Liguria is a small coastal region renowned for its stunning landscape, running along Italy's Mediterranean coast between the French border and Tuscany. It shares the north-west of the country with its northern neighbor Piedmont. Known as the Italian Riviera, this thin, beautiful strip of rugged land with its Mediterranean climate and poor, stony soils is dominated by hills with sheer drops that almost fall straight into the sea. These steep elevations make vine growing a challenge, resulting in scattered vineyards (some can only be reached by boat) with limited production. In some areas the slopes are so steep that the land has to be cultivated by hand.
Further inland, the hillsides offer only marginally less vertical altitudes, and planting of vines is dense and compact; viticulture plays an essential role in the prevention of soil erosion and landslides. Despite this difficult environment, vines have been grown in this area for more than 25 centuries since they were introduced by the Etruscans and Greeks. Later, in Roman times, the most famous area to emerge was Cinque Terre (Five Lands), now a DOC, in the far east of the region.