It is quite sure that the origins of Riomaggiore date back to the 8th Century, when the inhabitants of the Vara valley, searching a milder climate to raise grapevines and olive-trees without the fear of pirate raids, moved towards the coast. The town climbs up along the ridges overlooking the sea and it is characterized from the typical stone houses with coloured façades and slate-roofs.The town of Riomaggiore presents typical features reflecting its history and traditions.The town stretches along a vertical axe where steep staircases are the only means to move around the town.The typical houses have one or two-floor towers in order to use at best the place at disposal.
The first historical traces date back to 1239, when the inhabitants of the feudal district of Carpena entered in the Compagnia Genovese.Only in 1343 Riomaggiore became independent as municipality and administration, and during Napoleon’s age it absorbed also the town of Manarola, whose historical roots are even older than Riomaggiore itself. Guardiola Tower, now a natural park, once it was one of the most equipped fortresses in the area.Riomaggiore is located at the interior of the Natural Park of Cinque Terre (founded by a Decree of the President of the Republic in 1999), and it is a Protected Marine Area housing several very rare animal and vegetal species. The sea of Cinque Terre is characterized by the presence of wonderful animals like dolphins and whales; in fact it is part of the Whales’ Sanctuary, a protected Marine Area. The fishing is regulated.
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