Uploaded by:- Gregor Samsa (21648944@N05) @ 2016-03-27 12:53:43
The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination.
The first historical documents on the Cinque Terre date back to the 11th century. Monterosso and Vernazza sprang up first, while the other villages grew later, under military and political supremacy of the Republic of Genoa. In the 16th century to oppose the attacks by the Turks, the inhabitants reinforced the old forts and built new defence towers. From the year 1600, the Cinque Terre experienced a decline which reversed only in the 19th century, thanks to the construction of the Military Arsenal of La Spezia and to the building of the railway line between Genoa and La Spezia. The railway allowed the inhabitants to escape their isolation, but also brought about abandonment of traditional activities. The consequence was an increase in poverty which pushed many to emigrate abroad, at least up to the 1970s, when the development of tourism brought back wealth.
The variation of house colors results because fishermen, doing their jobs just offshore, wanted to be able to distinguish their houses with ease and make sure their wives were still home doing the wifely duties. Most of the families in the five villages made money by catching fish and selling them in the small port villages. Fish was also their main source of food.
A walking trail, known as Sentiero Azzurro (“Azure Trail”), connects the five villages. The trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the Via dell’Amore (“Love Walk”) and is wheelchair-friendly. The stretch from Manarola to Corniglia is the easiest to hike, although the main trail into Corniglia finishes with a climb of 368 steps. The entire section from Riomaggiore to Corniglia has been closed since 2011, with repairs delayed due to a dispute between the Riomaggiore town hall and the national park authorities over who will pay for them. In the meantime, it is still possible to walk between these villages although the trail is both steeper and longer than the (closed) path along the waterfront.
We spent four days of hiking in the area of Cinque Terre national park and Portofino nature park over Easter; in (late) March, the weather was just perfect for hiking, and the crowds still bearable outside main trails and during morning & evenings in the Cinque Terre villages.
During the third day, we left Ponzò in the southwest towards Vernazza across the hills using small and narrow forest footpaths, and finally finished our journey in Monterosso al Mare.