Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The hidden pathways of Monterosso

If the heartbeat of Monterosso is located in its historic center, the veins that keep it alive are dispersed throughout the hillsides that surround it.
Though Monterosso is located right on the sea and is known most for its relationship with the water, the Monterossini are traditionally farmers and have maintained vineyards, olive groves and lemon gardens for almost a thousand years. Nearly everyone in Monterosso owns a small plot of land or two on which they grow their vegetables, keep their fruit and olive trees as well as their grapevines and maybe some chickens for fresh eggs. Many tourists never reach this hidden corner of Monterosso daily life. Instead, this is one of the many characteristic aspects of the village that has remained very much tied to tradition: little has changed for generations.
On October 25th, these gardens and groves were heavily damaged by the landslides that occurred. Much of the debris and mud that then devastated the village came from run-off from the land.
In getting the inhabited center of the village in order again, many people cannot concentrate on or afford to rebuild their walls or replant their trees immediately.  Huge investments will need to be made to rebuild these kitchen gardens and groves and secure the hillsides from potential future landslides.
Monterosso needs your donations not only to rebuild the village center, but also to fortify the countryside and reconstruct these beautiful and historic stone walls, lemon and olive groves and vineyards thus helping to protect physically Monterosso but also keep alive these vivid and important local traditions and history.

This area, located just outside the historic center of Monterosso, is typical of the countryside surrounding all of the Cinque Terre towns. Little known to tourists, these country paths provide wonderful hiking experiences.

Bridges connect the path with personal gardens

Beautiful dry stone walls, created hundreds of years ago, destroyed in one afternoon

The famous lemons of Monterosso

Stairwells, archways and hidden gates

1 comment:

  1. Seeing this side of the devastation - the orchards and gardens that are the life and food source of the people - touches me deeply. While I was impressed by the beauty and colors of the town on a visit years ago, Here is where I, a farmgirl from California, feel a true connection. I want to help.