In May 1980 at Volastra and precisely in the coasts of Vaipusse and Posa (production area of a selected DOC wine) were installed the first two monorail trains in the area of Cinque Terre by the Comunità Montana della Riviera.
They represent the first installation made in Italy and they are the result of the research for means capable of reducing the enormous effort of transportation in this area which is completely devoid of country roads.
In the past, during the harvest , Cinque Terre were invaded by “dockers” (bearers of grapes); their work was essential to finish the harvest within a reasonable time and to reduce the effort due to the total absence of carriage roads in the area.The construction of the road Manarola – Groppo – Volastra alleviated much of the drudgery of long-distance transportation, replacing mule-men with mechanical means, but there remained the problem of transporting grapes from the “cian” (terraces) located lower or higher than the road, which unfortunately continued to be made on the shoulders.
Consider that carrying on their shoulders a “corba” (straw narrow and high basket) full of grapes from the coast of Vaipusse or Posa (still one of the most valuable and productive area in the Cinque Terr) to the cellars of Volastra, the “dockers” had to climb steep stairs for nearly two-hundred metres and stopped at least three times to catch their breath, leaning the “corba” on a “pusella” (stone-wall built on propose to put the “corba” on the same high as the shoulder).
In 1978, during a conference on viticulture which was held in Saint-Vincent (Aosta) Professor Celsi Stelvio member of the Comunità Montana della Riviera was informed by a grower of Valtellina, that in Switzerland existed monorails suitable for transportation in areas with steep slopes.
So it was when the company Habegger Thun was contacted to came to Cinque Terre to install the first monorails-trains.
The system consists of a rack supported by steel poles driven into the ground along which a tractor with a powerful internal combustion engine by seven horses, houses the driver, pulling a few tow-floor wagons were the grapes are stored.
The trains can go through slopes with 100% gradient carrying till 300 kg, including the driver and the monorail can have a length of up to 1,000 metres.
Currently in Cinque Terre are operating over 50 facilities.