In Riomaggiore, a rock in the sea between the tip of Montenero and the breast of Canneto, tells its part of the history of the territory.
The rock is about 30 meters away from the shore, it is higher and harsher towards the sea, but towards the land in the protected part, the surface is more regular and partially leveled; there is also a showy ring smoothed by the sea, but well intact and visible, carved in the sandstone.
It would seem strange, curious and even a little crazy, a lot of work done by man with so much effort to level a part of the rock and hand carve a ring in the rock.
I asked to a local of Riomaggiore for news and the mystery is revealed!
The hole dug by hand in the rock is to fix the extremity of the cables of a cableway, which had the other end in the mountain above, where the vineyards are located above the high cliff overlooking the sea.
The smooth processing of the rock on the side towards the shore, more sheltered, was made for a better approach of the small local boats (Ligurian wooden gozzi), with the dry space suitable for temporarily placing objects.
But why all this?
The rock was used during the harvest, for the transport of baskets filled with grapes collected above the cliff, in the area of Destrigara and Serra: the baskets were filled, transported by cableway towards the sea, temporarily placed on the rock, loaded on a gozzo, take the rowboat to the Marina di Riomaggiore, unloaded on land, loaded on the shoulder and taken to the cellar.
All this happened up to 60 years ago, in the sea of the Cinque Terre.
Nowadays the Serra area is still well cultivated by the “Azienda Agricola Cantina Litan” of Riomaggiore, a beautiful place, with high quality grapes, which are brought to the state road with the rack railway, and then loaded onto a small truck and taken to the cellar.
A little curious story of men, efforts, sea and harvest in the Cinque Terre.
Thanks to Giuliano for the information.