Friday, November 3, 2017

Corniglia to Manarola (through Volastra)

Our goal is this year is to complete the hikes to all five Cinque Terre towns plus Portovenere and  Levanto.  To start the last segment from Corniglia to Manarola to Riomaggiore, we catch the train from Monterrosso to Corniglia, head up the 365 steps to town, and follow the trail up from there.

 365 steps up to Corniglia

 Trail up from Corniglia

Corniglia shrinking in the distance

We pop in and out of incredible views and soon Manarola starts to appear just before the path bends the other way into the vineyards (where it it grape picking time), on to Volastra up in the hills, then down from Volastra into Manarola.  In the vineyards, the pickers are squatting alongside the vines, cutting off bunches of grapes and placing them in tubs, which are then carried down the hill on people's backs and stacked in trucks.  We can see that a lot of manual labor, care, and attention goes into making the great wines that we enjoy every day.  These people have passion for their work and it shows in the vineyards and in the great quality of the wines.

Manarola near, but far

 Trail continues, up, down, and through a beautiful back yard

 Through the vineyards

Grape picking time

After the vineyards, we pass through Volastra and follow the steps down to a steep descent into Manarola.  As we climb down, we get great views up and down the coast, with Monterosso in the distance.

 Steps and path to Manarola

Corniglia in the foreground, Monterosso in the distance

We cross through Manarola and find that the path to Riomaggiore is closed.  The Via dell'Amore along the coast has been closed since 2011 due to the devastating mudslides that year and, in the meantime, people started to take the old farmer's trail around the back side of the hills from Manarola to Riomaggiore, which has recently closed.  And now, there is no coastal trail between the two towns.

Chiuso (closed)

We wander back down the hill into Manarola to catch the train to Riomaggiore and experience the sites of this beautiful town.  This is not just about tourists, we tourists are there, but are also many local residents and, today, a wedding party in the square.

 Views of Manarola

 Wedding party in the square, bridal selfie

At the station, we hop on the train to Riomaggiore and head over to the harbor to our favorite restaurant in Riomaggiore, Enoteca Dau Cila, where we can eat outside with great views of the town, the harbor, and the sea.  We have another fabulous lunch:  octopus on potatoes with Dijon mustard, spaghetti with anchovies, and fried local seafood (whitefish, calamari, prawns) with vegetables.  And, of course, a bottle of local white wine.


 Riomaggiore harbor

We didn't get to hike between all five towns of Cinque Terre, but we did visit each one, so we'll declare victory and head back to Monterosso.

Monterosso in the far distance

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