Cinque Terre away from the crowd is a wish that many visitors have during their stay, as the incredible amount of people make many want to run away.
Trekking is definitely the solution, as well as one of the best things to do in the area. Trekking on the Sanctuary Road features more than just a more relaxing atmosphere: a unique sense of peace.
Autumn is the ideal season, together with spring, for one of the best activities to practice in the Cinque Terre, Trekking. If the weather is nice, the days are still long and clear to get the chance to view even the most distant islands on the sea; the temperatures are mild and allow not to sweat too much on the trails.
You can choose, for example, to walk along the Via dei Santuari, which connects the ancient churches found on the heights of each of the five villages of the Cinque Terre.
It is believed that originally the populations of the Cinque Terre lived inland, devoting themselves to agriculture in small inhabited centers in which the church never missed. Only around the year 1000 AD and in the following centuries the inhabitants of the heights went down towards the sea to practice also fishing and to exploit the ways of the marine communication forming the spectacular urban settlements of the villages of the Cinque Terre, in the little space available on the coast.
The villages on the sea became civilized and expanded much more than the original centers on the heights, which, however, remained points of reference for agricultural cultivations, which can be reached in a short time by climbing up the steep mule tracks. Also the Sanctuaries remained favorite places of worship, places of pilgrimage and refuge in the most difficult moments, as evidenced by the numerous ex-votosstill preserved in the churches.
Behind Riomaggiore is the Sanctuary of Montenero, on the heights of Manarola the village of Volastra and its church, while Corniglia is dominated by San Bernardino and its ancient church. Above Vernazza is the Sanctuary of Reggio and above Monterosso that of Soviore.
The route along the road to the Sanctuaries leads to discover these ancient testimonies of the most authentic history of the Cinque Terre, examples of Romanesque churches on which the styles of the following ages have been grafted harmoniously, even though they are often characterized by poor and simple art. It is a spectacular discovery of a unique scenery for the panorama that opens from the perspective of the road that remains at high altitude among the ancient Sanctuaries.
And the peace you can find up there is just unique.
How to get to the Santuario di Reggio da Vernazza
If you arrive by car, it is not advisable to start from Vernazza, but rather to choose the opposite route, to park the car more easily.
From Vernazza, go up towards Reggio from the center of the village, near the station, taking the stairway marked as path no. 508 (ex n.8). It is one of the most beautiful vertical paths of the Cinque Terre: at first it is rather steep on cobblestones, among olive trees and vineyards, which immediately leads to a beautiful view of the beautiful bay of Vernazza from above, at the height of the cemetery and the church of San Bernardo, where you can already rest on a bench admiring the view. From here the path becomes softer and becomes a path, you can see the stations of the Via Crucis, in aedicules of marble or set in the walls that arrive right at the Sanctuary of Reggio.
In Reggio you can visit the Church, which dates back to the Romanesque period to a period dating back to the 1st century BC and documented for the first time in 1248. Inside there are many ex-votos that depict boats in the stormy sea and the image of the black Virgin with the child Jesus who, according to legend, was made by St. Luke, and is instead a work of the Genoese school of the fourteenth century.
Around the Church a beautiful churchyard is shaded by Lecci, cedars, horse chestnuts and by the oldest secular cypress of Liguria (800 years), an ancient source quenches the travelers for centuries. The town of Reggio is no longer there today, but once it was an important center for population and centrality on the roads. From here the population moved to the coast to found Vernazza.
The course can be done in about an ura, for the most trained even 40 minutes can be enough.