We climb up towards the magic world of the Cinque Terre dry-stone walls, travelling on a small tottering chair that faces significant inclinations. On the way, we are rewarded by the panorama of Manarola, a meeting between hills and sea.
On the Corniolo hill, Piero Moggia – the President of the Paths and Terraces Cooperative – shows us the organic crops of aromatic herbs like oregano, wild fennel and protected-origin-denomination basil (ideal for pesto, giving a particular mixture of aromas that leaves an aftertaste of lemon).
We discover that this territory has been cultivated since the year 1000, but was abandoned during the 1970s. Because the work is hard, local people chose – as soon as it was possible – different jobs and careers that were certainly less fatiguing.
Ten years ago, however, the Cooperative came into being and started to revive agriculture in the area, thus creating economic activities and consequently jobs. A virtuous circle was thus created between agriculture, conservation of the territory, landscape and tourism, with the promotion of cultural initiatives like agriculture courses and tasting of local products.
In addition to the other projects, there is also the desire to create a wine route through collaboration with various universities, with the objective of replanting the autochthonous vines that disappeared after the abandonment of the territory: a real recovery of the past through flavours.
Conservation of the territory requires an enormous effort, considering the record figure of 6,700 km of dry-stone walls in Cinque Terre, a length equal to the Chinese wall!