Today there are 23 National Parks and one is waiting for all the necessary measures to be established. They cover more than one and a half millions hectares, which is equal to the 5% of the whole national territory.
The Cinque Terre National Park, compared with the other parks, features some elements that make it unique.
The Cinque Terre Park, with its 3,860 hectares
, is Italy's smallest national park and the most populated one at the same time, with about 4,000 inhabitants
divided into five hamlets: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare.
What makes this territory special in comparison with other territories, is that here the natural environment
has been deeply changed by human
For centuries the inhabitants of the Cinque Terre sectioned the steep slopes of the hills to obtain stripes of land to cultivate them. All of those narrow flat portions of land called "ciàn" are supported by dry-stone walls, which is the real characterizing feature that made Cinque Terre famous all over the world. The human intervention created an architecture of terraces on a territory which develops in a vertical direction, making the landscape atypical and markedly anthropized: this is the reason why it is called "Parco dell'Uomo
" (Man's Park).
The National Park especially focuses on the safeguard of this peculiarity which, due to the physiological neglect of the agricultural activities by industrial society, led to landscape decay phenomena. Whereas the other parks are usually established with the aim of protecting them from the daily human presence, here the Park Authority aims at bringing man back to this landscape in order to cultivate it and take care of it, rediscovering and repeating the ancient actions of those who made the Cinque Terre's territory be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List