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Monterosso al Mare Review

Beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and plentiful small hotels and restaurants ensure the largest of the Cinque Terre villages (population 1,730) is also the busiest, especially in midsummer. The village center bustles high on a hillside. Below, connected by stone steps, are the port and seaside promenade. The medieval tower, Aurora, on the hills of the Cappuccini, separates the ancient part of the village from the more modern part. Hills covered with vineyards and olive groves and a forest of scrubby bushes and small trees encircle the village. Monterosso has the most festivals of the five villages, starting with the Lemon Feast on the Saturday preceding Ascension Sunday, followed by the Flower Festival of Corpus Christi, celebrated yearly on the second Sunday after Pentecost. During the afternoon, the streets and alleyways of the centro storico (historic center) are decorated with thousands of colorful flower petals set in beautiful designs that the evening procession passes over. Finally, the Salted Anchovy and Olive Oil Festival takes place each year during the second weekend of September.

Market. Thursday, the market attracts mingled crowds of tourists and villagers from along the coast to shop for everything from pots, pans, and underwear to fruits, vegetables, and fish. Often a few stands sell local art and crafts, as well as olive oil and wine. Old town center, 19016. Thurs. 8–1.

Chiesa di San Francesco. This excellent example of the Ligurian Gothic style dates to the 12th century. Distinctive black stripes and a marble rose window make this one of the most photographed sites in the Cinque Terre. Piazza Garibaldi, 19016. No phone. Free. Daily 9–1 and 4–7.

Updated: 03-01-2013

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