Storm warning for Cinque Terre: August 13 & 14, 2018

Starting at 9pm today and carrying through until 3pm on August 14th, a level orange storm warning has been issued for the Cinque Terre and surrounding areas in Liguria. On the map below, the Cinque Terre falls in section C.

What does this mean? In Italy, there are four distinct colors regarding weather forecasts:

GREEN (0) is no danger whatsoever, YELLOW (1) is slight danger, ORANGE (2) is moderate danger and RED (3) is the highest level of alert for predicted extreme storm conditions.

Given the 2011 flood that affected Vernazza & Monterosso, these storm warnings are not taken lightly by local city officials.

In the case of the Comune di Riomaggiore (which includes the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Groppo and Volastra) level orange and red storm warnings mean that local businesses and schools located within potential flood zones are required to remain closed. Also, cars parked in potential flood areas must be moved to other locations. Tour groups will not be allowed to disembark in Riomaggiore or Manarola, whether by train or bus. Lastly, all hiking trails will be officially closed until the storm warning has been reduced. The other two city halls in the Cinque Terre (Comune di Vernazza and Comune di Monterosso) take similar measures during level orange (or red) storm warnings.

If you are in the Cinque Terre now, exercise caution in the event of heavy rains (in which case, stay indoors and away from flood susceptible areas). Businesses outside of designated flood zones should be unaffected and open for business as usual.

Silver lining: Maybe it will be a good day to catch up writing in your travel journal?


Immerse yourself in the new Cinque Terre Summer School

Wanting to delve into Italian culture, language and traditions in an unforgettable setting?  The new Cinque Terre Summer School could be the perfect opportunity for you!



Lingua, cultura, territorio These are the three cornerstones on which is founded our educational offer.  In the morning Italian language and culture classes, in the early afternoon workshops dedicated to the discovery of the local area and culture.  A teaching proposal specifically designed to offer a full immersion into the linguistic and cultural environment and to promote the natural process of learning in the context of a peculiar microcosm, where the school is expanding in the region and the entire community becomes school.



This year, which is the first year the summer school will be offered, the course will last a total of three weeks between September 7th and 26th.  The classes will be based in Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five Cinque Terre villages.  There will be two levels available (beginner to intermediate or intermediate to advanced) with each course entailing 35 hours per week. There is the possibility to book just one or two weeks of the summer school but priority will be given to those wanting to enroll for all three weeks.  The rates are as follows:

1 week of Cinque Terre Summer School: €300 per person

2 weeks of Cinque Terre Summer School:  €600 per person

3 weeks of Cinque Terre Summer School: €800* per person

*A 10% discount will be applied to this rate for the first 10 university students that enroll for the entire 3-week course.

N.B. The aforementioned rates do not include accommodation.  Staff members are currently working on creating a master list of potential accommodations in order to help their students find lodging for the duration of their studies.

For more information on the Cinque Terre School, click here.  Be sure to fill out the form on the 5th page in order to receive more information and specifics.  Space is limited so it’s recommended to act quickly if interested.

The Cinque Terre Summer School is endorsed by Rimazùu – Società di Lingua e Cultura Riomaggiorese and the Comune di Riomaggiore.  Staff members for the summer school include professors from universities in Pisa, Genoa and Marseille.

Updated to add:  All ages (18 and up) are welcome!



The Giro d’Italia in the Cinque Terre

photo credit: Imperia Post

For those of you that don’t know, the Giro d’Italia is Italy’s premier cycling race (comparable to the Tour de France).  It’s a pretty big deal.  And for the first time since 2009, it’s heading through the Cinque Terre. You can see the route map and expected passing times here.


This is great news for sports & cycling enthusiasts but not such great news for those planning to arrive by car to the Cinque Terre on Tuesday, May 12th, 2015.  The cyclists will be starting in Chiavari, making their way through the Cinque Terre, and finishing up in La Spezia.

