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The Via dei Santuari: from Monterosso to Riomaggiore

The Road of the Sanctuaries is the halfway path that joins the five sanctuaries of the Cinque Terre located on the heights of the Ligurian hills.
Each land has its sanctuary, near the town as in the case of Manarola and Corniglia or isolated in the shade of pines and holm oaks as in Riomaggiore, Vernazza and Monterosso.
They can be reached by carriage roads, except that of Riomaggiore, but above all by suggestive paths and mule tracks that climb between vines and olive trees. From each seaside village it is possible to go up to the sanctuaries, just as the sanctuaries are connected by a single itinerary that crosses terraces, gardens, small settlements sometimes abandoned, almost always with the sea at the bottom offering splendid views.

Total travel time: about 7 hours.
Difficulty: EE - For expert hikers
Total length: 22 km

First stage: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Soviore-Sanctuary of Our Lady of Reggio
Journey time: about 1 hour.
Length: about 4 km.
From the sanctuary of Soviore di Monterosso, take the path 591 Il Termine-Sant'Antonio del Mesco on the left, initially unpaved up to the SP38 Cinque Terre-Pignone, following the road to Il Termine. From here the path 582 Reggio-Il Termine starts, which winds at an altitude between 500 and 350 meters, before following a stretch of the road SP51 up to the sanctuary of the Madonna di Reggio.

Second stage: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Reggio-Sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace of San Bernardino
Journey time: about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Length: about 5.0 km.
From the square of the sanctuary of Vernazza, proceed along the path 581 Reggio-San Bernardino, almost always flat, between fields planted with vines and olive trees, passages in the woods and very small villages, which leads to the sanctuary of San Bernardino, after crossing the SP51.

Third stage: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace of San Bernardino-Sanctuary of Our Lady of Health in Volastra
Journey time: about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Length: about 5.5 km.
The third stage towards Volastra starts along the path 507 B San Bernardino-Cigoletta, climbing steeply along a dirt track and crossing the carriage twice, up to Case Fornacchi. After a short paved stretch, you return along a wide dirt road that climbs up to the Cigoletta junction. Continue passing the junction with path 587 for Corniglia and take path 506 Manarola-Junction AV5T (Sella di Monte Marvede) on Mount Marvede which descends to Volastra crossing, sometimes with difficulty, woods of holm oaks and chestnuts.

Fourth stage: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Health of Volastra-Sanctuary of Our Lord of Montenero
Journey time: about 2 hours.
Length: about 7.5 km.
The last stage starts from the sanctuary of Volastra, going up briefly towards the same direction from which you arrived to take the path 530 Telegrafo-Volastra. Along a dirt road for vehicles, take the junction with the path 593 (SVA) Telegrafo-Riomaggiore till the sanctuary of Montenero.

The five sanctuaries can also be reached from the different villages along beautiful routes from which to enjoy incomparable views.

Riomaggiore - Madonna di Montenero

Path 593V Riomaggiore - Madonna di Montenero

Journey time: 55 minutes. (Return: 30 minutes)
Difficulty: E - Hiking
Length: 1,334 km
Difference in altitude: 296 mt

From the Marina of Riomaggiore, go up steeply towards the coast road, skirt the cemetery and continue to go up again crossing the coast road, then follow it for about 200 meters towards La Spezia and take a flight of steps towards the sanctuary.

Manarola - Santuario di Nostra Signora della Salute

Path 506 Manarola - Santuario di Nostra Signora della Salute

Journey time: 1 hour. (Return: 30 minutes)

Difficulty: E - Hiking
Length: 2 km
Difference in altitude: 280 mt
From Manarola go up along Via Discovolo towards the exit of the town and up along a mule track until you reach Pie di Fiesse, near the coastal road. Follow the paved road for a short distance towards Groppo. Then go up on the left to Volastra, along the ancient municipal staircase, until you reach the sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Salute.

Corniglia - Santuario di Nostra Signora delle Grazie di San Bernardino

Corniglia - Santuario di Nostra Signora delle Grazie di San Bernardino

Journey time: 1 hour. (Return: 45 minutes)

Difficulty: EE - For expert hikers
Length: 3.4 km
Difference in altitude: 262 mt
From Corniglia it is possible to reach the sanctuary of Nostra Signora delle Grazie by first taking path 592-3 (SVA2) Corniglia - Vernazza from Via Serra, leaving the town along a narrow paved road. Cross the paved road and continue to descend via the canal bridge over the Rio Groppo, and then go up between two high dry stone walls up to some terraced strips of land planted with olive trees. The paved road continues to climb up to the bridge over the Fosso del Canaletto, and again on becoming a stone mule track, in some places with stairs. Here there is a panoramic point, with Corniglia at the bottom and the valley with the beach of Guvano.
We continue to climb until we reach the houses of Prevo (280 meters), where we leave the path to go up along the asphalted road, Via Stazione, and walk the last kilometer and a half to the sanctuary.

Vernazza - Santuario della Madonna di Reggio

The path of the Vernazza-sanctuary of the Madonna di Reggio path.

Path 508 Vernazza - Santuario della Madonna di Reggio

Journey time: 1 hour (return: 40 minutes).

Difficulty: E - Hiking
Length: 2.6 km
Difference in altitude: 353 m

The route partially follows path 508. From the train station, go up the Pastenello staircase first and for a short stretch along the paved road to the cemetery and then go up along the traditional route of the Via Crucis of Vernazza. Climb up to the locality of San Bernardo, with a small oratory and then continue to the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio.

Monterosso - Madonna di Soviore

The Monterosso - Madonna di Soviore path

Path 509 Monterosso - Madonna di Soviore

Journey time: 1 hour and 45 minutes. (Return: 1 hour)
Difficulty: E - Hiking
Length: 2,467 km
Difference in altitude: 468 mt

Historic mule track between Monterosso and the sanctuary, the route begins in the historic center, climbing along Via Roma, the carriage road that crosses the town. Take the stairway to the right towards the sanctuary. Between terraced bands of olive trees and lemon orchards, the path continues uphill becoming a mule track, in some points a path and also partly paved until it crosses the carriage road to Monterosso. Once you have passed the road, you continue through a wood of chestnut and acacia trees, once again becoming a mule track. In the locality of Santa Maddalena we meet the "Cappella del Ritrovamento", where according to tradition the figure of the Madonna conserved in the sanctuary was found. Now in sight of the sanctuary, the path ends with the few steps that connect the sanctuary with the SP 51 above.