If you plan on hiking the Cinque Terre trails this summer, leave the sandals at home.

Fed up with rescuing people stranded on the cliffside trail, the Italian destination is banning inappropriate footwear and enforcing fines before high season begins.

If you’ve ever walked on the trail that connects the five towns of the Cinque Terre on Italy’s Ligurian Coast, you may have made the rookie mistake of wearing sandals along the cliffside path. But if you attempt the hike this summer wearing flip-flops, you could be hit with a heavy fine.

This summer, 750,000 visitors are expected to arrive in Cinque Terre between April and October, up from 450,000 in 2018. Similarly, the number of tourists who have become stranded along the route in flimsy shoes has also increased, much to the chagrin of volunteers from the Italian Alpine Club, the hiking organization that has to come to their rescue.

To fix this problem, the Cinque Terre National Park authority has launched a new public information campaign warning tourists not to go hiking along the cliffside routes in flip-flops, pumps, or other inappropriate footwear. Signs will be posted along the path and travelers will also be notified of the new rules when purchasing a Cinque Terre card, which includes access to the paths, as well as the buses and trains that connect the towns.

Those who ignore the warnings could be fined anywhere from €50 (US$56) to €2,500 (US$2,796).

Hiking the Cinque Terre trails doesn’t require backpacks, but you’ll want a sturdy pair of walking shoes.
“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 director of the Cinque Terre National Park, told The Local, an Italian news site.

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In addition to park staff, a law enforcement group called the Comandi Regione Carabinieri Forestale will be on hand to inform travelers about the flip-flop ban for the first part of the campaign. Eventually they will issue fines to those who ignore the warnings.

With more expected visitors than ever arriving on cruises this summer, the mayor of Riomaggiore has also suggested implementing an arrival tax for day-trippers to the Cinque Terre, similar to the one that Venice created in late February.

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