I just love Tramonti. It's a breathtaking, wild area between Riomaggiore and Portovenere with clusters of houses along the coast: Persico, Schiara, Monesteroli, Fossola, Campi and Canetto. There are several "off the beaten track" hiking trails around here, offering you amazing views.
You can hike here from Riomaggiore, taking the trail to Telegrafo and to Sant' Antonio, then choosing between the different paths to go to Fossola, Monesteroli or Schiara. If you have a car, you can drive a bit closer, then do shorter walks. If you are coming from Riomaggiore, just before the long tunnel, on the right side of the road, you will see the information center and shop of the Cinque Terre National Park. If you park your car there, you can easily walk down to Casotti and Fossola. The church of Fossola is very pretty with the view of Monesteroli in the background. A path takes you from Fossola to the famous Monesteroli steps (see large photo at the top) but last time we were there it was closed at one point, and I am not sure what the current situation is. If it is closed, you have to walk up the steps to Sant' Antonio, then down to Monesteroli. Expect many steps taking you almost down to the sea, and don't forget, you'll also have to walk up. It's a wonderful experience, but I don't recommend it if you are suffering from vertigo or have problems with your knees.
If you prefer, you can drive all the way to Sant' Antonio. Coming from Riomaggiore, after the long tunnel, there is a road to the left, towards Biassa, Telegrafo and Sant' Antonio. At Sant' Antonio, you will also find a gym in the forest, the "Palestra nel Verde", just in case the steps don't make you tired enough. I personally had enough of a workout hiking around so instead of the "green gym", I headed to the nice open air bar for a huge ham and cheese focaccia sandwich and a glass of wine.
You can also drive to Campiglia and hike from there. In this case, you will see Schiara first. All the houses in the area were built by farmers from Campiglia and Biassa, and were used as cellars, storehouses and holiday houses in the season. For many years, the area was abandoned but people started to buy and renovate the houses, and use them as holiday homes. Needless to say, these holiday houses are not for the lazy ones. We met a man who gave up city life and lives here all year long with his mum. His children and friends often come to visit of course. I am quite jealous of the garden and the view he has. We met him on the trail and he was really friendly, he invited us right away for a glass of wine on his terrace.
Below Schiara, you can see the Scoglio Ferale (the Ferale rock). On top of the rock, there is a white cross, in memory of Luigi Garavaglio, who was a navy topographer and died in 1911 falling from the rock during his work. The rock looks really nice in the sea with the colourful flowers of Tramonti in the foreground.