Punta Mesco is the mountain that closes the gulf in front of Monterosso al Mare, it is on the right side if looking at the sea. This mountain has very impressive cliffs and is characterized by steep slopes that descend to the sea.
If staying couple of days in Monterosso the locals would suggest a walk of about one hour, in direction to Levanto, in order to reach so-called "semaforo", an old abandoned lighthouse at the peak of the sea, from where you can enjoy a spectacular view over all of Cinque Terre. Not far from the lighthouse you can also visit the ruins of the hermitage of San Antonio Abate.
The landscape of Punta Mesco is very pitoresque featuring lots of terraces which locals call "fasce", a solution in the agriculture using for the cultivation of olive graves, lemon but especially of vine.
Fegina is, al already mentioned, new part of Monterosso al Mare constructed mostly in the 19th and 20th century when the vocation of this village has strongly changed in favor of tourism. The decisive moment occurred in 1870 when the railroad line was built which opened up Monterosso al Mare to the outside world.
Can you imagine that before 1870 Monterosso was only accessible by sea or by mule paths which connected the villages of the Cinque Terre. These mule paths have been maintained and used over the centuries and now provide hikers with a more intimate view of the sea-swept 5Terre.
Fegina with its sizable sand beach and number of hotels is the most touristy developed part in whole of Cinque Terre. All this resorts are stretched along via Passeggiata Lungomare, as its name says promenade along the sea.
In its past the town used to be walled to protect against the attacks from the sea front, especially African pirates, but not much of its fortifications left in Montreosso today.
Monterro al Mare has always had a vocation for agriculture and maritime. Agricultural vocation because of the mild climate which allows the cultivation of the vine (and the production of the wines, such as Sciacchetra) and olive groves. Maritime vocation because of its location in a protected cove that made it a safe haven, for both fishing boats and military ships of antiquity.
From the 18th but in particularly from the 19th century vocation of Monterosso has strongly changed in favor of Tourism.
The first village, called Albareto, in which were found some burials of the pre-Roman Ligurians, was destroyed by Lombards in 643, at the hands of the king Rotari.
As the result of the battle of the year 1016, the danger of Saracen raids reduced and began to establish a migration from the hills to the sea, with the founding os the first villages along the coast. The primitive village of Monterosso, built at the mouth of the river Buranco, dated to the end of the 9th century. It was probably the last of the Obertanghi properties in the area of Mesco. The village was mentioned for the first time in the document datef 1056, in which Guido degli Obertanghi, son of Adalbert II, made some donations in site of Monterosso.
In the 13th sentury the area of Monterosso, as well as the entire area of the Cinque Terre, is the land of clashes between the Republic of Genova and lordship of Pisa, for political control and commercial traffic of this important part of the eastern side of Ligurian sea.
In 1254 Monterosso was elected to the title of Podesta (Podesta was the holder of the highest rank of civil government in the Italian towns during the Middle Ages).
In 1815 the town was incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia and later in the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
In 1863 it took the present name of Monterosso al Mare.
Monterosso al Mare is the last of the five villages along the Cinque Terre strip. It is also the most visited place, probably because it has the only sizable sand beach and the biggest hotels. Actually, Monterosso is divided in two distinct parts, the old town and the new town which is call Fegina. The dividing point is Torre Aurora where a single tunel starts which leading to the old town.
Fondest memory: Monterosso al Mare is the only village of Cinque Terre which isn't compacted in a small space and it has the only sextensive sand beach in the area of the National Park Cingue Terre. The area is also famous for its many lemon trees, white wines, grapes and olives.
In 1870 the railroad line was built which opened up Monterosso to the outside world.
The peculiar territorial formation of the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) is the result of the rocks pressure during thousands of years. The erosion of the water has created hundreds of bays and small creeks.
Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore form the Cinque Terre. Already populated in remote times, these villages have developed their current aspect thanks to the patient human work. The terrace cultivations are characteristic of the five villages, built on narrow ribbons on the sea, defined by an unthinkable number of dry-laid stone walls. According to a study, adding the several walls, the Five Lands would be travelled by two meters high and eleven thousand kilometres long wall.
The forgetfulness in which they fell under the Republic of Genoa has been the salvation for the conservation of its natural beauty. Today is not easy to reach the Five Lands by car and the railroad is the best means of transport.
Favorite thing: If your planning to be in Cinque Terre for at least 3 days I would recommend buying the 3 day Cinque Terre Pass that includes access to all the trails and also unlimited use of the commuter train that runs between all five villages. In Feb. 2008 I paid roughly 20 euro for my pass, it was well worth it. You can buy the pass at any of the train stations, the pass also comes with a map and train schedule.
The Cinque Terre Card is your entrance card for the hiking path #2 from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore (and/or vice versa). It also includes all trainrides between La Spezia and Levanto for the period of validity, which is either 1, 3 or 7 days.
In 2006 the rates were as follows:
- Eur 5.20 (1 day )
- Eur 12.40 (3 days)
- Eur 19.50 (7 days)
The tickets can be obtained at the entrances of the hiking paths or at the local tourist offices or train stations. You get some very useful information along with it!
Favorite thing: ... by a tunnel. The train station is in Fegina, the new part of Monterosso and so is the bigger part of the beach. In order to get to the older part you have to walk (or drive) through the tunnel. The pier is in the old part of town and that is also where the more Cinque Terre type village is including many churches, narrow streets, restaurants and shops!
Favorite thing: The people here are so nice. I was helpless when i arrived without reservations at the height of summer (not reccamended) and i left 4 days later having the time of my life. i often think i should make a movie about it! i ahve returned to Monterosso a few times since then, and had the repeat experience. One thing is for sure, it is a SMALL TOWN and everyone knows averyone there. One year, i went in january to visit a friend i had made there. I was THE only tourist there and what once was a crowded lettle med city, was a snowy, empty postcard of a village. Old people were staring at me, knowing i didnt belong....it was funny. I shall never, ever forget my days there...surely some of the best of my life...
Favorite thing: The Cinque Terre Card provides a convenient way to travel between villages. Available at train stations, the card covers all train, trail, and bus fees for a one day (€5.20), three day (€12.40), or seven day (€19.60) period. The card is a great value if you plan to hike between three or more villages and use the trains. Buses run twice every hour between the villages. If traveling by train, be sure to validate your card in a yellow punch box before boarding.
The Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
The villages are gorgeous, the views breathtaking and the energetic hikes give you a great excuse to eat plenty of gelato!!
Make time in your next trip to Italy to visit this magical place.
Fondest memory: Monterosso is the largest of the 5 villages, and is popular as it has the only "proper" beach of the 5.
This is a lovely hike. Not a strenuous go between the five villages on the coast. The park pass avaiable at either end of the trail is great, it allows you to travel in the park for a set period of time and also includes train transport between the villages. (Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Manorola, Corniglia and Monterosso).
It's a great view. The path is alternately paved stone or paths up the sides of vineyards. Quite beautiful. Sometimes the path has to be closed if the conditions make it a bit dicey.
Reserve your room ahead, though, if you plan to stay in one of the villages. You may have a hard go of it if you just show up.
Favorite thing: I loved this turquoise house right next to the train station. No one could get away with this color scheme anywhere but in Cinque Terre!