Cinque Terre, which means Five Lands, consists the five small coastal villagesof Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso located in the Italian region of Liguria. The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. 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 villages of Cinque Terre were severely affected by torrential rains which caused floods and mudslides on October 25, 2011. Nine people were confirmed killed by the floods, and damage to the villages, particularly Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, was extensive.
History of the Cinque Terre
The first historical documents on the Cinque Terre date back to the 11th century.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 the 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 defense 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 the 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.
Unlike the common belief that house colors originated to distinguish the fisherman’s houses, they were not painted until the late 1970s. The only village that used fishing as its main industry was Monterosso. The locals lived off vineyards and olive cultivation.