Cinque Terre at night

Cinque Terre to Limit the Number of Visitors in 2016

Preserving a Place for the Future

Earlier this week the Italian government unveiled a plan to drastically reduce the number of visitors to the beautiful and mountainous area of Cinque Terre. Last year over 2.5 million tourists visited Cinque Terre – a region of five remote fishing villages on the edge of the Mediterranean – to admire the colorful, centuries old buildings nestled in rugged coastal cliffs.

The large influx of visitors, fed by massive cruise ships and streams of tour buses, has taken it’s toll on this UNESCO World Heritage site. In recent years, increased urban and transportation-system development has altered Cinque Terre’s unique and fragile environment, resulting in massive mudslides and flooding. Throngs of people crowding streets during summer months have radically altered these small, tight knit communities. Although tourism has brought new wealth and prosperity to the area, the necessity to strike a balance to preserve it’s natural resources and ancient way of life is very real.

The Cinque Terre Park System has made a bold move to find that balance, saying it will limit the number of visitors to 1.5 million in 2016 – 1 million fewer than the previous year. The Park plans to administer this new program by allocating tickets purchased in advance. The Park expects at least two years for full implementation to be achieved.

At The Blue Walk we recognize and acknowledge the conflicting role tourism can play in how areas develop. We are happy to offer Cinque Terre in our portfolio of tours, and it is one of our most popular destinations. Our small-group tours seek to have minimal impact on an area. We rely on already existing infrastructure, moving by foot, ferry, or train whenever possible. Moreover, we try to tread lightly on the spaces we pass through, allowing the place to effect us, rather than the other way around.
The Blue Walk will continue to follow this story, and how it might affect our tours for this and upcoming seasons. We are visiting Cinque Terre in April and are hopeful we move through prior to the ticketing requirement, and are prepared to begin the application process if needed. (Now might be a great time to visit, as it will likely only get more difficult as time goes on.) We will make every effort to work with the Cinque Terre Park System in their efforts to protect and preserve this very special place on Earth, as well as provide our clients with the unique, rejuvenating experience you’ve come to expect.

An interesting documentary featuring the complex nature and conflicting interests of Cinque Terre’s environmental development or preservation is explored in the documentary Vendemmia.