status of the Cinque Terre trails because people have heard that the majority of the trails are closed. FALSE. Out of a total of 48 signmarked trails in the Cinque Terre, 5 are currently closed. FIVE.  But don’t take my word for it, you can see for yourself on the Cinque Terre National Park website.  No matter how long your stay, there’s plenty of hiking to be done here!

While we’re on the subject, I recommend reading my post on the 8 things you need to hike the Cinque Terre.

Amy hiking to Monesteroli

Yours truly, doing one of the things I love most… hiking the Cinque Terre! Photo: Nicole O’Neil

Happy trails!


Cinque Terre Card: 2022 updated rates

TrenItalia, Italy’s national railway system, has recently raised rates which has caused the multi-service Cinque Terre Card (which includes the hiking pass + unlimited train trips between the five villages, La Spezia Centrale and Levanto) to increase in price.

See below for the new rates, valid from March to November, 2022:

Where can I buy a Cinque Terre Card?

Cinque Terre Cards can be purchased in person at the Cinque Terre National Park TI offices throughout the Cinque Terre or at the train stations in Levanto or La Spezia Centrale. The passes can also be purchased online via the national park’s website, which I highly recommend doing so that you can avoid standing in long lines.

What about the hiking pass? Has it increased in price as well?

Unlike the multi-service Cinque Terre Card, the hiking pass (a.k.a Trekking Card) has not seen an increase in price (as it does not include the trains). To refresh your memories, here’s the current rates for the hiking pass:

Cinque Terre Walking Park: July 2021

Guided Tours & Excursions with Cinque Terre Walking Park

The Cinque Terre National Park offers free tours & excursions for those who have purchased the multi-service Cinque Terre Card (€16 per day, the card includes the hiking pass, unlimited trains between the Cinque Terre + Levanto and La Spezia, the ATC buses in the villages, and affiliated public restrooms). More info on the card can be found here.

See below for July’s schedule:

The calendar is color coded; dates in blue are walking tours, yellow dates indicate trekking (a.k.a. hiking) tours and dates in pink refer to e-bike tours.

Cin cin! Some tours offer the possibility for an optional local wine tasting (for an additional fee).

Advance reservations for tours are required and can be made either via email ( or by phone (+39 0187 743 500).

Buon divertimento!

Cinque Terre ferry schedule: Summer 2021

If you’re planning to visit the Cinque Terre this summer you’re probably keen on the idea of taking the ferries between the villages. Don’t forget that the ferries stop in just four of the five villages (Corniglia is located high above the sea so there’s no docking point there). The ferries also run further down the coast to picturesque Portovenere (which I highly recommend visiting).

Here’s the ferry schedule for this summer:

La Spezia – Portovenere – Cinque Terre – Levanto ferry schedule


The current rate for an all-day hop-on, hop-off pass within the Cinque Terre is €27 per adult / €15 per child (ages 7 to 11 years). If you’d like to include Portovenere with that pass the price increases to €35 per adult (but remains €15 per child). Children 6 years and under are free when traveling with an adult.

There’s also the possibility to buy point-to-point tickets. To give you an idea of pricing:

Riomaggiore to Manarola: €7 adult / €5 child

Riomaggiore to Vernazza: €11 adult / €5 child

Riomaggiore to Monterosso: €13 adult / €5 child

Riomaggiore to Portovenere: €14 adult / €10 child


Unless you are a group of 20+ people, tickets are not sold in advance. It’s recommended to turn up 30 minutes prior to your first departure to purchase your tickets at the stand near the docking point.

INSIDER TIP: While the website mentions they accept credit cards it has been my experience that oftentimes they do not. Rather than scramble to look for an ATM at the last moment, bring enough cash to cover your tickets — just in case.

The ferries are run by Consorzio Marittimo Turistico 5 Terre Golfo dei Poeti. You can check out their official website and full offerings here.

Heads up: Don’t confuse the ferry service (which is essentially like a water taxi taking you rather quickly from point A to point B) with the small boat private or semi-private tours. While typically more expensive than the ferries, these boat tours offer a relaxed pace and intimate ambience with optional swim stops and aperitivi. If you are interested in a private or semi-private boat tour please support local. If you’re interested drop me a message and I’ll forward you a list of tried and true local boat tour companies.


How to reserve public beaches in Monterosso this summer

We’re into our second pandemic summer here in Italy. In an effort to ensure adequate social distancing, Monterosso’s mayor has passed an ordinance requiring reservations at the village’s public beaches (just like last year). The beaches, which are free of charge, have been equipped with numbered poles and each reservation allows for space for two adults + children next to one of these markers. These beaches are overseen by stewards from the village’s ProLoco association.

