People have been building terraces and houses on the rugged, steep hillside cliffs overlooking the sea since about the 11th century. Today these villages are very popular tourist destinations. There are paths, trains and boats to connect the villages. Although there are a few roads in the towns they are narrow and in want of repair in places. Parking can be a half mile away from the town therefore it is better to leave the car behind in the nearby larger city of La Spezia and take the train. Unlimited day passes for tourists are available with travel time between the villages only about 5 minutes. There is also a walking trail connecting all five villages one section of which is wheelchair friendly between Manarola and Corniglia. The main trail to Corniglia ends with 368 steps. Parts of the trail may be closed because of needed repairs.
Grapes and olives are grown in this northwestern, Italian region known as Liguria.
Fishing is the main occupation as well the main source of food for the village population. The houses were painted the different bright colors by the fishermen who wanted to be able to see their own house while they were at work offshore.
The stamps, above, were also interesting. The one on the right is the generic type Italian stamp and just shows a design with an envelope speeding off on delivery. My friend explained that the second stamp on the left commemorates the 65th anniversary of the insurrection by the women of Carrara, a little town in Tuscany during the Nazi occupying forces of World War II.
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Many thanks as always to my friend for continuing to send such beautiful and interesting cards.