The ancient, original center of Monterosso lies on the summit of the hill of San Cristoforo, which separates the present village into two. During the 12th and 13th century there was an increase in population and families began to move down the slope of the hill, setting up house on the banks of the stream called Branco (now covered). This part of the village, known as Monterosso Vecchio (Old Monterosso), has remained practically intact and exhibits the same ‘linear’ characteristic as the other villages of the Cinque Terre. A large part of it is made up of the remains of the ‘castrum’ Obertengo, with the beautiful parish of San Giovanni Battista at the crossroads of the main streets.
A modern residential quarter meanders along the sea view walk in the nearby small bay of Fegina, which gives its name to the area. Monterosso’s beach is the longest of the Cinque Terre coast and this, along with the housing development of the new quarter, has determined the wealth of tourism enjoyed by the village. Monterosso in fact boasts the greatest number of hotels and rooms for rent of the Cinque Terre and of the Eastern Riviera of La Spezia.
Monterosso’s main features are the beach and the seaside; more than the others it’s a small touristic resort with some nightlife. This different feel complements the quietness of Manarola and Corniglia. Very suggestive the ‘carruggi’ (small streets) of Monterosso Vecchio; wide spaces and some car traffic in Fegina and on the seaside.