One of the most beautiful parts of the Ligurian coast is the Cinque Terre, 5 villages that are linked by a pathway that leads walkers through the high vineyards of the rocky Ligurian coast. Some of the villages are perched high on cliffs while others were until recent times only accessible by foot or boat. The time locked villages of the Cinque Terre are one of the many jewels in the Italian crown. I hope you enjoy my photos , Paul Williams.
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Beautiful Art Photos of the Cinque Terre Coast, Liguria, Italy
Pictures of the Cinque Terre National Park, Liguria, Italy. The Cinque Terre Villages still give a real sense of how Europe was before the car was invented. Five villages nestle on the precariously steep rugged cliffs of the high hills that run down the Ligurian coast in north west Italy north of Portovenere. Accessable, until recently, only by sea or by the coastal railway that runs in tunnels under the villages down the coast from Genoa, the villages are typical of the area with simple buildings painted in pastel yellow, ocre and red paint. All but one of the villages are in deep V shaped valleys made by streams that plunge down to the sea from the hills above. The best way to see the Cinque Terre is on foot. An old pack trail links the villages winding its way up from each village through the famous old vineyards of the area. The trail climbs up hundreds of steep steps and along a narrow pathway high into the hills between each village before dropping down cascades of flights of steps to the next. It is hard to imagine that at these pack trails were the main roads between the Cinque Terre villages not so long ago.
The five villages of Cinque Terre date back to the later Middle Ages. The cultivation terraces that typify much of the Cinque Terre landscape were mainly built in the 12th century, when Saracen raids from the sea had come to an end. Starting from the north, the first is the fortified centre of Monterosso al Mare, on the top of St Christopher’s hill, which first played an important role in the 7th century, during the Lombard invasions. After being disputed over by different noble families during the Middle Ages, it threw in its lot with the Republic of Genoa. It is a coastal town in a valley, its most prominent features being the church of St John, built in 1244, with its bell tower, originally an isolated watchtower, the ruins of the old castle, and the 17th-century Capuchin monastery that dominates the town.
Vernazza was founded in 1000 by people living on the Reggio hills. It became part of the Republic of Genoa in 1276. The houses are built along the Vernazza stream and up the slopes of the rocky spur that hides the village from those approaching it by sea. Narrow streets run down to the main street, which opens out into a small square looking out over the sea.
The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was deignated so because:
“The Ligurian coast between Cinque Terre and Portovenere is a cultural landscape of great scenic and cultural value. The layout and disposition of the small towns and the shaping of the surrounding landscape, overcoming the disadvantages of a steep, uneven terrain, encapsulate the continuous history of human settlement in this region over the past millennium.”
The Cinque Terre Villages are in order running North of Port Venere : Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
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