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Monterosso al mare

Monterosso al mare

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Monterosso is the largest and busiest of Cinque Terre, five little seaside villages located in eastern Liguria, in the province of La Spezia. It is placed in the center of a little natural gulf, sheltered by artificial reefs.
This lovely town is surrounded by enchanting rolling hills decorated with vineyards and olive groves. Stone steps take you from the village old center to the port and seaside promenade.
Sights in Monterosso undoubtedly are the St. John Baptist Church, the Capuchin Monastery, the Sanctuary of our Lady of Soviore, the Aurora Tower, and the writer Eugenio Montale’s villa.
The building works of St. John Baptist Church began in 1282 and ended in 1307. The basilica has three naves which become larger around the altar; the bell tower is made up of a quadrangular-plan crenellated tower dating back to the Middle Ages. Originally, the latter was chosen for its position like a sighting point for the pirates and a perfect place in order to protect the town from the attacks of the enemies.
As regards the Capuchin Monastery, dating back to the 17th century, inside the church you can marvel at a wonderful painting attributed to Van Dick.

Over Monterosso, at 418 meters above sea level, you can find the Sanctuary of our Lady of Soviore, whose origins date back to the Romanic period. The legend tells that the building was destroyed by the Lombards in the 7th century and here it was miraculously recovered the effigy of the Holy Mary.
In addition, you can marvel at the Aurora Tower, fortification dating from the 16th century, and at the interesting Villa which belonged to the famous Italian poet Eugenio Montale, who was born in Genoa but who spent here his summer holidays when he was a young boy: such wonderful places gave inspiration for some of his most famous works.
Monterosso’s old town was founded by the survivors of the legendary town of Albareto, which rose on the hills and was destroyed by the Lombards. In the following centuries, because of many Saracens’ attacks, along the coastal area many sighting towers were built in order to protect the town from the dangerous attacks of the enemies and pirates.
Through the centuries, Monterosso and Cinque Terre were rocked by power struggle between the Republics of Genoa and Pisa, and only in 1254 Monterosso passed under total control of Genoa.
The economy of the little town was based on fishing, lemon trees and grapevine growing (which produced wine and sciacchetrà, the typical Cinque Terre white wine).
From the 60s, the town has become a tourist destination for thousands visitors coming from every corner of the world, thanks to its sparkling shores, crystalline sea and mild climate, which joined to a fabulous landscape, are from time immemorial a perfect destination for foreign and Italian tourists.
Nowadays, in the ancient town and on the coastal promenade, there are a lot of hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, lidos and many other tourists’ services which make Monterosso the capital of Cinque Terre.

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