Sometimes, the best things in life are completely unexpected. While staying in Cinque Terre, myself and a new friend from my hostel stumbled across a delightful festival entirely by accident in the town of Riomaggiore.

Earlier that day, I’d made plans to meet some other girls from the hostel for a wine festival in La Spezia. After a day of hiking and swimming, I came back to the hostel, showered and waited for them to arrive. While waiting, I struck up a conversation with another lovely woman staying in my room. We decided to go to the festival without them and hoped we’d see them there.

Arriving at the train station in Manarola (where our hostel was located), we discovered the ticket office was closed and my friend would be unable to purchase the needed train ticket to La Spezia. Instead, we decided to hike to Riomaggiore, explore the town, and drink wine in whatever bar we could find open.

The Day Of San Giovanni Battista In Riomaggiore, Italy

We both found it quite comical that we were walking the Via dell’Amore, the notorious “Way Of Love” with one another. In fact, on my recent trip to Italy, I spent loads of “romantic times” with female friends both new and old. Sigh, there were no hot Italiano lovers to be had on this trip.

Arriving in Riomaggiore, we gasped with joy when we saw the streets were lined with flower petals and candles We both immediately began snapping photos and wondered what significance the flowers held. As we continued to walk through the town, we saw that all of the streets were lined with brightly colored flowers. We stopped for our glass of wine and as we were sitting there chatting, we suddenly heard music and people singing.

Later research revealed that the town was taking part in an annual parade or procession that celebrates the village’s patron saint. Every June Riomaggiore commemorates, the Day Of San Giovanni Battista, also held on the same day as mid-summer. The flowers and candles on the street are set out in preparation for the parade, where the saint is carried through the village on display for all to see.

For us, it was quite spectacular to behold the village priests, marching band, and townspeople carrying lighted candles as they walked along the darkened streets of Riomaggiore solemnly singing. We both smiled at one another, agreed that we didn’t mind missing out on the wine festival and that maybe this unexpected and wonderful surprise was “meant to be”.  Not sure if I believe in fate, but I certainly enjoyed this memorable experience.

Have you been to Riomaggiore? Leave our readers with your best tips in the comments below!

Good To Know

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