History of Cinque Terre
The History of Cinque Terre is fascinating and will give you an idea of why it has remained a great secret until recent years.
The stretch of coast along the Ligurian sea, roughly from Marseilles in France to La Spezia in Italy makes up what we know to be "the Riviera". The famous places known to most are separated by long stretches of coast. These coastal stretches, believe it or not, were hardly known by most of the traveling world even as little as fifty years ago - mostly because access to these coastal towns is difficult by land. (check out the Cinque Terre Map.)
Basically, the entire part of this coast is nothing but the ends of the French Alps and Italy's Apennine Mountains - crashing into each other and spilling down into the Mediterranean Sea. With no coastal plain and hardly any beaches to speak of (many of the beaches known today are man made by hauling sand in expressly for this purpose), land access along this coast has been very difficult throughout history.
Most people think that the Mediterranean coasts have been settled for a long time and that the local communities of Cinque Terre and other coastal towns were centered around the sea.
Yes, the second part of this statement is true since trade and commerce happened mostly by sea, but the first part of the above sentence isn't true. And this is because with the exception of a few centuries under the extensive Pax Romana throughout the Mediterranean basin, living on the coast or anywhere in sight of the ocean wasn't considered safe.
What we know today, as the Italian Riviera was plagued by pirates, slave traders, and marauders, to name a few of the evils that abounded. Around 1000 AD came the rise of the Italian cities of Pisa, Genoa, Venice and Amalfi and this created a new century of "pax" (peace) which allowed farmers and fishermen to begin to inhabit and develop their trades along the coasts of the Italian and French Rivieras.
The above mentioned maritime empires now made the seas safe for trading and the coasts safe for settling. In addition, with the turn of the 2nd millennium in the Christian era - this also marked the beginning of an increasing agricultural revolution. The population of Europe was increasing and this caused people to branch out and move east.
What did this mean for the Mediterranean basin? Farmers soon began to settle the Ligurian coast. It was during this era that the villages of the Italian and French Rivieras as well as the Cinque Terre were built.
Check out the links below for more interesting articles about the history of Cinque Terre and notes and info from the Italian Riviera.
Cinque Terre Map
Historical Cinque Terre
What's So Great About Cinque Terre?
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In the meantime, please feel free to browse through our site. You'll find yourself making a reservation and hopping on a plane to Cinque Terre pronto!