The first historical reports regarding Monterosso date back to 1201, when the lords of Lagneto, owners of the castle of which remain some ruins nowadays, signed an agreement with Genoa in order to settle a community and fortify the village to protect it from the Saracenic raids. It was therefore created the most imposing defensive system of the Cinque Terre area.
The poet Eugenio Montale, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1975, loved Monterosso and used to spend the summer in this village that he described as "rocky and austere, asylum for fishermen and peasants...".
Tourists can visit the modern and coastal Fegina, or chose the colourful medieval town centre. Here, among narrow and intricate alleys, rears up the church of Saint John The Baptist, built in 1220. This Ligurian-Gothic church has a fine two-coloured façade, and a bell tower built beside the apse with defensive aim, and increased in 1400. The XVII century convent of the Capuchin friars is also remarkable, as well as the church of Saint Anthony of Mesco, built in 1335.
In Fegina visitors can admire the Art Nouveau villa belonging to the Montale family, while the complex defensive system can be visited from the promontory that divides Fegina from the old town: the bastion walls, the ruins of the ancient castle, and the Aurora tower lay on the cliffs above the sea.
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