CINQUE TERRE: respect for the environment and for traditional tourism
Another note-worthy destination, is the Cinque Terre National Park. A UNESCO heritage since 1997, these 5 tiny and picturesque villages are nestled on the hillsides above the aquamarine waters of the Ligurian Sea. Easily accessible from Chiavari, Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia and Rio Maggiore are deservedly key tourist attractions. Here, the respect for the environment combined with visitor awareness create a sustainable and growing tourism industry. This environmental awareness covers both land and sea where, since 1997, it has been designated a Protected Marine Area.
Cinque Terre’s landscape of today looks very different from the past.
Man-made terraces, called “cian”, have made the land more usable but have altered the natural state of the steep slopes.
Gardens, vineyards, staircases, cottages, and cart paths are interwoven by structures supported by stone walls. A great feat of environmental engineering: 4,200 cubic meters of walls – about two meters high – per hectare, for a total of 8,400,000 cubic meters; 3,163 linear meters of walls per hectare, for a total of 6,729 km of walls, which is greater than the Earth’s radius. The auspicious location of the Cinque Terre, sunny and sheltered by the winds of the north, has allowed the “ciàn” to be cultivated with vineyards and olive trees, producing some high quality oils and wines.
The easiest and quickest way to visit the Cinque Terre is by train or boat. Just 50 meters from the harbor entrance, at the Chiavari Station, you can purchase a special transit card allowing you to access any regional or fast train on the Levanto-La Spezia line.
To reach Portofino from April to October you can take the Ferry that stops at Marina Chiavari, under the Control Tower. (Lines number 3-4-5-6 of Tigullio’s maritime service): http://traghettiportofino.it/linee-gite/ ).