Why are they called Cinque Terre?
Le Cinque Terre.org


Certainly famous all over the world, but many times we don't ask the most trivial question. Why are they called the Cinque Terre? What is the meaning of Cinque Terre?
Once, until the construction of the railway in 1874, the five villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso) were completely isolated. On one side by the sea, on the other by the hills that rise steeply, connected with La Spezia, the Val di Vara, Levanto and Portovenere only by long and tiring mule tracks and winding paths.

Finding themselves grouped within a few km, about 15, having a similar urban structure, developed in the valley of a canal, with tall houses and labyrinths of stairs, people began to call them Cinque Terre, also because initially the inhabitants of the Cinque Terre were more tied to the land ("terra" in italian) than to the sea ("mare"). They worked with difficulty to tear cultivable strips where to plant vines to produce a wine already famous in the Middle Ages. The sea was not safe, due among other things to the pirate raids. Only later did the seafaring tradition begin.

Today the Cinque Terre are made up of three "comuni" [koˈmuːni] thus, local administrative division roughly equivalent to a township or municipality (Monterosso, Vernazza, Riomaggiore) and two "frazioni", [fraʦˈʦjoni] i.e. a small village or hamlet outside the main town. (Corniglia frazione of Vernazza, Manarola frazione of Riomaggiore).

All FAQs about Cinque Terre