The name Cinque Terre refers to an area that includes part of the Riviera di Levante. Located in the Province of La Spezia, this area includes five small villages or, as they were called in ancient times, lands: Monterosso, Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore. While Monterosso, Vernazza and Riomaggiore are municipalities, Manarola and Corniglia are suburbs, belonging respectively to the towns of Riomaggiore and Vernazza.
The context in which the five small villages are placed is very peculiar: it’s a harsh and rugged hilly land, which man has managed to make hospitable, without changing its natural balance and beauty. Just because of this special features, the Cinque Terre are one of the major attractions in Liguria.
The terraces are some examples of human intervention: this was necessary in order to practice agriculture in these lands with steep slopes. Terraces have become one of the best features and made 5 Terre including in the World Heritage List of the UNESCO.
As you can guess from the previous, brief introduction about Cinque Terre, the area is mainly mountainous and hilly, with wonderful scenery of high cliffs overlooking the sea, which alternate rocky and rugged areas on the coast. The altitude of the mountains isn’t too high: Mount Malpertuso is 815 m above sea level and Mount Vè is 486 m above sea level. The few sandy or pebbly beaches are close to the countries of Monterosso, Corniglia and of Riomaggiore. Along the coast you can find many coves and bays; also some small islands are not far from the coast.
The sea and the mountains are very close, so the streams are fairly short and have a torrential regime. The maximum flow occurs in spring and autumn, and the minimum, of course, in summer.