Monterosso al Mare: The Complete Guide

Monterosso al Mare, referred to as Munterussu in Ligurian, is a town and comune situated in the province of La Spezia, within the Liguria region of Northern Italy. It is one of the five villages comprising the Cinque Terre. Located at the centre of a small natural gulf, protected by a small artificial reef to the east of Punta Mesco in the Riviera of La Spezia, Monterosso al Mare is the westernmost village of the Cinque Terre. The area is renowned for its abundance of lemon trees, which can be found throughout Monterosso. It is also famous for its white wines, grapes, and olives. The town can be divided into two distinct parts: the old town and the new town. The two areas are connected by a short tunnel running underneath the San Cristoforo promontory.

The New Town of Monterosso

Beyond the hill of the Capuchins, in the western part of the original village, lies the village of Fegina. Fegina is a natural expansion characterized by a relatively modern tourist resort facility, contrasting with the ancient village. The local train station is situated in Fegina, and the beaches in this area are comparatively larger than the narrow cliffs found in the other Cinque Terre villages. Monterosso boasts a beach that extends along a significant portion of the coastline and is popular among tourists and locals alike. It is the only extensive sandy beach in the Cinque Terre. During the summer months, Monterosso becomes a small town teeming with tourists.

Monterosso Old Town

This old town of Monterosso is characterized by the imposing presence of the ancient fortress walls, notably the Aurora Tower, and the remnants of the Fieschi Castle. The landscape is further adorned by the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Capuchin Monastery, standing prominently and visible from both the historic and contemporary sections of Monterosso. This area is a picturesque blend of vibrantly colored houses, meandering streets, and steep stone staircases, capturing the quintessential charm shared by all five Cinque Terre villages. Explore the rich history and enchanting architecture that define this captivating corner of Monterosso.

Hiking the Trail from Monterosso to Vernazza

Embarking on the hiking trail from Monterosso to Vernazza promises an enriching exploration of the stunning coastline. The trail commences at the promenade’s end near Hotel Porto Roca, offering a captivating journey lasting approximately 2 hours. Traverse through a picturesque landscape adorned with vineyards and olive groves on one side, while the other side reveals the mesmerizing expanse of the crystal-clear ocean.

To undertake this trail, ensure you have a Cinque Terre Card. A one-day trekking card is priced at €7.50 and can be conveniently purchased at tourist information centres at the station or designated control booths. Alternatively, consider the combined train/hiking pass, costing €18.20 for a day, encompassing unlimited train use. The Cinque Terre Express trains operate frequently on the Levanto – Cinque Terre – La Spezia line, halting at each of the five towns. During the low season, the trails are free, eliminating the need for a pass.

If you find yourself in Levanto, a rewarding option is the 2.5-hour trail to Monterosso. Remarkably, no hiking pass is required for this particular trail, allowing you to seamlessly immerse yourself in the scenic journey.

Visiting Monterosso al Mare for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Monterosso al Mare on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

This website uses affiliate links which earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

History of Monterosso al Mare

Historically, many Mediterranean villages were fortified to defend against attacks from the sea, as this coastal region was frequently targeted by pirates. In 1870, the Italian government constructed a railroad line that connected Monterosso to the rest of the country, opening up the town to the outside world. This railway remains the primary means of accessing the city. During World War II, numerous young men from the Cinque Terre region participated in the resistance against the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and the subsequent Nazi German occupation of Italy. In 1948, the village was briefly excluded from the Cinque Terre trail, but it was reintroduced in mid-1949. Italian officials deemed the village too large to be considered part of the historic trail.

