The Unsung Heroes of the Cinque Terre

A Homage to the Unsung Heroes of Cinque Terre:

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Riomaggiore Mural © Travel Signposts..

In the centre of the Riomaggiore village, in front of the very modern Tourist Information Office, is a huge colourful mural by Silvio Benedetto. The mural tells the story of the men and women who over several generations and thousands of years built and maintained more than eight million cubic meters of dry stone walls that run throughout the Cinque Terre.

Using sandstone only, they had no cement or any cohesive material to work with, which makes the landscape that they built unique to the world.

The aim of the mural is to pay homage to these unsung heroes. Hopefully the many visitors that flood the Cinque Terre each year will stop for a brief moment when in Riomaggiore to acknowledge the unknown heroes whose past labours have contributed to make the Cinque Terre what it is today.

Silvio Benedetto’s explanation of his works:

“This is how I chose to narrate them – without heroism or vaunting, without “affability” or idealism. I painted men of times gone by who saved their land by raising walls, stone upon stone. These men decided to undertake this opus independently, that is without subjection, and this is why upon seeing their portrayal someone commented, “there’s toil but also serenity in their faces”. Hard but serene faces. Faces bereft of pleasantries and ambiguities. Faces like the landscape with wrinkles like furrows that do not welcome impostors, jesters or the high and mighty but seeds of freedom. I painted men that prop up the land: one passes stones between the thorns, another supports the wall between strawberry trees and honeysuckles, another places stones among salamanders and yet another hits the stones and frightens the jays.”

In the little courtyard facing the harbour, above the town municipal office, is the other of Silvio Benedetto’s mural. .

Any other ideas?


  1. avatar says


    As far as I am aware, the Cinque Terre Card is not available online so you won’t be able to purchase it in advance.

    There’s no problem in getting the card when you’re there. You will no doubt be stopping at one of the five village stations when you arrive and the National Parks have information centres at the stations where you can buy your CTerre card ….and also at La Spezia (I believe). The trailheads are also manned by the National Parks staff and you can also buy tickets from them.

    If you’re not walking the trails on your first day in the Cinque Terre, the local train fares are cheap enough to pay for separately. The article below is based on 2009 prices.

    Below is a link to the National Parks website which you may find useful for your trip planning information.

    Hope the above is of help.

    Kind regards,


    Thank you, Helen, for such a prompt reply!

    I should have sent a more thorough query by also asking whether such a card could be purchased in advance before we leave from New York State in March. Do you also know this answer, please?


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