Nature and history have conspired to create the towns known as the CINQUE TERRE ( Five Lands ), tucked away in a series of little inlets at the very end of the Levante (eastern) side of the Ligurian Riviera. The landscape here is so unique that in 1998 it was listed as a world heritage under the protection of UNESCO.
Here we find untamed nature, completely virgin Mediterranean maquis. It is a breathtaking composition, a mosaic of a thousand shades, the old houses with their characteristic colours clinging to rocks that drop sheer to the sea or perched on imposingly jagged hills, everything vying to touch the sky, lifting our gaze to the famous terraced siopes, "reclaimed land contained by drystone walls". This was work done long ago, at a time lost in history, by the local folk, a people well accustomed to contending with the difficulties of dizzying dliffs or precipitous siopes when getting about, and who, in order to survive, had to 'steal" space. The terraces are works of peasant engineering, an operation which we can call 'land architecture", and were used Io create space for the cuiltivation of vines, olives and fruit. Such agriculture, able to support the livelhood of this population, together with the ancient art of fishing practised in an uncontaminated sea, represents the major strength of this territory. A strength that, not without countless sacrifices, produces the famous white wine of the CINQUE TERRE, protected nowadays by the "d.o.c." hallmark (a guarantee of the wine's authenticity of origin); as well as the SCIACCHETRA' (a dessert wine made from partially dried grapes), the wine of the gods, as it was called in the times of the ancient Roman Empire; the OIL of a particular fragrance and acidity; and finaily the famous ANCHOVIES. ll this has been passed down from the people who lived bere in ancient times to the present day, bequeathing us the CINQUE TERRE in their setting of rare beauty and particular natural interest. The NATURE PARK and the MARINE PARK have created new opportunities for visitors, who can embark on spectacular sea or mountain excursions; marvel at leisure in the peace of the cliffs, the silence broken only by the crashing of the waves; or wander lazily through the "CARRUGGI" (maze-like narrow alleyways typical of the local villages) discovering for themselves the local crafts, the age-old activities of peasants and seafolk; or just simply wander in search of a table to sit und sample the anchovies and white wine of the "CINQUE TERRE".