Dry stone walls in Cinque Terre

This page briefly illustrates how the dry stone walls of the Cinque Terre are reconstructed.

Today, new dry stone walls are no longer being built, but attempts are being made to restore those that for the action of water, the thrust of the lands and the degradation of the stones that constitute them slide towards the valley.

The technique is the traditional one completely dry without binders, apparently simple but requiring a great manual experience.

The overall length of the dry-stone walls of the Cinque Terre was estimated at around 12,000 km, higher than that of the Chinese wall.

a) The wall has collapsed
muro a secco franato

It is a dangerous situation; the weight of the collapsed wall can cause a chain effect with the collapse of the wall below

b) Cleaning and selection of materials
pulizia del muro

Cleaning of the affected area by arranging the stones for quality (good stones, medium and small blades, earth) and transport
of new stones to replace degraded ones (from 40 to 70%)

c) First course-facing
prima fase muro a secco

The wall is built in successive layers with the laying of larger and better-shaped stones towards the outside.
We try to position the stones in the best possible way, correcting them if in the case of the shape with hand tools. Filling back the first stones with medium-large irregular stones.
The largest stones are placed that cannot be used outwards to minimize voids

d) First course-filling
èrimo corso riempimento

Smoothing with medium-small stones and earth.
This layer partially closes the voids of the previous one and smoothes out the next layer.

e) Execution of subsequent courses
altri corsi del muro a secco completati

Subsequent layers and other segments until the completion of the wall

f) The wall is completed
muro a secco completato

At the end, a layer of smoothed soil is spread over the top for easy passage

Ended the wall there is no advanced material, even that of poor characteristics!

The front has the task of structure and closure of the voids; the rear part has a high angle of friction and guarantees the drainage of water to safeguard the wall and the cultivation ground.

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