This was the town I spent most of my time in, staying in a hotel perched high up on the side of the cliff. I spent the evenings watching the sunset over the water, eating fresh local produce from the fruit stalls and little pizza places and walking down the cobble-stoned main street. It was amazing how friendly the locals were. But the best part of the experience was the Easter celebration. I was exhausted from a day of walking, taking pictures and carrying some very heavy camera equipment, so I drifted off to sleep sometime before 8pm. A few hours later, I was woken up by singing, and went down to the main street to see what was happening. It turned out it was Easter and absolutely everyone in the town, including small children, the grandparents and even some tourists, had candles or lanters and walked up from the water towards the church right at the top of the mountain, singing and carrying a life-size statue of Jesus. Everybody was singing the old latin hymn Stabat Mater, to which I somehow knew the words, so I ended up joining in and having the most amazing and unexpected evening. This is definitely one of those amazing things to see that makes one of those once-in-a-lifetime memories.
There were also the most incredible murals on a lot of Riomaggiore’s walls, definitely worth a scavenger hunt to go and find them all. Stay tuned for a recap of my visits to the other Cinque Terre towns.