The Manarola Volastra Corniglia trail, among vineyards and terraces of the Cinque Terre
Difference in altitude: 335 meters (1099 feet)
Trail number: 506, then 586, then 587
Vineyards and terraces: the characteristic feature of Manarola Volastra Corniglia hiking trail.
In 1997 Cinque Terre became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as “cultural landscape”. In particular in Manarola Volastra Corniglia hiking trail you can breathe the popular history and the traditions that made these villages famous. This hiking trail, marked with the numbers 506, 586, 587 allows you to see with your eyest the spectacular terraces with vineyards supported by dry stone walls, that strech from the hills to the sea. In fact men, to make this territory arable, began to make changes about 1000 years ago.
Manarola: the most photographed village in Cinque Terre.
Everyone has come across, at least once, on social media or web, in newspapers or postcards in pictures of Manarola. The most amazing thing in this villages are the colorful tower houses face fronting the sea. But in real live is even better! You breathe the scents of the sea, you are caressed by the sea breeze, you can walk trough the narrow streets called “carugi” by the locals, pervaded by the parfume of fresh baked focaccia.
How to reach the trail
The easiest way to get to Manarola is by train. Car is not recommended because parking pleces are limited and very expensive. Leaving from La Spezia Centrale train station, or from the one in Levanto, you can take the Cinque Terre Express or the regional train( be careful, not all the trains stop in Manarola!). In hight season (april-october) there’s a train every 15-20 minutes.
PS: if you prefer to take a walk along the seafront of Manarola, to see the most photographed landscape of the Cinque Terre with your own eyes, just head towards the marina, continue right and go up to the upper part of the town. This road will rejon the hiking trail.
The first part of the path is a steep climb on the promontory of Manarola, known for hosting one of the most famous nativity scenes in Italy during the Christmas holiday, it’s called Presepe Illuminato by Mario Andreoli, consisting of 300 characters made with recycled materials with more than 1000 light bulbs reflecting on the winter sea.
As you go up you fall in love with the landscape more and more: the slate roofs of the houses of Manarola dominate the landscape together with the vineyards where the famous Cinque Terre Bianco DOC and Sciacchetrà wines are produced.
Going up you are amazed by this hiking trail overlooking the sea, on the right you begin to see the coast of the Cinque Terre. After about 20 minutes of climbing you reach the highest point of the hill, continue on the right for a small flat stretch until you reach the junction for Volastra and start the climb again, this time with less steep steps.
This section of trail derives from an ancient mule track, used for centuries to reach the sea and then the railway with heavy loads of wine and olives. The olive tree, which together with the vine is the symbolic plant of the Cinque Terre rural culture, dominates the landscape in this section. It is no coincidence that the ancient Latin name of this village is Vicolus Olivastre, the village of olive trees. In about 20 minutes you get to Volastra.
Volastra: searching for the pirates treasure
Second part: from Volastra to the junction for Corniglia (sent. 586)
Third part: from the junction to Corniglia (trail 587)
Corniglia is the only village in Cinque Terre that has no direct access to the sea. To reach the sea from the town it is necessary to go down the 377 steps as well as 33 flights of the Lardarina staircase, which connects the village to the railway station and to the beaches. Alternatively there is a small bus that runs between the center and the Corniglia station.
The raised position makes Corniglia unique and special. First of all, it is the village of the Cinque Terre farthest from the masses of tourists, its location is the avoidable stop for those who visit the area in a day. Another peculiarity of Corniglia is its amazing view. Its position perched on the slope let you enjoy a wonderful view of the coast. A highly recommended stop is the Belvedere Santa Maria, a panoramic terrace from which you can see the neighboring villages overlooking the sea. You can get there walking along the main carugio untill the end (it’s the central road called Via Fieschi).
The village has Roman origins and its name came from the gens Cornelia, in fact vases were found in Pompeii where “Cornelia”, the ancient name of the town, appears for the first time. Later, in line with the surrounding villages, it passed under the dominion of the counts of Lavagna, then under the Carpena di Luni lords and then ended up under the protectorate of Genoa.
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