The Italian Riviera, or Ligurian Riviera (ItalianRiviera ligure) is the narrow coastal strip which lies between the Ligurian Sea and the mountain chain formed by the Maritime Alps and the Apennines. Longitudinally it extends from the border with France and the French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur) near Ventimiglia (a former customs post) to Capo Corvo (also known as Punta Bianca) which marks the Eastern end of the Gulf of La Spezia and is close to the border with Tuscany. The Italian Riviera thus includes nearly all of the coastline of Liguria. (Historically it extended further to the west, through what is now French territory as far as Monaco.)
The Riviera's centre is Genoa, which divides it into two main sections: the Riviera di Ponente (“the coast of the setting sun”), extending westwards from Genoa to the French border; and the Riviera di Levante (“the coast of the rising sun”) between Genoa and Capo Corvo.
It is famous for its particularly mild climate which, together with the charm of its old fishing ports and the beauty of its landscape, has made it a popular destination for travellers and tourists since the time of Byron and Shelley.
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination.
The villages of the Cinque Terre were severely affected by torrential rains which caused floods and mudslides on October 25, 2011. Nine people have been confirmed killed by the floods, and damage to the villages, particularly Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, was extensive.