|Italy - Cinque Terre National Park|
The site was listed by UNESCO in 1997 and is managed by the Cinque Terre National Park within the framework of a programme to preserve this "agro-landscape" using good practices of eco-tourism and environmentally friendly agriculture.
Cinque Terre: one of the oldest wine-growing areas in EuropeCinque Terre is located in Liguria on the north west coast of Italy. It consists of a strip of land whose wines were well-known for centuries throughout the Roman Empire. It takes its name from the five towns spaced evenly along the coast, clinging to the rock face down deep, narrow valleys.
Steep slopes, with no plain, a poor soil with a very low PH. Undaunted by these inhospitable features, the early inhabitants transformed the area into an agricultural landscape of terraces with 6,729 km of dry stone walls, almost entirely devoted to vine cultivation.
Cinque Terre: a testing ground for environmentally friendly productionWith the decline of agriculture, the terraces deteriorated with serious risks of landslip.
The national park is working towards the preservation of this landscape heritage by developing wine production, particularly the famous Sciacchetrà, a very fragrant wine made from dried grapes. At the beginning of the 20th century the vineyards covered an area of 1,800 hectares.
The population decline and socio-economic changes of the last 20 years, particularly due to the influx of tourists, has reduced this area to 120 hectares.
Today, the national park aims to reintroduce vine-growing into the abandoned areas and use tourism as one of the keys to safeguard the landscape and develop a micro-economy based on a broad social fabric. Since 2001, about 15 hectares have been replanted with more than 30,000 vines, and wine production facilities and an olive oil mill have been established to allow environmentally friendly agriculture to develop on the restored terraces.
An eco-tourism experience for 2 million tourists a yearSince December 2000, the national park has developed an environmental certification programme for accommodation: there is no obligation to belong to this programme which takes the form of an environmental quality charter. Over and above a guarantee of quality service, it ensures the compatibility of tourist development with the preservation of natural resources and the environment.
In order to control the influx of tourists, "Cinque Terre tickets" have been designed in conjunction with the national railway company.
These tickets are valid for one, three or seven days and can be used in trains and boats between Levanto and La Spezia. They can also be used on the transport system which has been set up in the historic town centres, served by electric and gas-fuelled buses.
In the future, the national park also plans to introduce education and health care programmes.