7 Best places to See in Monterosso al Mare

This complete guide to Monterosso al Mare not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Monterosso al Mare and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Oratorio Mortis et Orationis - Confraternita dei Neri

Oratoire Neri Monterosso Al Mare
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Chabe01
Situated in the main square of the town, adjacent to the church of San Giovanni Battista, is the oratory of the Confraternita dei Neri Mortis et Orationis. Also referred to as the oratory of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo, it was constructed in the 17th century in the Baroque architectural style. The façade is a […]
Location: Oratorio Mortis et Orationis - Confraternita dei Neri, Piazza Don Giovanni Minzoni, Monterosso al Mare, SP, Italy | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Oratorio Mortis et Orationis - Confraternita dei Neri

Church of San Giovanni Battista, Monterosso al Mare

Church Of San Giovanni Battista, Monterosso Al Mare
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Davide Papalini
The construction of the church of San Giovanni Battista took place between 1244 and 1307, a date commemorated on a rock within the second column on the left when facing the altar. It underwent Baroque-style renovations and more recent refurbishments between 1963 and 1964, exemplifying the splendid Genoese Ligurian Gothic architecture. The façade showcases a […]
Location: Parrocchia di S. Giovanni Battista Via Roma, 12 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP Italy | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Church of San Giovanni Battista, Monterosso al Mare

Castle of Monterosso

Castle Of Monterosso
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Emilia d'Amelio
The ancient castrum of the Obertenghi, potentially originating from the seventh century Lombard settlers, stood as Monterosso’s initial defensive settlement. Likely employed by local lords like the Lagneto family, it was the Republic of Genoa that fortified the village in the early 13th century to safeguard against Saracen incursions. Following a brief contention with Pisa, […]
Location: Cimitero Monterosso, 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP, Italy | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Castle of Monterosso

Aurora Tower

Monterosso Al Mare Torre Aurora
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Lee & Chantelle McArthur
Situated at the base of San Cristoforo hill, just beneath the Capuchins, the Aurora Tower stands as a symbolic divider between the modern and historic sections of Monterosso. It effectively separates the Fegina beach and promenade leading to the train station on one side, and the beach of the old town on the other. Originally […]
Location: Via Bastioni, 5, 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP, Italy | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Aurora Tower

Spiaggia di Fegina

Spiaggia Di Fegina, Monterosso
Pixabay / user32212
Nestled against the iconic Cinque Terre cliffs, this intimate beach is a beloved destination, celebrated for its crystal-clear waters ideal for a refreshing swim. While the sandy shore may be a touch pebbly, a plethora of deck chairs and umbrellas are available for rent within the private beach club areas. Claim your spot early on […]
Location: Spiaggia di Fegina, Via Fegina, Monterosso al Mare, SP, Italy | Hours: 24 Hour | Price: Free, if you can find a space for your towel! | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Spiaggia di Fegina

Statua del Gigante

Il Gigante Di Monterosso
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Waldemar L
Il Gigante stands at the far end of Fegina beach, marking the beginning of the marina and extending beyond the parking area. This sculpture, crafted from reinforced concrete and iron in 1910, is the creative work of Arrigo Minerbi from Ferrara and engineer Levacher. It was commissioned by Giovanni and Juanita Pastine, Monterosso natives who […]
Location: Statua del Gigante 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP Italy | Distance: 1.00km
Visiting Statua del Gigante

Santuario di Nostra Signora di Soviore, Cinque Terre

Sanctuary Of Nostra Signora Di Soviore, Cinque Terre
CC BY-SA 3.0 / jim walton
The Santuario (Sanctuary) di Nostra Signora di Sovioreis a Catholic place of worship situated in the municipality of Monterosso al Mare, along the provincial road 38, in the province of La Spezia. Nestled within the Cinque Terre National Park, the religious building resides on the slopes of Mount Soviore (464 meters above sea level), surrounded […]
Visiting Santuario di Nostra Signora di Soviore, Cinque Terre

Best Time to Visit Monterosso al Mare

Throughout the year, Monterosso al Mare and Cinque Terre offer a range of unique experiences, making it a destination suitable for year-round visits. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to plan your visit:

Spring (March to May): During spring, the area enjoys mild and pleasant temperatures, with nature coming to life as flowers bloom. Hiking trails become accessible, and the sea offers a calm environment for swimming. This season allows you to explore the charming villages before the summer crowds descend.

