Imagine: you’re gazing into the eyes of your love, on a stunning Ligurian cliffside, faces slowly getting closer and closer, only to have the moment completely derailed by an inopportune (and potentially lethal) landslide.
The Via dell’Amore, or Path of Love, is one of the most famous – and scenic – in the Cinque Terre, an area known for its beauty. It’s been closed for almost a decade following dangerous rockslides, but there’s finally a reopening date on the horizon.
The scenic stretch was closed in 2012 following treacherous landslides that injured four Australian tourists. No one was badly hurt, but the path was deemed too dangerous to remain open.
The one-kilometre pathway was first opened in the 1920s, linking the first two picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore and Manarola.
The cliff-side walk overlooks the sea, winding around the jagged sandstone bluffs dotted with hardy Mediterranean herbs and scrub. It was originally carved out for the construction of the coastal railway, an easy 20-minute walk between the two villages – or just 10 minutes if, say, two lovers were to meet in the middle.
Now, a plan has been made for the full restoration of the route, a collaboration between the Italian ministries of environment and culture. The grand reopening is scheduled for 2023 – which leaves plenty of time to plan the romantic Italian Riviera escape of your dreams.
It’s not just tourists looking forward to the reopening. The Path of Love changed the lives of locals after it opened. The previously isolated villages became open to each other – and the pathway became an established meeting point for courting lovers.
Officially called Path 592-1 (SVA2), the far more romantic name Via dell’Amore (sometimes interpreted as Lovers’ Lane) was coined by a journalist who noticed the love-struck graffiti covering the rock-face between the two villages.