Complementing the Outstanding Universal Value recognised for the Site are a series of additional elements more or less directly related to its Outstanding Universal Value, which we could define as complementary values.
Buildings and areas of special public interest
Art. 131 of the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape states: “The protection and enhancement of the landscape in order to safeguard the values it expresses as perceptible identifying manifestations.”
The landscape constraints under national legislation are governed by Legislative Decree 22 January 2004, n. 42, Code of Cultural and Landscape Heritage and subsequent amendments and additions. Art. 136 identifies the buildings and areas of considerable public interest to be subject to landscape constraints with a specific administrative provision, “immovable property”, “villas and gardens”, “parks”, etc., so-called “Individual beauties”, as well as “real estate complexes”, “panoramic beauties”, etc., called “overall beauty”).
For a more complete discussion, refer to the MANAGEMENT PLAN a- chapter 3.1.
The relationship with the sea
The registered site’s landscape is strongly characterised by the relationship with the sea. Not included in the definition of the site boundaries, the sea is the protagonist counterpart of the UNESCO territories: from the important environmental and scenic ‐ perceptive role, to the economy that it generates thanks to tourism, and seaside and fishing activities, which provide typical fine products. In fact, although agriculture has always been the predominant activity of the land, fishing has also contributed to characterising the local economy and society. In particular, in Monterosso, catching blue fish remained the occupation of most of the inhabitants until the second half of the 20th century.
Flora and fauna
The terrestrial and marine environments also possess a great naturalistic interest due to their extraordinary wealth and variety of animal and plant species. The territory’s natural value is sanctioned by the presence of a widespread environmental protection network: two Parks (Cinque Terre National Park and Porto Venere Regional Natural Park), two marine reserves (Cinque Terre Protected Marine Area and Marine Protection Area of the Regional Natural Park of Porto Venere), the Cetacean Sanctuary and 5 terrestrial SIC (Punta Mesco – IT1344210, Costa Riomaggiore-Monterosso – IT1344323, Porto Venere – Riomaggiore – S. Benedetto – IT1345005, Isola Palmaria – IT1345104 and Tino islands – Tinetto IT1345103) and 1 marine SIC (Fondali Punta Mesco – Riomaggiore IT1344270).
Among the endangered flora and fauna, is the Fiordaliso (cornflower) of Porto Venere and the European leaf-toed (Tarantolino) gecko. The first is a small perennial plant, an exclusive endemism of the promontory of the same name and of the islands, belonging to the Composite family. It has a lively violet inflorescence and forms a bush perched on the cliffs typical of the west coast of the Park Area. The second is the smallest European gecko (8 cm including its tail), a strictly nocturnal reptile characterised by a fragmented and sparse distribution. In all of Liguria, it can only be found in the Torre Quezzi (in Genoa) and, at island level, exclusively on the islands of Tino and Tinetto. The rarity of this small gecko is witnessed by its inclusion in the Red List of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as “near threatened”, soon to be classified as threatened. Due to its presence, the two small islands have been identified as SCI areas (SIC IT1345103).
Contrary to what a superficial knowledge of the places might suggest, the current appearance of the far Eastern Ligurian coast and its settlement problems are not recent history.
The area’s geomorphological characteristics make it difficult to conserve and/or find evidence of non-emerging archaeological character. However, the places’ impervious nature identifies obligatory paths that were certainly in use at least from the protohistoric era, and the extraordinary monitoring potential of the ridges, simultaneously facing the sea and overlooking the inland, created ideal control points. The same use of dry stone is also documented long before the arrival of the Romans in these areas and it is possible that the terraced arrangement dates back to the prehistoric period.
Presences dating back to the first phases of domestication of plants and animals (Neolithic: V millennium BC.) were found on Palmaria Island, where a certain continuity of occupation is confirmed by the Copper age burials of the Grotta dei Colombi (IV millennium BC).
More enigmatic, and perhaps for this reason more suggestive, are the rock and megalithic evidence, still of dubious interpretation, found on the Biassa ridge and in the surrounding areas, attributable to a broad chronological period (from the Copper Age to the post-Middle Ages). Presences of the Bronze and Iron ages, the latter attributable to the Apuan Ligurians who fiercely opposed the Romans, are attested in Pignone, Carpena (inhabited) and by some tombs found in the municipalities of Vernazza, Monterosso, as well as in Soviore and Pegazzano and all find correspondence in similar discoveries that took place in the hinterland of La Spezia and along the ridges of Lunigiana and Garfagnana. This testifies that the district was already part of a complex system of occupation and exploitation of the territory in prehistoric times, made possible by widespread knowledge of the places and routes and the ability to, although difficult, exploit the region’s potential.
Presence from the Roman period leaves an illustrious testimony in the Villa del Varignano, in the municipality of Porto Venere, occupied from the 1st century. B.C. until the 4th century A.D., which composed of a manor and a production area (the mill was particularly well preserved).
Discoveries from the imperial period are documented in Fezzano and in the Marola area, as well as in underwater sites (wrecks) off Porto Venere.
To add this collection of archaeological evidence, there is the following toponymical data: Corniglia seems to derive its name from the Gens Cornelia or from the term cornu describing the rocky outcropping on which it stands. Riomaggiore is named after the Rivus maior that flows under the main road.
Moreover, almost all the villages are often cited in documents as early as the 12th-13th century, a period also witnessed by their form and location, as well as by the architecture of churches, fortresses, and dwellings.