Monterosso holds its renowned Lemon Festival, Sagra dei Limoni on the third Saturday of May each year. The festival pays homage to Monterosso’s rich lemon cultivation tradition and locals take pride in infusing them into various culinary delights. From anchovies marinated in lemon juice to limoncino (lemon liqueur), lemon cream, marmalade, granita, ice cream, and tantalizing lemon cakes, the festival showcases the versatility of this flavourful fruit. As the festival unfolds, the village transforms into a vibrant lemon paradise, adorned with delightful lemon-themed decorations. Navigate the narrow streets of the old town, where stands are set up to showcase the best of lemon products. Lemon producers proudly display their creations, offering visitors the opportunity to taste and purchase an array of delicious treats crafted from this exquisite fruit.

Summer (June to August): The summer months bring extended sunny days, providing the perfect backdrop for swimming and beach relaxation. However, this is also the peak tourist season, characterized by substantial crowds, particularly in July and August. To escape the heat and the masses, consider scheduling your visits for early mornings or late afternoons.

The gastronomic delights of Monterosso continue beyond lemons with the Sagra dell’acciuga fritta, a celebration dedicated to the famed anchovies of the region. Set to take place on the third Saturday of June, this event promises a savory experience for seafood enthusiasts.

Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a splendid time to discover Monterosso al Mare. It offers mild temperatures, reduced rainfall, and a vibrant local vineyard scene with full harvests. This is an opportunity to savour new wines and take part in local festivals. Hiking trails of Cinque Terre remain open, although daylight hours gradually decrease.

Extend your culinary journey in Monterosso by attending the Sagra dell’acciuga salata e dell’olio d’oliva, scheduled for the third Saturday of September. This festival invites you to experience the delightful combination of salted anchovies and extra virgin olive oil, both locally renowned for their exceptional quality.

Winter (December to February): The winter season is the most tranquil period in Monterosso al Mare. The villages exude a peaceful ambiance, and accommodation prices are at their lowest. However, temperatures can be quite chilly. This season is ideal for those seeking a serene experience, even though some hiking trails may be closed for maintenance.

Monterosso al Mare caters to various preferences and activities throughout the year, whether you’re looking for warm beach days, serene hiking adventures, or cultural festivals.

Average Temperatures in Monterosso al Mare

  • January 12°C 17
  • February 13°C 19
  • March 15°C 15
  • April 18°C 12
  • May 21°C 12
  • June 26°C 8
  • July 30°C 4
  • August 29°C 7
  • September 25°C 13
  • October 21°C 24
  • November 16°C 28
  • December 13°C 22

How to get to Monterosso al Mare

Getting to Monterosso al Mare by Plane: Milan Malpensa Airport and Pisa International Airport Galileo Galilei serve as the most convenient gateways for your journey to the Cinque Terre. From Pisa Airport, a swift 5-minute ride on the People Mover shuttle train will transport you to Pisa Centrale station. Subsequently, Intercity trains await to take you directly to Monterosso. If you’re starting your journey from Milano Centrale station, Intercity trains will smoothly carry you to Levanto and Monterosso in just 3 hours.

Getting to Monterosso al Mare by Train: Opting for the train is the most comfortable route to Monterosso. The Cinque Terre villages lie along the Genoa – La Spezia – Pisa railway, offering frequent train services from Milan, Genoa, and Pisa. Monterosso stands out as the sole Cinque Terre village served by long-distance Intercity trains. If you’re arriving from the north (Milan or Genoa), you can hop on an Intercity train directly bound for Monterosso. From Pisa, Intercity trains also provide a direct connection. Traveling from Rome on a high-speed train requires a change at La Spezia, where you’ll switch to the Cinque Terre Express trains bound for Monterosso.

Getting to Monterosso al Mare by Car: Monterosso is the most accessible of the five Cinque Terre villages by car. Navigate the A12 Genoa – Livorno highway, and take the BRUGNATO exit. Follow the signs directing you to Borghetto Vara and Pignone, and then continue toward Monterosso. Upon reaching an intersection, turn right for Fegina, the newer part of Monterosso, or left for the old town. Ensure you know the location of your booked accommodation, and consider reserving a hotel with private parking for a hassle-free experience.

Tours and Activities from Monterosso al Mare