The Cinque Terre National Park was established with a Decree of the President of the Italian Republic on October 6th, 1999.
The Decree was published on the official journal 17th December 1999, No. 295
.Extension and population
The National Park's territory extends over 3,860 hectares, with about 4,000 inhabitants living there.Municipalities
Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, La Spezia (Tramonti area) and Levanto (Mesco area)Anthropic environment
The meeting between man and nature led to the enhancement of the Cinque Terre National Park's territory. For a thousand years man have been working on those steep mountains developing cultivated areas to inhabit those areas that were once covered with thick woods.
Generation after generation, man crushed the rock and used the bigger ones to build the dry-stone walls, creating an "artificial" landscape consisting of terraces where the grapevine was cultivated. From this activity, which is very difficult to carry out due to the rough terrain and the logistical and transport difficulties, it comes an excellent and high-quality wine production.
Besides the grapevine, also lemon tree cultivations, olive groves and vegetable gardens characterize the landscape. Such a landscape lends the Cinque Terre a more enchanting aspect. The small villages prove that the contact between man and nature did not cause damages to the territory. The habitats developed with respect of the natural and environmental values, safeguarding the area from the dangers of the excessive building expansion. The presence of many streets and paths that can be covered only on foot are essential. Natural Environment
The Cinque Terre National Park is a nature oasis which keeps all the features of an unspoilt nature. The landscape, made of rocks of different origins and ages, is characterized by a particular gradient and by the absence of flat areas. The high and indented coast is linear, with few inlets and promontories, dug by the sea which creates pleasant and charming caves. The few beaches, with both sand and pebbles, are the result of the sedimentation of the debris brought by the water courses, the landslides and the heaps of materials left by man. The mountain chain protected the coast from the northern winds, whereas the warm and wet airstreams coming from the sea climb the mountain spurs with the consequent condensation of the steam which turns into fog on the ridge and into rain at high altitudes. The climates is mediterranean, with dry summer seasons and particularly mild winters.Flora
The orographic complexity originated a variety of microclimates with the consequent diversification of the vegetation. The holm oak forests have been partially replaced with cultivated belts or with other trees, such as the maritime pine, the Aleppo pine, cork oaks and chestnut trees. The coastline areas feature the sea fennel, the marine daucus and the caper bush.
In the rock environments it is easy to find the silver ragwort, the rue and other varieties; in the largest rock cracks it is possible to observe the tree spurge and many plant species typical of the Maquis. The whole area is characterized by the presence of shrubs such as the rosemary, the thyme, the helichrysum and the lavender. Tree heath brushes and mixed ones with mastic, Myrtus communis, terebinth, thorny broom, strawberry tree, Phillyrea and prickly juniper create a thick and tangled wood where also the common smilax, the rubia, the Clematide odorosa, the asparagus, the Etruscan honeysuckle and the Mediterranean honeysuckle grow. Fauna
Among the avifauna species it is worth mentioning the yellow-legged gull, the peregrine falcon and the common raven; among the mammals there are the edible dormouse, the least weasel, the European mole, the beech marten, the badger, the fox and the wild boar. In the woods it is easy to observe the common all lizard, the European green lizard and some snakes such as the green whip snake, the Aesculapian snake and the viper. Near the brooks one can observe frogs and salamanders with their wonderful colors.