Cinque Terre National Park Facts

Cinque Terre National Park Facts
Cinque Terre National Park is a 14.90 square mile park located in Italy's northern region of La Spezia, Liguria. It became Italy's very first national park in 1999, and it is Italy's smallest national park. It was created in 1999 to protect the area's historical, cultural, agricultural, and scenic properties, and contains five medieval towns along the coast. The park protects landscape features that were mostly man made including the cultivated lands, terraced stone walls, and towns where approximately 5,000 people reside permanently. Cinque Terre itself was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, two years before the national park was created.
Interesting Cinque Terre National Park Facts:
Along the coast of Cinque Terre people have been creating steep sloped terraced farming land and vineyards for over 1000 years.
There is a strong fishing culture in the towns in Cinque Terre National Park.
The five towns in Cinque Terre National Park include Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.
Within the five towns in Cinque Terre National Park are ancient homes, castles and churches as well as Roman villas, monasteries, and evidence of Roman architecture dating back to the regions beginnings of settlement.
Cinque Terre National Park is a walking park and visitors must arrive by boat or rail. Cars have been banned for more than 10 years.
Ecotourism is becoming popular in Cinque Terre National Park, and the hiking trails in the park are a favorite among tourists.
Land degradation is one of the biggest threats to the Cinque Terre National Park region and all parks in Italy, with as much as 75% of the park's land being considered at risk for landslides.
In 2011, following 4 hours of rain, which is uncharacteristic of the region, a flash flood almost completely destroyed two towns in Cinque Terre National Park - Vernazza, and Monterosso.
Monterosso is the oldest town in Cinque Terre National Park, dating back to AD 643. Riomaggiore is the second oldest town in the park, which was settled in the 8th century.
The majority of the infrastructure in Cinque Terre National Park's five villages dates to the High Middle Ages.
Trees found in Cinque Terre National Park include chestnut, pine, and Aleppo cork. Shrubs that can be found growing in the park include lavender, thyme, and rosemary.
Wildlife found in Cinque Terre National Park includes dormice, wild boars, foxes, martens, badgers, weasels, ravens, peregrine falcons, gulls, common wall lizards, rat snakes, vipers, salamanders, and frogs.
Major sites in Cinque Terre National Park and Cinque Terre include Castello Doria (oldest castle still existing in Cinque Terre), Torre Guardiola (bird-watching observation center), Convento dei Cappuccini (church and convent in Monterosso), Piazzale Papa Innocenzo IV (small piazza with bell tower in Via Dicsovolo), Fossola Beach (pebbly beach near marina in Riomaggiore), Belvedere di Santa Maria (hilltop lookout in Corniglia), and La Torre (medieval lookout in Corniglia).
The hiking trails located in Cinque Terre National Park are considered to be some of Europe's most beautiful. The most famous of the trails is Trail #2, called Sentiero Azzuro - a six hour hike along the coast of the Mediterranean.

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