The Italian Cinque Terre region will soon be getting back one of its most famous hiking trails after a very lengthy renovation that started in 2012. Even though there are about 121 km worth of hiking paths spread over the five villages of Monterosso, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Riomaggiore, the Via dell’Amore or ‘Path of Love’ was always a locals’ favourite. Linking Manarola and Riomaggiore, it was once established by locals who didn’t want to head home over the cliffs. But in 2012, the path came to a sudden end due to a landslide.
When visiting either Manarola or Riomaggiore, many tourists have been disappointed over the last decade when finding out that the charming little path next to the sea was closed for renovation works. But now, after a reinstatement that costed no less than 25 million euros, the Via dell’Amore is set to be open again by the summer of 2024 and those who are interested can already taste a bit of what is to come at this very moment, until September 2023.
A well-thought procedure
However, the reopening of the Path of Love goes hand in hand with some difficulties too. Many locals are upset by the fact that the pathway will be closed at night, with CCTV covering both entrances of the hiking trail, making sure no one ignores the guidelines. And that won’t be the only measure taken to make sure the Via dell’Amore gets spared from the impact of mass tourism that is so common in the Cinque Terre region, attracting about 3 million tourists every year. Apart from locals, everyone will have to book a slot for the Path of Love in advance, paying a 5 euro booking fee that will serve as a way to both maintain the path and to limit the number of visitors per day. Locals, however, will be free to come and go as they want.
As for the safety on the walkway that was once partly destroyed by a landslide, much has been undertaken as well. All paths have been redone, some of them carved in formerly untouched parts of the cliffs to safeguard the stability. Safety netting has been added where necessary and the railing on the whole path has even been covered in a special coating, making sure visitors won’t be burning their hands in the hot afternoon sun.