Reopening of the Via dell’Amore? Don’t hold your breath

Spring 2021.  That’s the projected reopening date for the Via dell’Amore, the beloved and world-famous Lovers’ Lane connecting the Cinque Terre villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola.  The path has been closed to the public since September of 2012 when a rock slide overtook a portion of the path and injured three Australian tourists.  Since then, only a very small portion (circa 200 meters) of the path reopened in 2015.

It has taken over five years to simply procure the €12 million needed to complete the Via dell’Amore project.  FIVE YEARS.  Just to put things in perspective, with an estimated 2 to 3 million visitors per year to the Cinque Terre and with a ticket price of €5 per person (which was the last price that was charged before the Via dell’Amore was closed, although the current rate is actually €7.50 for the hiking pass), the path could finance its own reopening in one year.  And let’s not even mention the potential mancato guadagno (loss of earnings) in nine years of closure as the figures are staggering.  There really is no excuse for such an extended closure and the situation has been under close scrutiny by the international community.  Had the public sector been unable to finance the project in a timely manner, private investors should have been allowed to enter the scene to finance the project and get the ball rolling.

Where’s the money coming from for the Via dell’Amore project?

€2 million from the Regione di Liguria (the region in which the Cinque Terre villages are located)

+ €3 million from the Ministero dell’Ambiente (Ministry of the Environment)

+ €7 million FSC funds (“Fondo per lo Sviluppo e la Coesione,” funds from the Italian government for underutilized areas of the country)

= €12 million needed to complete the project & reopen the path

In 2021 elections will be held.  Is it a coincidence that the Via dell’Amore is expected to reopen that year?  Probably not.  Let’s just hope that it’s incentive enough to finally get the path back open.

More details on the Via dell’Amore can be found in my previous posts here:

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

The underwhelming partial reopening of the Via dell’Amore

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.