Cinque Terre is the name of a district that encompasses five glorious towns, where small houses are surrounded by lush nature. Visitors to this district will be fascinated by the beauty of these five small villages, namely: Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare.
The inhabitants of Cinque Terre benefite not only from its pristine waters, but from its natural environment, where wild nature is interspersed with vineyards, olive groves and citrus orchards, creating a precious bond between man, his traditions and this breathtaking stretch of coast.
The chain of mountains that surrounds these villages runs parallel to the "Appennino Mountains" and creates small insenature, steep valleys where the towns are situated. This makes for a unique landscape, different from the rest of the coast. Right in the center of this landscape during the centuries was placed the man Ligure, always in struggle and always in love with its territory. The result of this geography is the typical houses liguri, the narrow bands and the knoll in terrace built on the rocks. The Cinque Terre is a National Park and territory protected by UNESCO.
Monterosso al Mare is located at the center of a small natural gulf, protected by a small artificial reef, to the east of Punta Mesco in the Riviera of La Spezia. It is the westernmost of the Cinque Terre. In the west part of the original village, beyond the hill of the Capuchins, it is the village of Fegina, natural expansion and characterized by a relatively modern tourist resort facility compared to the ancient village that is reachable through a tunnel of a few tens of meters.
Vernazza, considered by many to be the most charming of the Cinque Terre was documented for the first time in 1080. The remarkable economic and social level reached by the village in Medieval times and still today testified by the town planning conformation and by the presence of architectural elements of great importance, like lodges, churches, casetorri and arcades.
Corniglia, the only village of the Cinque Terre not in contact with the sea, rising on top of a rock promontory. Its low and wide houses are more similar to those of the hinterland than to the typical coastal houses, evidence that the traditional vocation of the village has always been more inclined towards the land than the sea. The most important monument of the village is the Church of San Pietro (St. Peter), of gothic-genovese style built around 1350 on the remains of the previous building.
Manarola, a town planning jewel
Manarola, hamlet of Riomaggiore, is a town planning jewel, rich as it is in typical tower houses of Genovese style. Founded during the XII century, the village probably derives its name from an antique "magna roea", a large mill wheel present in the village. The first evidence of the village dating back to the year 1200, is relative to the events of the Fieschi, whilst in the XVI century there was news of their strenuous resistance against the pirate raids.
We have the first news of Riomaggiore only in 1251, when the inhabitants of the district of Carpena, spread coast, swore faith to the Republic of Genova. Between 1200 and 1300 the inhabitants of these settlements decided to go down towards the sea and give llife to the village. A movement which was favoured by the consolidation of the genovese rule which consented to a more tranquil access to the sea on which commerce could develop quickly and safely.