The Cinque Terre Marine Protected Area
The marine protected area of the Cinque Terre, established in 1997 to safeguard its ecosystem, includes two areas A of integral reserve, two areas B of general reserve and an extensive partial reserve area "C". The two areas A, “Punta Mesco” and “Capo del Montenero”, represent the areas of greatest naturalistic value. In areas A mooring, anchoring, access by motor boats and sailing boats, fishing and bathing are also characterized by certain restrictions: you can only access swimming with rowing boats and without any type of fins, shoes or gloves, while diving is allowed only for scientific research purposes and only with prior authorization.
Zones B protect the area of “Punta Mesco” and “Capo di Montenero”: the first includes the Oceanic Posidonia meadow, the most important and extensive one on the Cinque Terre coast, while the second hosts fascinating coral reefs. In these areas, the restrictions are less, sailing and motor boats are allowed (with a speed of less than 5 knots) subject to authorization by the managing Body, mooring in special buoys, scuba diving by authorized diving centers, artisanal fishing by fishing companies that have their registered office in the municipalities within the AMP and sport fishing with line and rod is allowed for residents.
Zone C includes all the remaining area; all authorized activities for zone "A" and "B" are allowed, sport fishing, with line and rod, authorized by the manager, for non-residents in the Municipalities within the protected marine area, sport fishing with creels and boulters for residents in the Municipalities within the protected marine area and navigation at a speed lower than 10 knots. The use of water scooter, watercrafts, and spearfishing is prohibited in all areas A, B and C.
The easternmost part of the Gulf of Poets is the Caprione promontory, which joins the Gulf itself to Bocca di Magra. The latter is a popular seaside resort located in the municipality of Ameglia, right where the Magra river flows. By boat, from the sea, stands the Santa Croce Monastery, located on the east side of the Caprione Promontory. In this paradise of Mediterranean scrub there are two absolutely unmissable destinations: “Punta Corvo” in Montemarcello and “Punta Bianca”, near the “Santa Croce Monastery”, on the west side of the Promontory. The first one is characterized by the dark color of its sand and you can easily moor there. From the sea it appears as an attractive landing place, secluded and protected by a rich vegetation. The second beach, “Punta Bianca”, is an inlet characterized by white smooth and flat limestone rocks, which can also be reached by sea. From this side of the Caprione Promontory, in particular from the military battery that you will encounter before reaching the beach, the view extends from the Versilia coast to the Gulf of Portovenere with the Islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.
Continuing towards Lerici we will meet the pretty village of Tellaro: from the sea stands the church of “San Giorgio”, built right on the cliff in the sixteenth century. On our marine journey we will meet the village of Fiascherino with its suggestive coves including two beautiful beaches. Once we arrive in Lerici we immediately notice the Castle, perched on a hill, and the picturesque fishing port. We then cross the breakwater to reach the modern “Porto Mirabello” in La Spezia. Looking up, on the gentle hills of the “Colli”, we will admire the “San Giorgio Castle” with the oldest museum in town, then we continue westwards meeting with the gaze the seaside villages of “Marola”, “Cadimare”, “Fezzano” and “Le Grazie” with the magnificent “Villa del Varignano”. We head towards the opposite side of the Gulf of La Spezia: the westernmost part of the Gulf of Poets is represented by the promontory of Portovenere with, in front, the archipelago of the “Palmaria”, “Tino” and “Tinetto” Islands. On our way to Portovenere we will also meet “Torre Scola”. This stretch of sea offers endless surprises! What about the picturesque “Calata Doria” with its characteristic tower-houses, all colored, in the village of Portovenere or the 1198 “Church of San Pietro”, built on a rocky outcrop! From above the Doria Castle stands out with its surrounding walls that descend towards the village.
From the sea we will admire a fantastic landscape: we will cross “Le Bocche”, a narrow stretch of sea that separates Portovenere from the Palmaria Island, and we’ll continue south, circumnavigating the Island itself. A sequence of fascinating places will await us: the "Grotta Azzurra" with its reflections on the rocky walls, the "Volcanic Cave" of “Cala Grande”, which recalls a lava flow, both on the western side of the Island and the "Grotta dei Colombi" South. We’ll continue our journey towards the beautiful beaches of the “Pozzale” locality, in front of the “Tino” Island with its 19th century lighthouse and behind it the “Tinetto”, the smallest island of them all. From “Calata Doria” in Portovenere we’ll veer west towards the first of the “Cinque Terre”, “Riomaggiore”, savoring unique scenarios: "Le Rosse" in the locality of “Albana” in “Tramonti di Campiglia”, with the idyllic “Albana” beach, can only be reached by sea. These are overhanging rocks characterized by red rock, visible even from afar. Here are the rocks called "Le Nere" for the presence of slate, in the “Muzzerone” area: they rise overhanging the sea and hide, like real treasures, small beaches with clear and crystalline waters, among which the “Persico” beach, composed of large round stones.
Continuing our journey, veered “Capo Montenero”, we’ll meet the first village of the “Cinque Terre”, “Riomaggiore”, perched on a rocky outcrop, with its beach, the mooring point for boats, its Marina and ad hoc paths through the vineyards. This village is the starting point of the famous "Via dell’Amore". Beyond Riomaggiore, a short distance away, lies the village of “Manarola”, also perched on a rock and divided into two parts by the main street, which was a stream in the beginning. It is characterized by the “Marina” with the mooring point for boats, the beautiful waterfront path that leads to the majestic terrace under the cemetery and the characteristic paths through the vineyards. The third village of the “Cinque Terre” is “Corniglia”, the highest one of all, with its rural traditions. From the sea it looks like an imposing village: here it’s worth diving into the small bay called "La Marina". We’ll continue our journey until we reach “Vernazza”, an ancient village that strikes the gaze of visitors for the presence of the watchtower, the “Castello dei Doria”, the “Bastione Belforte” at the mouth of the Marina underneath the Castle, the magnificent parish church of “Santa Margherita d'Antiochia” with its beaches. Finally, we’ll reach the largest hamlet of the 5 Terre, “Monterosso”. We’ll will arrive in the ancient part of the village with its beaches, the mooring point of the boats and the historic Clock Tower. We will sight the suggestive “Aurora Tower” looking up towards the Convent of the “Frati Cappuccini”, the suggestive cemetery, the large sandy beaches of the “Fegina” promenade, the villa of Eugenio Montale, the “Villa del Gigante” and the beautiful “Punta Mesco”, a protected marine area.