As the main trail between from Corniglia and Manarola is still closed, we took Sentiero #586, a path of the Paessagio Del Vino, up among the vineyards. It began with a long climb up steep steps among partly abandoned vineyards and olive groves and through a lush wood of pine, oak and Mediterranean scrub. The trail then flattened out through a long stretch of active vineyards, with the vines on one side of the narrow, uneven path and a drop to the sea on the other! The grape leaves were turning, but the olives were still being harvested. Wild boars do severe damage to the stock and walls and are kept at bay by electric fences.
While winemaking has been a significant aspect of the region’s economy for centuries, by the 1960’s wine production was decreasing and the vineyards were being deserted. As a consequence, the dry stone walls were also in disrepair. Efforts are underway to reverse that trend. For example, A new generation of younger vintners in a cooperative, the Cantina Sociale Cooperativa Agricultura Cinque Terre, supported by government, have since rejuvenated the culture of the Cinque Terre. White wines are the mainstay of the region, made primarily from Bosco, Albarola, Vermentino and Piccabon/Pizzamosca grapes. Red varietals include Gamba Rossa, Bonamico and Canaiolo. Cinque Terre is also known for its sweet, Sciacchetrà dessert wine, made from grapes dried for up to 40 days. We didn’t sample the wine, although we tasted delicious Schiacchetrà-flavored gelato.
At a coffee stop in Volastra, a village on the trail high above Manarola, we met a couple from Vancouver who told us that one of their reasons for their current trip to Europe was to visit a friend in Berlin who has Parkinson’s. We also chatted to a German couple from Munich who have a summer cottage in Laurentians!
Descending into Manarola provided great views but some difficult terrain. As a result Lois decided to buy a walking pole. They only come as a pair so Paul will carry the other. They are collapsible and very lightweight. Supper was take-out gnocchi with walnut sauce which we ate in the comfort of our apartment.