A Cinque Terre hike is one of the most sought after experiences for those who visit Italy. This spectacular coastal trail that links the villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore is famous throughout the world for its magnificent views and romantic ambience. |
The overarching experience is that of the walk itself – the act of conquering the distance between all five villages – but there are also numerous individual attractions that can be enjoyed along the way. One of these is the beautiful Botanical Gardens of Torre Guardiola, at Riomaggiore, the most southerly of the villages.
Discover the Torre Guardiola
The nature reserve and Botanical Gardens of Torre Guardiola are wonderful places to enjoy some quiet contemplation and enjoy the presence of a multitude of plants, flowers and birds. Located just a short walk from the marina in Riomaggiore, above Fossola Beach, it’s popular with visitors who want to get up close to nature while on their Cinque Terre hike.
A Natural Haven
The thirteenth-century ruins of the fortress of Riomaggiore Castle preside over the town and today the site provides a superb vantage for birdwatchers. It’s a very easy place to find once you arrive in the village: simply look for the tower – or as the locals call it, the ‘Batteria’. You’ll have to pass through a longish tunnel after the train station and then veer away from the town in the direction of the beach to gain access.
Top tip: This is a wonderful place to take a cooling dip in the sea if you have the time and inclination.
The pathways that lead up from delightful pebbly Fossola Beach through the botanical gardens are lined with a diverse range of plantings, which still manage to thrive in their rocky cliffside position. It’s an easy walk to navigate the paths and you’ll be able to wander around the gardens at your leisure, listening to bird calls and the wind gently rustling the foliage.
And a Manmade Fortress
The WWII naval installation ‘La Batteria Racchia’, which served to protect the village so well during the conflict, is now in use as an Environmental Educational School. Both locals and visitors make use of it, not only as a prime place to observe the plethora of local and migratory bird life, but also a valuable site to learn more about the local flora, fauna and natural environment. Overlooking the Botanical Gardens it’s a lovely place to rest a while and take in the views. Even before you make it to the top of the tower lookout, though, you’ll be able to capture absolutely gorgeous panoramas back out to sea.
Enjoy the Delights of Riomaggiore on a Cinque Terre Hike
This lovely natural site is not the only appeal of Riomaggiore. If you can drag your eyes away from the outstanding views of the Ligurian Sea, a wander through the charming thirteenth-century village will take you along steep cobblestoned streets and past pastel- coloured houses and hole-in-the-wall restaurants and shops. Keep an eye out for the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
There are so many attractions to take in along the trail on a Cinque Terre hike but, for nature lovers, Torre Guardiola is one of the most delightful.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including a magical Cinque Terre hike. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro`s company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you`re keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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