The southern-most town on the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore is wedged in a cleft between two hills. It was founded in the 8th century and named Rivus Mayor for the river that still flows below the main road.
Riomaggiore is an enchanting tangle of narrow lanes lined with "case torri" (tower-houses) - slender row houses with slate roofs that are painted in happy pastels and have entrances on both sides, reaching between the alleyways. The town is full of pedestrian lanes, archways and stairs instead of wide avenues.
There is a fishing marina and a small beach below. The Botanical Gardens Torre Guardiola has delightful pathways that let you view the flora and birds. The church of San Giovanni Battista was bu ilt in 1340 in Gothic style. The castle that sits high on the hill dates to 1260, with its rotund tower still intact.
Riomaggiore has a dramatic setting on the rocks tumbling down to the sea. It's backed by steep hills that are partially covered in scrubby brush and partly terraced with gardens, olive groves and vineyards. It is very picturesque and tranquil. From here you can walk the Cinque Terre trail that leads to the other four villages of the famous coastline.
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Explore nearby towns
Placed on a rocky promontory, Manarola is a lovely town painted in merry colors along the famed Cinque Terre coast of Liguria.
Corniglia is the middle village in the chain of five Cinque Terre towns.
Fornacchi is a hamlet that is part of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre.