Monterosso, also known as Monterosso al Mare, is the town that anchors the Cinque Terre on the northern end. It has a dual identity, with an old town and a new town that are connected by a tunnel in the hillside. It remained relatively isolated until the railroad arrived in 1870, making it a beach resort.
Monterosso is the Cinque Terre town that is more resort-feeling than the others; it has the biggest beach of the five villages and has more tourist amenities geared toward seaside vacations, while the other towns retain a more fishing village atmosphere. There are waterfront restaurants and cafes, and a tree-lined pedestrian promenade along the shore.
There are loads of shops, restaurants and cafes, and plenty of summer-time entertainment for fun. The surrounding hills are covered in lemon trees, olive groves and vineyards.
The town's cathedral is dedicated to St. John the Baptist (San Giovanni Battista) and is a beautiful church with a Gothic portal and an intricate marble rose window. It is faced in green and white striped marble, in Genovese style. It's bell tower was actually a medieval watch tower remade into a belfry.
The Antico Castrum, the ancient castle retains walls and towers of the ancient defensive structure, while the castle's internal courtyard was turned into the town's cemetery. the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Soviore is a charming chapel that sits high above at 460 meters above sea level and contains an effigy of the Madonna. The Torre Aurora is one of the series of coastal watch towers erected along the coastline in the 1500s to protect against pirate attacks on the towns.
On the lungomare (seafront promenade) is a gigantic Hercules-like statue of Neptune, a modernist sculpture on the rock.
Monterosso al Mare is one of the busier and livelier towns. It is south of Levanto.
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