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Agriculture in Cinque Terre: man and nature.

The agricultural landscape of the Cinque Terre originated and developed over the centuries only with the strength of the arms and legs of its inhabitants, combined with the skill of the winemakers handed down and refined from generation to generation.

The so impervious nature of the soil to be transformed, has made it impossible to use transport animals, as was the case in the immediate hinterland: the paths in the terraced strips have always been too narrow and steep to allow the passage of mules and donkeys. He was the man who took the place of animals and carried everything on his shoulders, like superheroes ante litteram.

Even more problematic was the use of any complex equipment and therefore everything happened thanks to the work of man, who was an architect and worker at the same time. Few tools were needed to break the stone and to lift modest quantities of earth and small stones, the latter essential for the tightness of the dry-stone walls, ensuring the proper drainage of rainwater.

Experience and dexterity are the fundamental characteristics of the agricultural activity of the Cinque Terre and even today the various stages of vine and olive cultivation are carried out by hand without the aid of machines. The unique terraced landscape in the world that is admired every year by millions of tourists from every corner of the planet was created exclusively by the man who is committed every day to a solitary, assiduous, constant and tiring job to maintain it.

To better understand the amount of work done to shape the territory, which since 2000 has been protected by the Cinque Terre National Park, the terraced area over the centuries has reached the maximum surface area of ​​about 1400 hectares and has affected the coastal strip up to a height of 500 meters above sea level, sometimes starting from a few meters from the shore. With a complex calculation it was concluded that the dry-stone walls of the Cinque Terre, if they were placed in a hypothetical straight line, would have an extension of about 5000 kilometers!

The photos are by André Leuba, Eduard Kopp and Anselmo Crovara kept in the Archives of Memory Anselmo Crovara in Via Aldo Rollandi in Manarola.

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