Cycling along the ancient Cinque Terre railway

One of the most picturesque routes in the Cinque Terre is the cycle-pedestrian path between the towns of Levanto and Framura, also named Maremonti, which runs along what was once the railway line between Pisa and Genoa.

Cinque Terre railway

The Cinque Terre railway is known for its route along the coast and offering surprising sea views through its many tunnels. The train crosses the five famous villages right in their center, but the railway line moves inland in Levanto.

A stretch of the Cinque Terre railway overlooks the sea.

It wasn’t always like this.
The railway line connecting Pisa and Genoa was once considered a true marvel of construction and technology for its daring passage over the rocky and vertical coast. It was a single-track route that crossed all the towns, including those not strictly part of the Cinque Terre, beyond Punta Mesco: Levanto, Bonassola, and Framura. However, unlike the other towns, these three could use more space inland, which is why a multi-track railway and larger stations were built along the section that connects them.

Today, under the well-recognizable ogive tunnels of the old railway, trains no longer speed through but bicycles, skateboards, and runners do. Where the tracks used to be, a long, flat strip of asphalt allows you to walk between places separated by mountains and otherwise difficult to reach on foot.
It’s a simple and fascinating route; let’s see why.

Light and shadow, wonder and coolness

The clean tunnels of the cycle-pedestrian path between Levanto and Framura are perfectly lit and are the best way to reach the towns of Levanto, Bonassola, and Framura, which are connected by a narrow strip of asphalt.
The route alternates between shaded stretches in the tunnels and external sections, where the sunlight and turquoise sea surprise you every time. Many stop to descend to the rocky coves of the coast, accessible only by the stairs that descend from this stretch of the old railway. ars.

In the heat of summer, when the scorching sun makes it impossible to stay on the beach in the Cinque Terre, the tunnels of the cycle-pedestrian path are also a place to seek coolness. The temperatures drop significantly inside the tunnels of the old railway, requiring an extra layer if you go in autumn or spring, and cycling along the route, you hardly sweat too much, even on the hottest days.
Some say that in winter, the temperature inside the tunnels is warmer than outside sections, like in good cellars. Is it true?

Where does the cycle-pedestrian path between Levanto and Framura begin, and how long is it?

You can start, of course, either from Levanto or Framura.
In Levanto, the starting point is at the elevated parking lot at the height of the old Levanto station, which was just above the beach. The Levanto station sign is still visible.

The old Levanto station sign at the beginning of the Levanto-Framura cycle-pedestrian path.

In Framura, the starting point is also near the old station, where bikes can be rented, near the port and the rock with the Madonnina, called “Ciamia.” Just beyond (or before, if coming from Genoa) is the current Framura station in the locality of Torsei.

Il percorso è lungo circa 5 km, ed è perfettamente fattibile a tutti, l’importante è che si vada senza motore!

And in between, the tranquility of Bonassola.

Circa a metĂ  del percorso, uscendo da uno dei tunnel, all’improvviso si apre la baia di Bonassola.
Pare che una delle teorie sul nome di questo borgo abbia a che fare con il termine “bonaccia“, per l’accoglienza di questa insenatura facilmente abbordabile per le barche che arrivano dal mare aperto.
Un golfo piccolo e ospitale, e davvero meraviglioso.

This version of the name (more accredited are Vallis Bonazolae, Bulnetia) seems perfectly fitting for the place, even when arriving from the railway. Bonassola stands out for the gentleness of its lush green hills, the large beach, and its incredible sea.
The small village is worth a visit for its cheerful and colorful houses, where you can enjoy a piece of focaccia and perhaps reach the western tip of the bay. This journey takes you along a path shaded by maritime pines, leading to the end of the bay, which is also marked by the presence of a small chapel dedicated to the Madonna.

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