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The Ligurian Islands - Liguria

The Ligurian coastal region between Cinque Terre and Portovenere is a cultural landscape of high scenic and cultural value. The form and disposition of the small towns and the shaping of the landscape surrounding them, overcoming the disadvantages of a steep and broken terrain, graphically encapsulate the continuous history of human settlement in this region over the past millennium. In 1997 Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto) were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Golfo dei Poeti view

The Ligurian Islands are all characterised by their small or even tiny size and by their vicinity to the coast. Palmaria (province of La Spezia) is the main island (0.61 sq. miles) and is almost joined to the promontory of Portovenere which lies just 105 metres away. Palmaria closes the Gulf of La Spezia along with the small islands of Tino and Tinetto. The former (0.07 sq. miles is a military area and there is no public access; also the latter is very small (0.11 sq. miles), but very interesting from an archaeological point of view. The remains of two partially restored early Christian chapels can be seen. The very small oratory which is situated on the western point dates back to an earlier period than the second construction, a more complex chapel located in the flat area at the centre of the island.

Palmaria
Palmaria Island

This triangular-shaped island lies very close to the Ligurian coast. It is covered with low scrub, although the dwarf palms that gave their name to the island have disappeared. The island was inhabited during the prehistoric age and finds of it can be seen at the Museo Civico of La Spezia. The area overlooking the harbour belongs to the Italian Navy and no public access is permitted. There are no tourist facilities.

 
Tino and Tinetto

You can then visit Tino and the ruins of the Monastery of San Venerio. The festival of San Venerio, a religious hermit who lived on the island of Tino, is held on 13 September every year. The island itself, a jewel in the Gulf of La Spezia, is occupied by a naval garrison but can be visited on the occasion of religious services in remembrance of the saint. You can visit the remains of the abbey, the small cloister and the reconstructed church. Not far from Tino is the small island of Tinetto, where you will find the ruins of a fifth-century church.

   
Gallinara

The island of Gallinara (province of La Spezia) has a surface of 0.23 sq. miles and lies less than a mile from the coast near Albenga. This uninhabited island covered with scrub was given its name for the wild hens living on it (Gallina = hen in Italian). The remains of an early Christian church and of a Benedictine monastery can be found on the island. The only mooring place is on the north-western side. Its 1.86 miles coastline is steep, but the seabed is beautiful and famous for the presence of a very rare black coral.

Food & Wine
The main dishes of the Cinque Terre are:
Troffie is a kind of pasta made from chestnut or wheat flour and is one of the forefathers of modern pasta. These are topped with the old, traditional pesto, the local traditional sauce made from the original recipe consisting of basil, garlic, virgin olive oil, grated cheese, pine nuts and marjoram. Tagliatelle can be served with either mushrooms, cabbage, potatoes, beans, chickpeas and a spoonful of pesto.

 

In the Cinque Terre, traditional rice cakes, flavoured with dried mushrooms and frittate, (a type of omelette) are now served as starters. Also popular are cotolette di acciughe (fried stuffed anchovies) and frittelle di bianchetti (a kind of small omelette made with whitebait). The Ligurian Wines from Cinque Terre are: Cinque Terre, Sciacchetrà.

 

For more information:
APT Cinqueterre e Golfo dei Poeti - Local Tourist Board
Azienda di Promozione Turistica Cinque Terre Golfo dei Poeti La Spezia
v.le Mazzini 47 - C.P. 345 - 19100 La Spezia ITALY
 
www.aptcinqueterre.sp.it

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