Guest post by Christine Godfrey
Fall in love with a place and a man. Fourteen years have passed and now my home is among these hills. I was born in a place of immense space and great convenience, but to set up home I chose a small corner, far away, inconvenient, unique.
Americans love the Cinque Terre like opposites which attract. I came for one holiday at the end of summer, and then the summer never ended. In those days I visited wine cellars, conversed, drank wine, swam in the crystalline blue water and met Nicola.
We have lived through the tourism boom together and the crisis brought about by the flood. When someone you love is in pain, you discover an unexpected resourcefulness and above all a new sense of community. It may seem paradoxical, but since October 2011 the Cinque Terre have become even more beautiful because we love them more.
There is a story behind the terracing, the dry stone walls and the Sciacchetrà (raisin wine). There is a culture of work, of knowledge about the environment and love for the land. Grandparents who carried the land removed from the hills in baskets on their backs, or in carts, to make way for the railways and who, with that land, ploughed the terraces for vegetable gardens and vineyards. The children who, returning from the sea, had to bring home a big stone for those dry stone walls.
Today we want to tell those who come to visit us these stories by taking them out on trips, trekking the over 200 paths amongst the olive groves and vineyards which, day after day, we are discovering. With the web and new social channels we receive thousands of photos from all the friends who have spent holidays with us and, thanks to them, we have discovered new ways of experiencing the territory. The idea of running came from a tourist/runner who came here to train. We run along the narrow mule tracks overlooking the sea, crossing the spectacular terraces of Corniglia and Manarola, passing though the rural villages of Volastra and Groppo in a landscape which is both marine and mountainous at the same time. We run along the old monorail tracks, the only means of transporting the harvest, from up in the cliffs where the villages seem suspended over the sea. Then we stop off in a wine cellar for a glass of Sciacchetrà.
To tempt you just take a look at these incredible images!
Wasn’t it worth moving here?