Everyone has an image of this part of the coast: vineyards that cover the hills like patchwork, the clean, deep sea that reflects them. Here, prestigious grapes are grown in small areas of ground closed inside typical terracing that bridles the side of the mountain, and it is also here that the famous ‘passito’ wine Sciacchetrà with its golden amber colour and soft, velvety flavour with hints of honey and almond is produced.
Five miles of inaccessible small roads and vertiginous cliffs, where the wild and incredibly beautiful villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore nestle, guardians of a territory that was declared a National Park (the only one in Liguria), and is included in the Unesco World Heritage list. These villages seem to be fragile when nature lets loose water that makes the mountain slide, but their 5,000 inhabitants all share the same strong spirit.
Only some stretches of the rough landscape in the Cinque Terre have been domesticated by man, who managed to work the seemingly dry and unworkable soil. Even today the farmers lower themselves among the rocks using strong ropes to harvest the grapes. Their effort and courage are enjoyed by visitors when tasting the DOC wines that accompany fresh fish and other unforgettable flavours on the table.
The five sea villages that cling to the rocks or face the small bays along the routes immersed in Maquis shrubland can only be described to tourists after having seen them. Behind the villages there are many other places of devotion, one for each town, that can be reached along the via dei Santuari.