Following Rick Steves’ “easy loop trip that maximizes views and minimizes uphill walking,” we came upon the elevator that was to have brought us to the top of town. But it was not operating, so instead walked through the pedestrian tunnel that leads to the lower end of town.
The tunnel itself was amazing — an incredible tile mosaic masterpiece decorates the entire length, entertaining walkers from end to end. Using tiny tile and mirror pieces, sculptor Silvio Benedetto has created a brilliant mosaic that echoes images of sea and sky. Vibrant blues, vivid greens, and deep purples entwine with bright yellows, reds, and oranges to depict sun, moon, stars, and sealife of all kinds.
From the magical tunnel we emerged directly into Riomaggiore, a collection of Easter egg-colored houses that spill down the hill, its toes touching the tiny beach at the bottom.
Not far out of the tunnel, we met the work of Silvio Benedetto once again, this time in the form of enormous wall murals. These mammoth paintings decorating the walls of the municipio (city hall) depict local workers as they carry out their honorable work in the Cinque Terre: building the dry stone walls and working the terraced vineyards and olive orchards.
Coming upon an unoccupied information booth, Mom hustled around behind the counter to ham it up. She’s lucky no one stopped to ask for information.
During our stroll, not only here in Riomaggiore, but in all the towns of the Cinque Terre, we often came upon antique wine presses of various sorts and sizes. Dad remembered similar ones that were used in Rutherford, California during his youth. With all the wine produced in this area, I’m sure at one time they were in great demand.