The Cinque Terre National Park – Italy

The Cinque Terre National Park, established in 1999, comprises the five coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso Al Mare, located within a 15km coastal strip north of La Spezia on the west-facing Riviera di Levante on the coast of Liguria Region, Italy.

The Cinque Terre National Park area represents one of the most impressive examples of coastal terraced landscape in the Mediterranean and is internationally known for its landscapes shaped by centuries of agricultural exploitation carried out in balance with the surrounding area. Historically management of the vineyards has been mainly based on traditional approaches

This cultural landscape represents the interaction between physical environment, people and culture. Terraces and dry stone walls which aim to optimise soil moisture to maximise year round agricultural production reflect the harmonious interaction of people and landscape, which is simultaneously the site of agriculture, maintenance of ‘biodiversity’ , landscape stabilisation and tradition, all for the economic benefit and social wellbeing of current and future generations

Cinque Terre National Park together with Porto Venere Municipality manage the “UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE Porto Venere, Cinque Terre – and the islands of Palmaria, Tino, Tinetto “established in 1997. The Park Authority answers directly to the Italian Ministry of Environment. The Park Authority is the entity responsible for:

– protection and preservation of biodiversity

– promotion and management of the cultural heritage

– development and implementation of the environmental and agricultural heritage

– risk monitoring

– development and implementation of actions and strategies to prevent\mitigate hydrogeological instability and soil loss

– enhancement and rationalization of tourism resources and management of tourist flows

– provide support to local rural productions

The Cinque Terre National Park was established in 1999 to preserve terraced areas developed since medieval times on steep mountains slopes (up to 100%) to cultivate vines and olive trees.

Considering the important role of tourism as an economic factor and that the main peculiarities of the area are the steep terraced mountain slopes facing the Tyrrhenian sea, it is evident that the conservation of terraces and dry stone walls has a widespread beneficial effect on the entire economy of the area. In fact tourists visiting the area, not only enjoy the sea but also buy and eat the typical products produced on the terraced soils (wine and olive oil).

The aim of the 5TNP authority is to set actions and strategies not only to reduce hydrogeological risk, but also to increase economic benefits from rural activities and maintain local agriculture activity.

The local economy till the end of the seventies was mainly based on agriculture (viticulture) and fisheries. Then a strong rise in tourism progressively transformed the socio economic fabric of the area leading to an abandonment of agricultural and rural activities and orienting local economic activities mainly toward tourism (accommodation, restaurant, shops). This caused a loss in terms of landscape values (abandonment of vineyards caused changes in perception of landscape as abandoned terraces are quickly re colonized by spontaneous vegetation)

The Cinque Terre National Park is one of the most renowned Italian landscapes and it is currently in the process of being incorporated in the National Register of Historical Rural Landscapes and Traditional Practices. The reasons why the Cinque Terre has gained the nomination in the UNESCO WHL lies in the presence of terraced vineyards and a complex landscape mosaic, characterizing the area, dominated by dry stone structures.