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English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Rick, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the Wonders of the World: Cinque Terre, a Unesco World Heritage site that is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy.

Cinque Terre comprises Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, ancient villages on the coastline that are now part of the Cinque Terre National Park.

The five villages have ancient origins, but it was during the Middle Ages that they began to flourish, and were fortified with splendid castles and towers.

The most impressive, lasting endeavor of the people of Cinque Terre is the radical change they made to the natural landscape with the construction of terraces, or piane, as they are known locally. The hills here are steep and unstable, so over many centuries, the inhabitants of the area built over 7,000 kilometers of two-meter-high dry-stone walls, without the use of any mortar or cement, in order to create terraces of land on which to grow olives and grapes, as well as common garden vegetables.

Unfortunately, the gradual move away from agriculture in some areas has led to the loss of part of this monumental effort consisting of over eight million cubic meters of walls which were built in an attempt to make every inch of land arable right down to the cliffs. Dry-stone walls require constant maintenance in order not to collapse. However, you can still see most of the walls over considerably large areas.

Although they are just a few kilometers apart, the five villages were linked only by mule-tracks running along the hills for centuries, until the construction of the railway towards the end of the 19th century.

During your visit, you’ll have the chance to enjoy some truly unforgettable scenery, such as the views along the delightful old “blue trail” (sentiero blu), accessible from Corniglia to Monterosso. The original trail was much longer, but after the landslides caused by the severe flooding in 2011, part of it was closed.

The best way to reach Cinque Terre is by train, although the villages are now also connected by road. The area can also be reached by boat from La Spezia.


An interesting fact: until the 17th century, the Cinque Terre area was densely populated, but today it has just a few hundred inhabitants.

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