Don’t forget that in this post we are talking about public beaches, as an alternative there are also private beaches where you can pay to rent an umbrella and a sun lounger for the day. Usually at these private beach clubs you can just turn up but during peak times they can fill up so beware.


Time slots for the public beaches are released just 40 hours in advance, so there’s no possibility to reserve weeks (or months) prior.

If you are staying in Monterosso be sure to speak to your hotel or host first as they have the possibility to reserve for you.

These are the three possible time slots:

1. 9am to 12pm

2. 12pm to 3pm

3. 3pm to 7pm.

There are four beaches to choose from:

1. Fegina public beach

Fegina public beach in Monterosso

2. Il Gigante public beach

Il Gigante public beach in Monterosso

3. Portiglione public beach

Portiglione public beach in Monterosso

4. Tragagià public beach

The first three options are in Fegina (the side of the village closest to the train station) whereas Tragagià is the only option in Monterosso Vecchio (the historical center).

Book your spot, step-by-step guide

For non-Italians the reservation process might seem a bit daunting (as the website is only in Italian) but I will walk you through it.

1. Go to:

2. Scroll down and click on “Per visitatori giornalieri nel Comune e proprietari di seconde case.”

3. Now click the arrow to see the different beach options and then choose one (hint: chances are you’ll probably have to try all of them before you find a spot available).

4. A map will come up of that particular beach. Scroll down to the very bottom and choose your date. Don’t forget: Slots are set to release 40 hours in advance (so you can’t book far in advance).

5. After you’ve chosen your date if you see this message it means there are no spots currently available for that particular day. Boo!

6. Try changing dates and/or beaches until you find an available date. If you see this on your screen… JACKPOT! Choose your preferred time slot and click “PRENOTA” (reserve).

7. Now fill in your details to confirm the reservation and click “PRENOTA.”

Honestly, I doubt they will read or pay much attention to the “Note” section so I wouldn’t invest much time or effort there.

8. In theory at this point you’ve done everything correctly and you should receive a confirmation email to the address you provided. Save that email or take a screenshot so you can show it to the beach steward. You’re all set!

Please be considerate. Be sure to cancel your reservation (via the link in your confirmation email) should you not be able to make it to the beach at your allotted time.

Buon bagno!

August 2020 events in the Cinque Terre

In a year that has been anything but ordinary, the Cinque Terre villages are seeking to return to some semblance of normal (albeit very, very tentatively).

Expect to find low-key entertainment events with social distancing measures in effect this August. While everything listed takes place outdoors, be sure to bring a face mask (and please wear it when necessary). Italy’s Covid-19 situation is currently under control with its R0 less than 1 — we’d like to keep it that way.

I will continue to update this post as events are announced and details are released.

Stay tuned!


Monterosso’s Corone Point
(reservations required)
Monterosso (reservation required)
Manarola (reservation required)
Monterosso (reservation required)
Events taking place in Manarola
Events at Monterosso’s Soviore Sanctuary

What to expect if you travel to Italy this summer

Italy was among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the Western world. After two months of strict lockdown, the Bel Paese is finally starting to reopen. On May 4th we officially entered phase 2, a stage when we must learn to coexist with the virus and take extra safety precautions to prevent its spread.  Starting June 3rd, Italy will reopen its borders to travelers from the EU and Schengen states with no quarantine required.  As for when the rest of the world will be invited in, no date has been currently released (although we do know with certainty that it won’t happen prior to June 15th).


Those willing to travel this summer will see Italy as it hasn’t been seen in decades… with a fraction of its usual tourists.  On the flip side, those coming should expect (and employ) extra safety measures.


If you plan to visit, know that you will need to wear a face mask and socially distance yourself from others. In Italy, the minimum social distance is 1 meter or 3.28 feet (so roughly a yard), with an exception made for those who live in the same household.


Face masks for adults and children aged six years and older are necessary when using public transport, while indoors in public spaces and outdoors when social distancing cannot be observed

In general, when entering businesses, public venues or points of interest expect to find:

  • Multi-language signs posted with safety measures
  • Temperatures being taken, with readings above 37.5° Celsius (99.5° Farenheit) resulting in denied access
  • Readily available and strategically placed hand sanitizing gel, for use by both patrons and staff

Each sector has detailed and specific Covid-19 protocols to follow.  Below you’ll find a brief summary of those measures that will most directly affect travelers this summer.


