Starting from La Spezia, the first town you meet is Riomaggiore. The village has the typical stepped structure of the villages of torrential valleys, with steep walls and small valley bottom. The landscape is vertical, stairs and stairways are the streets. The main street is a covered canal, under which runs the Rivus Maior stream which gave the town its name. The houses are typical "tower-houses", developed in height on three or four floors, with no more than two rooms per floor and linked to each other in parallel rows. The building material is local: the stones, the slate with yellow or pink plaster for the facades. Access to the houses is possible both from the entrance and from the back of the upper floors, because it allowed them to escape in the event of an attack from the sea.
Riomaggiore hosts the headquarters of the Cinque Terre National Park, whose presence is witnessed by an intense promotional activity visible almost everywhere in the country. The upper part of the village is characterized by a recent expansion of residential buildings, while the winding alleys that branch off from the central street and the marina are among the most characteristic of the Cinque Terre, steep and extremely picturesque. The town is wonderfully surrounded by vertical terraces, cultivated with vineyards that produce the renowned D.O.C. Cinque Terre and the Schiacchetrà. Very beautiful is the view of the marina, surrounded by tall tower houses and "impregnable" for the pirates who in antiquity frequented the Ligurian coasts. From the castle you can enjoy a wonderful view.
According to legend, the origin of Riomaggiore dates back to the 8th century, when a group of Greek refugees settled here. It is certain that after the year 1000, when the seas became safer, the first inhabitants who had settled on the hills corresponding to the current locations of Montenero and Lemmen, descended to the coast thus giving rise to the first nucleus of the village of Riomaggiore, in the current Marina district, where in fact we find medieval architectural remains such as those of the trogues, the public washhouses and the Poggio, the arcaded portico that holds the oldest part of the town.
Church of San Giovanni Battista: this is the main religious building and is located in the upper part of the village. It dates back to 1340, as it was written on a stone walled on the facade. The latter, following renovations, appears in neo-Gothic style preserving the fourteenth-century rose window in white Carrara marble. Of the original plan remain the single-lancet windows and the two Gothic entrances, decorated with zoomorphic and anthropomorphic elements. Inside dominates the alternating black and white, typically Ligurian chromatism. The interior preserves a triptych by the master Benedetto Antelami, the painting "Preaching by Giovanni Battista", by the painter Domenico Fiasella of Sarzana, a wooden crucifix by Anton Maria Maragliano and the marble pulpit from 1663.
Castle of Riomaggiore: located in the upper part of the town, the castle of Riomaggiore has had a troubled history. Built in defensive function, over the centuries it was converted into a cemetery, then again into a fort and finally today it is a conference hall and cultural center. The first nucleus dates back to 1260 and was finished during the period of the domination of the Republic of Genoa between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to strengthen the defenses of the village, equipping it also with two squat circular towers. During the French domination of Napoleon Bonaparte the fortress was filled with earth and destined to be a cemetery. Worth a visit because, in addition to the historical value, from its terraces you can enjoy a magnificent view.
Drums Racchia and Torre Guardiola: this is a point of particular naturalistic and landscape interest and is home to the Environmental Education Center of the Cinque Terre National Park. In a modern building we find the reception center and enhancement of the territory, a botanical path and an area for birdwatching. The area is also the place of the FAI heart. The site takes its name from the pre-existing Torre Guardiola fortress, which was used to monitor the coast from attacks by the Saracens.
To reach Riomaggiore it is advisable to use the train, otherwise by car from the center of La Spezia, after the A.Picco stadium take the SP 370 and at the crossroads to go down to the village, park and take the ATC transport shuttles sustainable in the Park "at the following times or through Explora5terre minibuses.
Sea connections: ferries available every spring and summer departing from La Spezia, Lerici and Porto Venere. Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore are also served, during the day, by inland navigation lines, with terminus Monterosso. For more information and timetables: www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it
Riomaggiore beaches: in Riomaggiore there are no real sandy beaches. Here you will find the rocks and the only beach of Riomaggiore, located after the marina and the ferry dock, is stony. It is however very easy to reach through a concrete path between the rocks; it is equipped with showers, but without other services.
Info Point Reception and Tourist Information: located at the railway station, Tel. 0187/760091