The coast of La Spezia spreads through a harsh territory: rocks overlooking the sea, dotted with green glades innervated and supported by dry stone walls. An apparently inhospitable territory, perhaps difficult to tame. Here, where tradition has not yet given way to technology, man makes compromises with nature.
At the theater on the vines
September is the most awaited month in the Cinque Terre: it is in this period, when the bright summer sunsets leave space for the slow autumn dawns, that the harvest season opens.
In the past, the harvest was a real ritual: it lasted throughout the month of September and required tenacity and patience. The peasants climbed up the terraces, taking crates and baskets with them to collect the first ripe bunches: those from which they would obtain the Sciacchetrà.
Today harvesting has become much simpler: it is done in just two or three days and requires less effort thanks to the help of a monorail, which runs for 16 kilometers and connects the vines to the coast. The system was developed already in the 1970s by the agricultural cooperative “Cantina Sociale”, established to defend the sustainable production of Doc wines from the Ligurian coast. To protect the tradition and guarantee the quality of the wines, since 1979 the members of the cooperative have been moving between one terrace and the other on board the trains that travel on the monorail. Thanks to this system, transporting grapes is more comfortable, moving requires less effort and, above all, you can watch the harvest just like a show! It is not uncommon for the guests of the Cinque Terre to wish to take part in such an ancient and fascinating tradition as the grape harvest in September. Among the vines of Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino, when the air is perfumed by the unmistakable sweetness of ripe fruits, you will have the opportunity to experience a remote yet modern atmosphere, noble in spite of its rural tones, made enchanting by pastel colors of autumn and the warmth of the sea breeze.
Behind the villages, the peasant world is a treasure chest full of gold: whether it’s what hangs from the bunches or what fills the glasses, it will make your visit to the Cinque Terre truly precious!