An iconic hiking trail in Italy has just reopened after over a decade

Now locals are hoping Via dell’Amore will not succumb to the risks of overtourism

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Manarola, Cinque Terre
Photograph: Shutterstock

What could possibly be more romantic than a stroll along the stunning Italian Riviera, hand-in-hand with your beloved? Recently dubbed the prettiest village in the world, Cinque Terre (which is technically a string of five villages) is home to a coastal walking route that delivers on that fantasy. 

The route is called Via dell’Amore – aka ‘Lover’s Lane’ – and it connects two of the five villages, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Originally built by residents who wanted to avoid trekking over the cliffs, the walkway has been closed since 2011 after suffering a landslide. But after an extensive $25 million restoration project, the popular walking route is now open again.

This time around, Via dell’Amore will be subject to various protections to prevent damage by the vast numbers of tourists who flock to the area. Known for its glorious views and pretty villages, Cinque Terre is visited by an estimated three million tourists every year, and overcrowding during peak times can cause some safety problems. 

Sections of the path have been rebuilt into the newly cleared cliff face, with netting added to prevent rockfall, and handrails have been coated to stop them from getting too hot to touch in the sun. 

The walkway will be trialled in September, with hopes of reopening it again to the public in July 2024. One part of the walkway opened for a preview last month. 

Tourists wanting to stroll the iconic route will now have to book a slot online, and groups of up to 30 will be led by a local guide in half hour slots. Tourists will also pay a €5 booking fee, while locals will be able to access the walkway for free. 

To the dismay of some residents, Via dell’Amore will be closed at night, with both entrances monitored on CCTV. However, locals and authorities are keen to encourage responsible tourism, not just in Cinque Terre but across Italy, so it seems like a necessary measure.

Italy recently announced new tourist vintage train routes in the hopes they will enable those travelling in the country to choose more sustainable options for getting around.

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