» Watching activities
The nature of the Cinque Terre offers many occasionsfor the lovers of watching: flora, land and marine fauna, wonderful sea environment...
The Hermitage over the sea, because of its excellent location, is the ideal point for this kind of activities.
» The flora
It's a particular one, quite similar to the flora in the North Africa and Southern Spain.
Pine and chestnut woods go together with the growing of olive trees, fig trees and citrus orchards. The amazing architecture of the terraced grapes-vine cultivation is unfortunately degrading. The wild vegetation on the cliffs sheer to the sea is made of olm-oaks, euphorbias, american agaves, prickly pears.
The spontaneous flora in the Cinque terre is extremely rich: rue, caper, myrtle, origan, thyme, violets, heather, helicrium, snap-dragon. Geraneum, wild carnation, lavander, multicolor daises, broom, wild asparagus, marine honeysukle, "stracciabrage" ( it means "trousers torner"), madder, evergreen rose ,arbutus berry-tree, Luni cornflower, red valerian, "mazzolina grass", cineraria, wild fennel wallflower, rocky cabbage, red juniper, furge, female cystus, etruruan lonicera, ailanto trees, St. John lily, elyerisio, Venus centaura, acquiline fern, mediterranean orchid.
The royal sea-gull who lives in the coasts and beaches, is quite diffused, less common are the osprey, the buzzard, the red woodpeeker, the peregrin falcon, the cuckoo.
It's easy to watch the blackbird, the blackcap, the sparrow, the wren, the robin, the "occhiotto", the goldfinch.
In spring and autumn it's possible to admire the migration of carrier-pigeons and wild ducks, swallows and swifts.
Hunting is forbidden in the National Park of the Cinque terre.
» Other kinds of land fauna
Butterflies are beautiful, some of them belong to unusual species: the polyxeria, the multicolours Vanessa, the swallowtail, the podalius, the peacockeye, the cabbage-butterfly, the Vanessa atalanta and the charaxes.
There are animals such as the fox, the badger, the beach-marten, the ferret, the squirrel and the wild boar, but it's difficult to see them.
» Whale watching
The gulf of the Cinque Terre is a strategic point of the "Cetacea Sanctuary" an area originally delimited by Cape Corso and the Ligurian coast and recentently extended up to the northern coast of Sardinia, for the guardianship of these animals. From october to March they frequently pass along the coast, it's then possible to watch different species of cetacea, such as sperm-whales, gramps, tursys, common dolphins.
During summer the cetacea swimm off-shore, with the exception of some common dolphin.
For more information on the Sanctuary, we suggest you to visit the page dedicated to the Marine Protected Areas in the Research section of the website of ICRAM - Istituto centrale per la ricerca scientifica e tecnologica applicata al mare (Central Institute for Scientific and Technological Research Applied to the Sea), and then follow the link to the Ligurian Sea Cetacean Sanctuary page.
The sounding-depth of the Cinque Terre is rocky, rich in vegetation, luxuriant in ichthys species, crustacea and mollusca.
If you have a basic equipment it won't be easy to see the red or black coral or the gorgonias in Punta Masco (moreovre this zone is the more protected in the Natural Area), anyway you'll discover an enchanting submarine world.
The coast expands for about 20 km. where an incredible variety of bays, rocks, reefs, small beaches, ravines and caves follow one another without a break.
Swimming underwater you'll first meet a large rocky spot covered with musk and occasionally some sponge colony, then you'll find waving prairies of poseydonia, ending in a sandy plateau.
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