Friday, May 10, 2019

Wandering Around Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre

Monterosso al Mare is the northern-most of the 5 Cinque Terre towns and is divided into two parts, the old town and the new town, which are connected by a tunnel in which pedestrians and cars compete for space.  The train station is in the old town, but northbound trains pass over a bridge by the main square in the new town before reaching the station, giving a quick glimpse (as the train pops in and out of the tunnels) of what we walk back to on our way to our hotel, Villa Steno.

The square on the ocean in the new town (Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi) provides a space where residents and tourists dine, relax, swim (off the beach), and enjoy the passing of each day.  The old town and the new town are both incredible, each beautiful and distinct in its own way.

 Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi

Behind the piazza is the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, built between 1244 and 1307.

 Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista

On the south side of the piazza, streets wind their way into the city and up the hill (one of entries of the trail to Vernazza begins here behind the city hall).

 Streets through the city

A few blocks into the city is the Oratorio Santa Croche, another beautiful church dating from the 16th century.

 Oratorio Santa Croche

Crossing over the main street in the new town, Via Roma, we walk through more picturesque streets and up a hill to the over-400-year-old Convento dei Frati Cappuccini (convent of the Cappuccini Friars), complete with a beautiful church and a cemetery overlooking the city.

 More Monterosso streets

 Convento dei Fratti Cappuccini


 Views from the cemetery

Descending from the cemetery, the path leads to the statue of St. Francis of Assisi, with more great view of the sea and the new town (beach and train overpass).

 St. Francis of Assisi and his view

The walk down from the statue reveals yet more panoramic sights and, in Piazza Garibaldi, it is market day, with food stands, food trucks, and household and clothing stalls set up in the piazza and under the train overpass.

 Views of the sea and beach

 Market day in the piazza

Our lunch this day is inspired by ingredients we have just seen in the market, focaccia with anchovies, tomatoes, and mozzarella and frito misto with anchovies, shrimp, and calamari.

 Focaccia and frito misto

This has been a great day just wandering through the streets of Monterosso al Mare and finding new and interesting things to see and do.  There's a reason we come back here every year!

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