Cliffside Villages : Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and Surrounding Islands

The mountain village of Portovenere is located along Italys west coast towards the end of the Italian Riviera. What is hanging down here on nets in the sea? Theyre mussels. They grow large and become wonderfully tasty nurtured in calm plankton-abundant sea water. Portovenere was originally built as an outpost for the port of Genoa, which prospered during the 12th century. Tall houses built tightly together in a row, create an outer wall. The whole town was one large coastal fortification facing the sea. At the end of the cape is St. Peters Cathedral. It stands at the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. Cinque Terre lies further along the coast. IT means five lands – it is a series of villages. This is one of them Manarola. Houses stand huddled together, clinging to the cliff.

Each house is painted in a different colour so people can recognize their own home while working out at sea. These villages were said to have been built around the 11th century, however, the path connecting this village to the next was only completed in the 1920s. The only means of transport to other villages was by ship.

Each isolated village relied entirely on the Mediterranean. Corniglia is located on top of a cliff around 100 meters above sea level.
The narrow village streets have encouraged a strong community spirit here. This is Monterosso al Mare, a popular tourist destination today. It used to be a small village living off wine making and fishing, but is now packed with hotels. Mussels from here are fleshy and taste delicious. Deep fried mussels with lemon are nice, but but what is especially recommended are mussels cooked in a fresh tomato sauce. This is home-made cooking Mamma would be proud of!

Tourists in Italy should make a stop here. And why not by boat. These villages – inscribed as World Heritage – are best seen from the sea.

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