Cinque Terre means five villages suspended between mountain and sea. Over the centuries, the struggle to conquer the soil needed for human survival generated a terraced landscape that is unique but extremely fragile. As recently as 2011, in Vernazza a major flood totally devastated the fields and the village. Preservation of this territory begins with clearing terraces invaded by weeds and thorns and rebuilding the dry-stone walls that limit them. The walls are built exclusively with stones of every size and shape, avoiding the use of cement that would render their structure too rigid and block water drainage and the natural life of the soil. Building and rebuilding them resembles an endless dialogue with the land itself, aimed to preserve its stability as well as its agricultural tradition. It’s a specialised and essential task that also permits to control the waterways descending towards the sea and to limit landslides.
Besides, the walls are home to a great variety of plants (Sedum, Inula Viscosa, Violaciocca, Parietaria, Valeriana) and little animals (grass snakes, mice, moles, badgers, weasels, scorpions, lizards, earthworms, etc.) and have an important influence on the humidity of air and soil.
That’s why, when work in the vineyard relaxes, sometimes with the help of friends and eager visitors, we spend our time restoring old walls, or clearing abandoned lots to plant new shoots that will, with a bit of patience, become productive vines.