Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. "The Five Lands" is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination.
There are few roads into the Cinque Terre towns that are accessible by car, and the one into Vernazza in particular is now open to a parking area leading to a 1/2 mile walk to town after the October 2011 storm damage. It is best to plan not to travel by car at all but to park at La Spezia, for instance, and take the trains.
Photo by Artur Staszewski, Creative Commons