On our first full day in Cinque Terre, Betsy and I set out to hike the 15 or so kilometers connecting the four southern most towns. We were told that the shoreline path between Corniglia and Manarola was closed, so we elected to take the mountain trail instead. Though our calves ended up being a bit sorer, we were rewarded with a two hour walk through terraced hillsides covered in working vineyards. According to Rick Steves, there are equal miles of human-made wall in Cinque Terre as in China's Great Wall. While the Great Wall stretches for miles, the Cinque Terre stacks it on top of itself in equally marvelous fashion, seemingly defying gravity. Or, at the very least, years of erosion. These walls are labor intensive, and the people of Cinque Terre must restore and repair them yearly. Their work is worth it. On our last night in town (in a moment that even Rick Steves would have envied), the locals from whom we rented our apartment invited us into their home and offered us wine grown in their hometown, Manarola.
Our first look at the vineyards was of this hillside, which seems to have fallen into disrepair. Nonetheless, the sturdy terraces are still visible from across the valley.
Corniglia, from which we climbed, is in the background.
The functioning vineyards shone yellow in the autumn sun. Most of the grapes have already been picked.