In the Comune di Riomaggiore the Litoranea delle Cinque Terre (a.k.a. SP370) will be closed to traffic from 2pm to approx. 6:30pm.  Other comuni (La Spezia, Vernazza, Monterosso and Levanto) will be having road closures for presumably different times (depending on when the cyclists are expected to pass by).


The notice of road closure times signed by Riomaggiore’s mayor

If you are planning to drive to the Cinque Terre that day, speak with your host in advance to see what recommendations they might have (whether that be to park elsewhere and train in or to arrive before/after road closure times).

The underwhelming partial reopening of the Via dell’Amore

In early April, 2015, a small inauguration party was held with local politicians and Italian railway representatives for the reopening of circa 200 meters of the Via dell’Amore (Lovers’ Lane).


photo credit: Città della Spezia News

This tract, considered the first of seven phases of the Via dell’Amore project, includes the beginning of the path from the train station in Manarola to the Bar Via dell’Amore (which is currently closed). For more details on the Via dell’Amore, its history and the current works in progress, check out my previous post here.

As it currently stands, the remainder of the path (from just after the Bar Via dell’Amore to Riomaggiore) is closed while works continue to contain slides and improve safety measures. Statements from the Regione di Liguria  pledge continued funding of 1.5 million euro towards the project with promises of reopening another portion of the path before the end of 2015.

I took a little outing to Manarola to check out the reopened portion of the Via dell’Amore myself.  I was disappointed (but not surprised) to find that signage at the Manarola train station was lacking regarding the current status of the path.   I found myself walking with numerous visitors who were clueless that only a very small portion of the Via dell’Amore is open.  Granted, had they inquired at the Tourist Info points they would have received accurate status details but a strategically placed sign or two would save everyone a lot of time and confusion.

The extensive work that has been done to secure the first 200 meters of the path is evident. But the Via dell’Amore, as it currently stands, is anticlimactic.  It’s important to remember that this is a massive project and this is just the first of many steps towards the ultimate goal of a complete reopening of the Via dell’Amore.

I couldn’t help but cringe when I read the English translation. I’d happily offer my translation services for free!

At the moment, my advice is to skip the Via dell’Amore.  In the meantime, you can take a lovely stroll in Manarola out to Punta Bonfiglio. Or, if you’re in Riomaggiore you can take a panoramic walk around the village on via Signorini, which starts at the Riomaggiore train station.

If you’d like to see the behind the scenes work that took place to reopen these first 200 meters of the Via dell’Amore, check this out.

Tasso di soggiorno: Cinque Terre’s new “city tax”


Perhaps you’ve been online trying to find accommodations for your stay in the Cinque Terre and you’ve noticed that people are mentioning a new tax for those staying in the area.  Like many popular Italian cities (Rome, Florence, Venice, etc.), the Cinque Terre villages are following suit and imposing a city tax on visitors staying here.

Before you get too excited, don’t worry… this tax shouldn’t make or break you.  The tax is 1 euro, per person, per day, for a maximum of three days (so the maximum city tax per person for any single stay would be 3 euro).  This amount will need to be paid directly to your hotel or the owner of the room or apartment you have rented (they, in turn, will have to fill out paperwork and submit the tax to the Comune).  As it currently stands, the new tasso di soggiorno will apply to those that stay in the villages within the Comune di Riomaggiore and the Comune di Vernazza between the dates of March 1st and October 31st, 2015.  This means if you stay in the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Groppo, Volastra, Corniglia, Prevo or Vernazza you should expect to pay the city tax this year.  At the moment, the Comune di Monterosso has not approved a tasso di soggiorno so those staying there are exempt.  

The city tax was not welcome by most locals in the Cinque Terre, many of which are dependent on tourism for their livelihood.  City leaders in both the Comune di Riomaggiore and Comune di Vernazza assure locals that this city tax will help with the costs of maintaining not just the villages but also the surrounding territory, trails and dry stone terraces.  Time will only tell if that will truly be the case.  In the meantime, our fingers are crossed.