It was our last day in Cinque Terre. The rain from the day before had cleared, and it was a lovely day for a nice, long exploration of the two towns left on our list. Most of the trails were still closed from the previous day’s deluge, so we took the train to the farthest town, Monterosso and check it out.
Monterosso is the largest and flattest of the 5 towns, and it’s the most commercial. It’s broken into two sections – the new and old towns. We just explored the old section, since that’s where the few sights it has are. This is the only place with a real beach, which is why there are so many iffy-looking hotels crammed onto a small beachfront. Was I glad we didn’t stay there!
The only really cool things to see in Monterroso were the Church of San Giovanni, which was built in 1307, and the Oratory of the Dead. The second is a rather macabre place, filled with carved skulls and other image of death. It belonged to a group that arranged funerals and took care of the bereaved, according to a sign outside. Both buildings have the black and white striped architecture that’s so popular in Northern Italy, but with stone and tufa, not marble.
After that, there really wasn’t much to see except a monastery high up on a hill that was a major climb. I wasn’t really feeling up to it, so we gave it a miss. Glad we did – we heard from another tourist later that it was a major disappointment.
Since all there was left to do was wander through the streets looking at the buildings and shops (eek!), we took a very nice stroll, and then headed down to the waterfront. The views of the Med were lovely from the boardwalk. The surf was really churning and unfortunately canceled the boat service between towns. We were a bit bummed about it since that eliminated our offshore picture taking possibilities, but it sure made our onshore pictures more dramatic.
Next we left to join the throngs of people on the train to Vernazza.