Tourists who visit the Cinque Terre Park wearing flip flops, sandals, pumps or other shoes unsuitable for mountain terrain will be fined starting April 1, 2019.
Fines start at €50 and can go up to a hefty €2,500.
The Cinque Terre, with its five villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, are among Italy’s favorite destinations, especially with foreign tourists. However, visitors often come inadequately dressed, ignoring that the paths connecting the villages, including the famous Via dell’Amore, are on unpaved terrain that can be steep and proceed among rocks.
“People come here thinking they’re going to the beach,” says Cinque Terre Park director Patrizio Scalpellini. “They don’t realize that, once you leave the villages, you’ll be on paths that are just like mountain trails.”
That doesn’t mean you need professional hiking equipment to walk the Cinque Terre trails, but you do need comfortable walking shoes with soles that have a bit of grip. Walking at length in flip flops is not only dangerous, for yourself and others, but can also lead to joint pain and muscle tearing.
Inappropriate footwear on Cinque Terre trails causes accidents and injuries every year. Rescue operations, usually carried out with the help of Italian Alpine Club volunteers, are often complex, given that the paths are in a difficult position to reach. Sometimes, it’s even necessary to resort to - costly - helicopter rescue.
Local authorities have requested the assistance of the Forest Guard, which will monitor tourists and issue the fines.
In an attempt to prevent these episodes from re-occurring, the Cinque Terre Park will run an information campaign prior to the beginning of this year’s high season. Signs will be posted along the routes, flyers and posters will be distributed, and information brochures will be provided when visitors buy a Cinque Terre card (a visitor card that provides access to park buses, trains and paths).
This year, 750,000 visitors are expected to arrive in the Cinque Terre between April and October.
Given the large number of people who visit the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore mayor Fabrizia Pecunia has suggested the introduction of an arrival tax, similar to the one proposed for Venice, intended for those who visit for the day, without staying for the night.