In addition to its marvellous nature, the Cinque Terre is also rich in culture and steeped in history. The fishing villages that make up the area are even older than the town of La Spezia they gravitate around today, and for many centuries went about their business along the mule tracks and paths in the mountains linking the inland areas to the sea.
The earliest human settlements we are aware of in the area stretch back to 3000 years BC, although it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that the area emerged from its isolation from the rest of the world, thanks to the newly established rail links between Genoa and La Spezia.
The most convenient way to reach the Cinque Terre is by train, since all five of the villages are linked by the rail line. Weather permitting, the Cinque Terre is also accessible by sea, with numerous boats leaving from La Spezia on a route that also links up with Portovenere.
The only way to enjoy a genuine Cinque Terre experience, however, is to delve right into the heart of the area and the lifestyle of the colourful coastal villages, admiring their splendid hues up close and savouring the marvellous natural landscape, where visitors can explore both the inland areas or venture along the paths on the steep cliffs (such as path no. 1 “del Crinale”, along the ridge, which the locals once travelled along for trading purposes).