  • Take-out establishments must not exceed their posted maximum occupancy, patrons must queue outside (1 meter apart) while waiting to enter
  • Advance reservations should be made for restaurants with seating
  • While seated in a restaurant, a safety distance of at least 1 meter should be maintained between patrons (unless physical barriers are used)
  • Buffets are banned
  • Wait staff must wear face masks and disinfect their hands before approaching each table
  • Masks must be worn by patrons except when they are seated at the table
  • Everything that comes into contact with patrons (including menus, salt and pepper shakers, oil & vinegar dispensers, etc.) must be disinfected after each use

Accommodation facilities (hotels, B&Bs, AirBnB-style vacation rentals, etc.):

  • Guests are required to wear face masks
  • Hosts or staff members who come into contact with guests must wear face masks (unless a physical barrier is in place), minimal contact is preferred
  • Rooms must be adequately ventilated before clients arrive and after they depart
  • Specific and detailed disinfectant cleaning of the accommodation must take place post check-out and at regular intervals in communal spaces



  • Patrons are required to wear face masks for the entire duration of their visit
  • Numbers of visitors are limited and strictly enforced, advance reservations should be made
  • Audioguides must be sanitized after each use
  • Cleaning and disinfection, with particular attention to commonly touched surfaces, must take place in frequent intervals



Italy’s beaches will also be subject to social distancing measures.

  • Private beach clubs are required to create a buffer zone of 10 square meters around each beach umbrella and must follow cleaning and sanitizing protocol
  • Local mayors will be responsible for enacting and enforcing safety measures at public beaches
  • Individual beach sports (swimming, surfing, windsurfing, etc.) are permitted but group sports (like beach volleyball, beach soccer, etc.) are not


Monterosso’s Fegina beach on May 20th, 2020 – Photo credit: Christine Mitchell



  • TrenItalia trains are currently allowing 1/3 of their normal capacity on board in order to guarantee adequate social distancing
  • Passengers are required to wear masks and seats are clearly marked to indicate where it’s possible to sit
  • Other safety measures include dedicated doors for entering/exiting the train, electronic tickets with QR codes and social distancing at the stations

Photos courtesy of Chiara Sommovigo

If you are interested in seeing the 18-page safety protocol approved by Italy’s regions, you can check it out here (in italiano).

If you do decide to visit Italy this summer, please be mindful and respectful. Italy’s wounded economy gladly welcomes visitors as it attempts to rebound, but its citizens (and their psyches) are still healing. Please tread lightly.






Coronavirus in Italy: Keep calm & carry on

Please note: This is an ever-evolving story due to the dynamic nature of contagion. All data was correct at the time it was published. Periodic updates will be posted as footnotes to this post.

Let me start by saying, as of today there have been zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Liguria (the region in which the five Cinque Terre villages are located). Because we neighbor regions where there have been confirmed cases, our regional government has enacted special precautions which include closing schools and public venues as well as canceling sporting events until March 1, 2020. On that date the situation will be reevaluated and the ordinance will either be lifted or extended.

The Italian government is taking the coronavirus seriously and they have implemented measures to isolate the outbreak. A coordinated response has also been enacted to quell alarm and the dissemination of fake news.

Despite media hype, the coronavirus is considered only slightly more dangerous than the average flu and mortality rates confirm that. The most challenging aspect of the coronavirus from a logistical standpoint is its rapid transmission.

There are currently 283 confirmed cases in Italy, with the majority in the regions of Lombardy (206 cases) and Veneto (38 cases). Overall, infection rates continue to be very low in Italy, which has a population of 60.48 million people.

What can you do to limit the spread of the coronavirus?

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Avoid contact with people who have respiratory illnesses
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Do not take antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor
  • Clean surfaces with disinfectants
  • Wear a face mask ONLY if you think you are sick or assisting the sick
  • In Italy: Call 112 if you have fever, cough or respiratory difficulties, especially if you have recently been to China or you have traveled to identified areas of contagion

Most importantly, keep calm and don’t panic. It’s currently life as usual in the Cinque Terre, with some extra hand washing thrown in the mix.


UPDATE (25 February 2020, 15:15)

Less than an hour after publishing this post it was made public that a woman in Alassio, Liguria (the westernmost portion of our region, the Cinque Terre is located on the eastern border with Tuscany) tested positive to the coronavirus. She has been hospitalized and is listed as being in good condition.

Works on the Cinque Terre railway line between January 7 and March 7, 2020

First and foremost, BUON ANNO NUOVO!

The year 2020 in the Cinque Terre will start off with major works (amounting to €3.7 million) on the railway lines. If you plan to visit our area between January 7th and March 7th expect less frequent trains as they will be running on just one line (for both directions) instead of two. Is this a problem for visitors? Not really, so long as you plan out which trains you plan to catch in advance (using the TrenItalia app, official website: or the handy schedule below) so as to avoid wasting time at the stations. In most cases there will be one train per hour in each direction during prime time but there is an instance in which there’s a two hour gap between trains (between the 8am and 10am trains).

The planned works will focus on the Riomaggiore train station where they will expand the second platform and modernize the station itself. Works will also take place in the tunnel that connects La Spezia to the Cinque Terre; the current drainage system will be updated and security measures will be optimized.