Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cinque Terrace

Quickly approaching the 14th mile of a 19 mile trek in Cinque Terre, my three fellow hikers and I woefully learned that the trail that we wanted to go down was closed. So we took the alternate route, straight up the nearby mountain. After struggling to reach the top and finally traveling horizontally again, we knew that our determination had paid off. We walked through beautiful terraced vineyards planted on the side of the mountain that faced the coast, the side which receives the most sunlight and gives the grapes the best chance to transform into great wine. They are layered on terraces, each containing a few rows of vines in an effort to decrease soil erosion and surface runoff, an effective practice that is common in most hilly agricultural areas. In Cinque Terre, however, terraced vineyards also give travelers some of the most breathtaking views Italy has to offer. They combine the already beautiful Italian coast with the illusion of well-kept, personal hillside gardens. The pristine conditions found in these vineyards exemplify why Italy makes such great wine. To outsiders, it seems very difficult, and almost not even worth it, to go through the difficulty of digging terraces and daily hauling materials up and down mountains to sustain these plants. But Italians take great pride in their work, and so much work and care goes into the upkeep of vineyards that, if diligently continued, Italy will never give up its spot as one of the world’s leading wine producers and one of the world's most beautiful countries. Ciao Italy!

-Nathan Monger

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