Built into the cliffs on a stunning stretch of the Ligurian coast in northwest Italy, Cinque Terre serves up seaside hikes that are as breathtaking as their views. The region is best explored by foot, but as we stated in a recent piece, dressing appropriately -- particularly with comfortable, sturdy shoes -- is paramount to your safety and enjoyment. If you don’t want to take it from us, take it from the Cinque Terre National Park authority.
Those who are caught hiking in flip-flops or sandals could now be slapped with a hefty fine. The five villages that make up the region are connected by some seriously rugged terrain -- and ill-prepared tourists often embark on the trails in flimsy footwear, getting stuck and requiring mountain rescue teams to come save the day. Fines can run anywhere between €50 ($56) and €2,500 ($2,809), depending on how much inconvenience and cost they inflict. “The problem is that people come here thinking they are at the seaside, but the paths above the villages are like mountain trails,” Patrizio Scarpellini, the head of the Cinque Terre National Park, told The Telegraph. “First we will introduce the information campaign, then we’ll start issuing fines.”
And this isn’t the first fine coming from Italy either. In 2018, Florence banned snacking on some of its most popular streets, charging disobedient visitors anywhere from $168 to $500, while Rome banned activities like drinking in public and taking a dip in the fountains.
But why now, you ask? This recent crackdown comes as the popular region braces itself for an onslaught of day-trippers. According to CNN, 750,000 cruise ship passengers are expected to disembark in the nearby port of La Spezia this year, up from 450,000 last year. “The paths are like Alpine trails,” Maurizio Cattani, president of the Italian Alpine Club, told The Telegraph. “Tourists should not be tackling them in flip-flops and without adequate water.”
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