Portovenere and Cinque Terre (Unesco)
Portovenere and Cinque Terre

Three treasures from the Region of Liguria are listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Palazzi dei Rolli in Genoa, Beigua Geopark situated between Genoa and Savona, and Portovenere, Cinque Terre and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto) in the province of La Spezia. Three unique places which fully represent the region with its one-of-a-kind mix of nature, history and human endeavour.

Not only a favourite getaway for writers, painters and poets, but also an extraordinary place for its equilibrium between nature and human endeavour, Portovenere and Cinque Terre entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997.
The promontory of Portovenere and the archipelago of the three Islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto are part of the regional nature park of Portovenere, covering an area of about 400 hectares of an exceptional naturalistic, historical and panoramic value, a place where sheer limestone cliffs drop into the sea along with islands of great naturalistic and scientific interest and fascinating historical and anthropological sites.

Palmaria, the largest of the islands and the only one easily reached with a convenient ferry service, is full of caves and karstic outcroppings. On the islands of Tino and Tinetto there are ruins and traces of human activity dating back thousands of years, and they are also home to native plant and animal species.   
The five villages in Cinque Terre (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore) take their name from the scenic continuity of the settlements that stretch along five kilometres of coastline. Their series of tiny coves, slopes and cliffs overlooking the sea are all connected to the intense utilisation of the surrounding territory through the cultivation of wine grapes and olives;  unique, unforgettable scenery that can be enjoyed year round. A series of trails enables visitors to travel the ancient country paths linking one village to another through vineyards and olive and lemon groves, protected against erosion by the elements with long lines of dry stone walls.  
The Marine nature Reserve, situated between Punta Mesco, Monterosso, Capo Montenegro and Riomaggiore, is unique for the rich biodiversity of its depths and seabeds.

- From Vernazza to Manarola via Volastra: on the Passo della Cigoletta (612 metres), the landscape changes from cliffs rising steeply above the sea to Mediterranean maquis, pinewoods, and terracing on which the delicious Sciacchetrà wine is grown. Towards the hamlet of Prociano, between the vines and the sea, Manarola comes into view. Behind it is Punta Mesco, loved by the great Italian poet and writer Eugenio Montale.

- From Vernazza to Monterosso: this walk leads upwards, leaving behind the village with its small harbour and the tower of the Doria castle, venturing along the Costa Messorano among vineyards and olive groves high above the sea to the Acquapendente valley where olive and lemon trees are still grown. It then descends once again through the vineyards to Monterosso al Mare.

- The Alta Via delle Cinque Terre: this path is long ridgeway once used as a mule track. Its high position guarantees spectacular views of the slopes down to the sea. On clear days, Corsica and the Elba Island are visible as well as the Apuan Alps to the east and the Maritime Alps to the West. Behind is the green Vara Valley.

- The Sentiero dei Santuari: from Riomaggiore to the Montenero Sanctuary via the ancient path leading to Telegrafo and Portovenere. It leads up a steep gorge, passing underneath the road to Manarola and then continuing for a good hour to the Montenero Sanctuary (354 metres).

By car: Motorway A12 (exit La Spezia). From La Spezia, follow the coastal road to Riomaggiore and Manarola.
By bus: each locality has a Cinque Terre National Park “methane bus”.
By train: take the Pisa-Genoa line and change in La Spezia for all localities.
By ferry: in spring and summer, there are daily links from La Spezia, Lerici, Portovenere, Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
The “Cinque Terre Card” gives access to the Park’s services (eco-buses, public elevators, footpaths, naturalistic observation centres and museums) with discounts and special offers.

Not to be missed
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Tourist offices
F.S. Station
Via alla Stazione
www.parconazionale5terre.it
+39 0187 812 523 - fax +39 0187 812 523