This landmark statue of St Francis of Assisi stands high above Monterosso and looks down over the old town and out across the Ligurian Sea. From here, you have a breathtakingly panoramic view. It is also a beautifully serene spot.
The walk up is steep but its short and is absolutely worth it. The path is very manageable and the climb is gradual.
The start of the path was not immediately obvious to us. From the old town side, we found it just before the entrance to the pedestrian tunnel that links the old and new towns. As you head towards the tunnel, the path is on your left but is tucked away behind the buildings.
Apart from the amazing view, the statue itself is a relatively modern bronze piece. In 1960 Fr Daniele da Pra from the Convent of Monterosso, had the vision of a large devotional statue dedicated to St. Francis and the artist Silvio Monfrini was commissioned. The bronze was cast in Lombardy, then parcelled up and transported by train to Monterosso in 1962. It must have been a difficult job to put it in place. Apparently crowds turned out to watch.
The statue shows a famous scene from St Francis’ life when he tamed the vicious wolf of Gubbio. The saint bows down slightly to greet, or perhaps to bless, the wolf. In return, the wolf, instead of snarling or lunging for the saint’s throat, holds a submissive paw up.
The statue is placed on a small balcony like platform and from here, you can look down upon the 16th century Torre Aurora. A little higher up, above the statue, is the Capuchin Friars Monastery and church.
The first time we visited Monterosso, we didn’t walk up here. Probably having hiked all day long, we thought we’d walked enough already. What a mistake that was and I’m very glad that we did it this time around.