The marine protected area of the Cinque Terre is located in the easternmost portion of the Riviera di Levante, west of Portovenere (SP); interested in the stretch of sea between Punta Mesco, in the town of Levanto, and Capo Montenero, in the town of Riomaggiore, covering an area of 4,554 hectares and extending on the coast line for 19.3 km.
"A rocky landscape, austere, similar to the strongest Calabria, asylum for fishermen and farmers living in shabby on a strip of beach that is increasingly thinner, naked and solemn frame of a life of the most primitive of Italy". So, a few decades ago, Eugenio Montale described this stretch of the Ligurian coast, in particular natural and landscape value, characterized by cliffs overlooking the sea, bays, coves, caves and crevices between the rocks.
In marine protected area correspondence, on the coast, the beauty of the scenery and variety of flora and fauna prompted the establishment of a national park, which is the smallest but also the most densely populated of the country, with almost five thousand inhabitants distributed in the historic "five lands". Here the work of man has, over time, profoundly changed the natural environment by cutting the steep hillsides to obtain strips of land cultivated - the so-called "cyan".
marine protected area within two integral reserve areas have been identified, classified "A" two areas "B" of the general reserve and an area "C" partial reserve.
- ZONE A - Zones A, maximum protection, are two, coinciding with the features of the surrounding sea Punta Mesco and Capo Monte Negro.
- ZONE B - The two areas "B", the general reserve, include limited stretches of beach close to both areas "A".
- ZONE C - The "C" area, that is to say the marine area of partial reserve, comprises the residue of sea delimited by the outside perimeter of the WAP and adjoining, towards the inside, with the two areas "B" .
What are the protected species of fauna and flora within this area?
The great variety of plant and animal species is due to the diverse characteristics of the seabed, the ocean currents, the variable salinity of the water, the variations in light intensity.
In a relatively small bottom surface, they share the habitat many species, some infrequent in other Mediterranean resorts, for example, among the fans, the polychrome gorgonian (Leptogorgia sarmentosa) and the white gorgonian (Eunicella verrucosa), a rare species in the Mediterranean but quite common in these waters - similar plants to the corals to speak.The rock walls that go deep are colonized by species that can thrive even in poor lighting conditions, up to reach the coral. The oceanic Posidonia (F. Buracchi / Panda Photo), however, is a higher plant rather widespread on sandy bottoms: in the Monterosso area, from Punta Mesco at Fegina beach, there is a real prairie that stretches from a depth of 5-8 meters to 20-25 meters.
In Corniglia area is the widespread nodosa, another marine seagrass characteristics similar to Neptune grass, which here forms a small prairie. The sheer cliffs of Punta Mesco and Capo Montenegro are the richest of life and home to particular species that, in addition to the aforementioned Eunicella warty, the rare Savaglia savaglia, or false black coral; the particular seabed lighting conditions, allow to observe a few meters deep different species "shade-tolerant", ie lovers of twilight, which usually live in more challenging depths, like Paramuricea clavata, the most beautiful of the Mediterranean sea fan.In supralittoral floor, you have a massive presence of limpets and mussels. As it descends deeper increases the diversity of benthic fauna: sea urchins, starfish, anemones, sponges. Among the shellfish is widespread clam cowrie filthy (M. Lanini / Panda Photo), the beautiful shiny shell of gray / orange.The fish species that swim in the waters of the AMP are many, from grouper to pray, do not miss the glances, the white bream and tanute, and some wrasses, as the thrush and the damsel pavonina (D. Lopes / Panda Photo). The whole area is included in AMP "Pelagos" Sanctuary for marine mammals, Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance, established in 1999 through collaboration between France, Monaco and Italy (Liguria, Tuscany and northern Sardinia).
The sanctuary, which covers 100,000 square km, has unique environmental characteristics that have allowed the establishment of a food chain conducive to cetaceans. In the area of the Sanctuary is estimated the presence of a thousand whales, dolphins between 30-40,000, bottlenose and common dolphins; and again Risso (V. Puggioni / Panda Photo), sperm whales, pilot whales and zifi, plus occasional minke whales, which in these waters are the necessary conditions both for supplying the food, both for reproduction.
A marine world of immense variety, with a beauty so rare and fragile. But not impossible to visit: they are in fact different diving organized by private and from the Environmental Education Center of the National Park of the Cinque Terre to the discovery of life forms that inhabit this part of the sea.You just need to dive in, to make brand new encounters!