Caught between two steep terraced hills descending in steep cliffs to the sea, the ancient village of Riomaggiore strikes visitors with its delightfully colored houses built vertically. While walking through lanes, vaults and stairways of the village, people are  enchanted by the alternation of light and shadow.
All houses have two entrances: one on the facade at the lane side, the other at the back of the upper road, in 1500 it was an escape route in case of a possible Saracens ‘s attack. The first mention of the territory of Riomaggiore dates back to 1239, when the people of the District of  Carpena swore loyalty to the “Compagnia” from Genoa, and when in 1251, the inhabitants of small villages halfway to Casen, Cacinagora, Saricò and Lemen decided to come together at the mouth of  the "river" and founded Riomaggiore.
In the nineteenth century, the country was inhabited by about 3000 people and  enchanted the Florentine painter Signorini, one of the prominent of the  Macchiaioli current. How he was fascinated by this village is possible to see in his paintings, in which he portrayed the dark and shadowy corners of hidden streets, light and shades of wide stretch of the shadows of the stairs. In the upper part of the village  you can visit the church of San Giovanni Battista, built in 1340, with pillars in different styles and with two Gothic doors. In the village worth a visit the oratory of Santa Maria Assunta of the year 1500, the Oratory of St. Antonio Abate and the oratory of San Rocco.
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