Cinque Terre national park Attractions
Cinque Terre national park Italy
In 1999 the Cinque Terre national park was founded in Italy. The "Cinque Terre parco nazionale" consists of two parts: the marine reserve "Riserva marina" and the national park itself "parco nazionale".
It is the only National Park which has been appointed to protect a human-made environment - in an area, which is hardly accessible and habitable.
But despite of all the difficulties the Cinque Terre became more and more populated and they have even begun to produce wine.
In the 70s the Cinque Terre wine was certificated as quality DOC wine, the most famous Cinque Terre wine is the Sciacchetrà.
The national park Cinque Terre is divided into areas with different protection levels: Level A has total protection - only scientific activities and research is allowed. Level B, C and D have partial protections.
In 1997 the UNESCO has declared the five lands as Cultural Heritage of the World.
Hiking Trails in the national park Cinque Terre
The National Park "Cinque Terre parco nazionale" is internationally famous for its hiking trails.
You can cross the park in two different ways:
Either you walk on the hills (red path) or you follow to the "blue path" along the cliffs from one village to the next.
Most visitors are choosing the blue path "sentiero azzurro", which runs from Monterosso to Riomaggiore.
The most famous is the Cinque Terre lovers walk “via dell'amore” that connects Riomaggiore with Manarola.
In the chapter Cinque Terre hiking trails you will find the most beautiful walks in the National Park.
The Cinque Terre national park: the origins
By the chronicles of the Roman military was proved that the Romans have concentrated their activities at the plain of Val di Magra.
It is not excluded that in the age of Augustus a part of the Ligurian population came down from the villages of the hills to unite in Roman colonies along the coast: this is an example of the Roman presence in Porto Venere.
There is no material or document that proves the Roman origin of the Cinque Terre.
However some names of the villages have a Latin origin:
e.g. Volastra ("Vicus oleaster" - land of olive trees), Manarola ("Manium arula" – small land of hands), Corniglia (below Cornelius), Riomaggiore ("Rivus maior" - River Rivus maior) and Monterosso ("Mons Ruber" - red mountain).
This Latin name influences suggest that the ancient prehistoric coast roads have been used from the Romans, and that they have used the small villages to take a break with the horses.
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National park Cinque Terre in the Middle Ages
In the 11th century the villages of the Cinque Terre have been created in the actual structure, when the population of the Val di Vara have crossed the mountains that separated them from the sea. From now on they lived permanently at the coast and formed the five lands.
The reason for this migration of people from Vara to the coast can be explained by two historical events in the entire Western Europe: growth in population and the liberation of the Mediterranean Sea from the threat of the Saracens.
In addition the climate along the coast is perfect for the cultivation of grape vine and olive trees.
Thus in the origin the villages of the Cinque Terre have not been used as fishing villages. Instead they have used the land for agriculture, in an difficult area that was not suited for agriculture: so they have started to build the terraces on the steep hills.
In time after the population of the Val di Vara had moved to the coast, they got more and more familiar with the new element sea.
First they have discovered the sea as a faster way of transport, then as a source of food.
Depending on the needs and seasons the activities shifted between agriculture and seafaring.
This is confirmed by the fact that in 1170 in the name of Genoa a galley of Vernazza was at war against the Pisans.
In 1182 and beyond in times of peace the men of Vernazza have organized ship races against merchant ships on the way to Genoa.
Even before the land of the Cinque Terre passed into the possession of Genoa, it was alredy closely connected with the history of the Republic of Genoa and the territory of Liguria.
Cinque Terre national park Italy: Sanctuaries
The presence of numerous pilgrimage churches in the Cinque Terre can be explained by the ancient past, when the fishing villages have been part of the diocese of Luni.
In the Cinque Terre national park you can find many footpaths called "via dei Santuari " that will bring you up to the holy places on the hills between the sea and La Spezia:
Cinque Terre sanctuaries:
- Sanctuary Nostra Signora di Soviore - Monterosso
- Sanctuary Nostra Signora di Reggio - Vernazza
- Sanctuary Nostra Signora delle Grazie (San Bernardino) - Corniglia
- Sanctuary Nostra Signora della Salute (Volastra) - Manarola (see hiking trail Corniglia to Manarola)
- Sanctuary Nostra Signora di Montenero - Riomaggiore
Cinque Terre Hotels
In our opinion one of the most beautiful hotels in the Cinque Terre is the Porto Roca Monterosso which is located directly on the coast and offers a wonderful panoramic terrace overlooking the sea.
From the hotel you can reach Monterosso beach by a short walk.
In front of the Hotel Porto Roca Monterosso passes the blue hiking trail Monterosso Vernazza.
Thus, this hotel is the perfect starting point for a Cinque Terre hiking tour.
Moreover you can find here many other Cinque Terre Hotels selected by us, where the location, service and price will match:
Cinque Terre attractions
Here you can find many other information about the Cinque Terre attractions: