The Cinque Terre or five lands are exalted by tourists from round the world. For many, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must see on a first, second and third trip to Italy. What's the allure? The five lands - Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore - are perched on a mountainous coast. They're surrounded by steep slopes of terraced vineyards and olive groves. They're set in a stunning natural location. The Cinque Terre, once reachable only by boat or cliff-skirting pathway, boasts crystal clear waters and one of Italy's best known hiking trails. Apart from Monterosso, which has grown in size, hamlets the Cinque Terre remain. And when the day trippers leave, they're deliciously serene. But make no mistake; there are no luxury shops, gourmet restaurants or five star hotels on this stretch of the Ligurian coast. Casual cafes and restaurants serve simple yet delectable local cuisine. Shops sell primarily local foodstuff - olives, wine and cheese. The quick-witted proprietors have turned modest apartments into modern bed and breakfasts complete with private bath, minibar and, in many cases, a spectacular view. Why bring the kids? There is no reason not to!
Terrace farming, also known as step farming and often simply called terracing, is a method of cultivation. Terrace farms are a series of step-like ledges supported by man-made walls. Crops are grown on the carved steps of flat land called terraces. Terrace farming is a way to grow crops on steep hills and mountainsides. Terraces are easier to cultivate than vertical slopes. Terraces prevent rain from eroding the soil. Terrace farming is practiced in many parts of the world including Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. The Incas were the first people to use terrace farming.
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