Travel tips: Monterosso al Mare is the biggest town in the Cinque Terre and also documented for the first of others (1056). The largest beach in the Cinque Terre is located here, right after the exit from the station. Monterosso has the closest train station to the sea. The beach is located in front of exit from the railway station. The old town is located to your left in about 600 m; there is also a small beach, from which the Blue Path starts.
Photo of Monterosso.
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What is located (marked on the map):
1. Church of S. Giovanni Battista
Dating back to 1244, this church has three naves with flanks diverging from each other toward the apse, a two-color façade with tracery rose-window (probably by Matteo and Pietro di Campiglio) and an ogival portal. Notable is also the steeple made of green stone, which was originally built to serve as a sentinel tower.
Photo inside (2 MB).
The Oratory Mortis et Orationis (Death and Prayer), is of baroque style. In the interior there are the original seats with carvings representing the signs of Death and wooden statue of S. Antonio Abate from monastery of Punta Mesco, now in ruins. Another oratory from the 17th century is that of the Holy Cross, built of a former church of which only the steeple is still visible. In the inside there is a magnificent organ from the 18th century and a chorus.
3. Capuchin Monastery
Built in the 17th century on the hill of S. Cristoforo, houses a painting ascribed to Van Dick, depicting the crucifixion, and various other works by Ligurian artists, such as Luca Cambiaso and Bernardo Castello.
4. Castle, walls and towers
Impressive ruins of the old medieval castrum, are incorporated into the current cemetery on the S. Cristoforo hill. The need of fortifications is testified be a Saracen sack committed in 1545, during which many houses were burnt and various women and children kidnapped. The defence system of the village included the monastery of S. Antonio of Mesco (now in ruin), used as a watch post, three town doors and thirteen towers. Only three towers are still visible, of which the Aurora Tower, built in the 16th century, is now used as a private house.
5. The Giant or Neptune
At the end of the beach of Fegina (where free beach is located), next to the little harbour, are located the remnants of a huge statue of concrete made by the artist Arrigo Minerbi and by the engineer Levacher in 1910. The height of the statue measures 14 m and its weight is 1700 q. The statue represents Neptune bearing on his shoulder an enormous shell, which was originally used as a dance stage. During the Second World War the bombings hit the residence of the family Pàstine, the owners of the statue, and the statue itself was severely damaged. The process of demolition was further carried on by heavy sea in 1966. The statue has been partially restored in recent times.
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The origin of this village dates back to the Roman times. The oldest core, built on the hill of S. Cristoforo, started to play a relevant role of defence in the 7th century, during the Longobard invasion. In the Middle Age, the area was disputed by various noble families, but it was at last ruled by the Republic of Genoa.
The village is spread over two inlets, in that of the Bruanco River, to the East, there is the historical core, while the settlement located in the inlet of Fegina, to the West, has developed more recently. The landscape has inspired the poet Eugenio Montale, who used to spend summer holidays in the residence of his family, which has its origins in this place.
In 1870, the Italian government built a railroad line into the city, which opened it up to the outside world. It is the main way in which people enter the city.
The population is of 2000 residents, and in recent times the tourist business has overwhelmed the agricultural practice.
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