Riomaggiore is photogenic from every angle, thanks to its jumble of multicolored buildings cocooned between dramatic sea cliffs and fronted by an expanse of blue ocean. The largest and southernmost of northern Italy’s five Cinque Terre villages, Riomaggiore is the place for romantic promenades, sipping coffee in traditional cafés, and bird watching along the rocky shores.
Riomaggiore makes a good base for sailing or kayaking along the Italian Riviera coast; wine-tasting tours to the Montenero vineyards; and hiking and mountain biking excursions in Cinque Terre National Park, which encompasses all five Cinque Terre towns. Day tours to Riomaggiore run from La Spezia, Siena, Florence, and Milan, and typically also visit the neighboring villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Manarola, as well as nearby Portovenere.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Riomaggiore can get busy in peak summer season, so book tours and accommodations in advance.
- Bring comfortable, sturdy walking shoes, as the village roads are steep and often uneven.
- While many hotels and tourist attractions in Riomaggiore are wheelchair and stroller accessible, the village’s steep and narrow lanes can be challenging to navigate for those with mobility issues.
How to Get There
Located in Cinque Terre National Park, just south of Manarola along the Italian Riviera, Riomaggiore is a two-hour drive from Florence or a 30-minute drive from La Spezia. Parking is limited in Riomaggiore, so unless you are staying in town overnight, it’s best to join a tour or arrive by train from La Spezia (a five-minute ride). Alternatively, from mid-April through October, ferries connect Riomaggiore with La Spezia, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, and Manarola.
When to Get There
Riomaggiore sees the most visitors and the highest temperatures—upwards of (100°F (40°C)—in summer. Hikers should aim to visit in May or September to avoid the peak heat, while budget-minded travelers should note that hotel prices rise in August. Visiting in winter is possible, but some hiking trails may be inaccessible in heavy rain or icy conditions.
Home to some of Cinque Terre’s best restaurants and cafés, Riomaggiore is a great place to sample authentic Ligurian cuisine. Look out for signature dishes such as coniglio alla ligure (red wine–braised rabbit) and pesto alla Genovese (pasta with fresh pesto), street foods like pansotti (stuffed pasta) and farinata (chickpea pancakes), and the sweet dessert wine Sciacchetra.