Sunday, June  16, 2019
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courtesy JInnes
Abandoned Structure
Poisonous Pokeweed
Arriving Volastra
The steady climbing through shady groves brought us up, well above the level of our Riomaggiore-Manarola leg; we crossed the 1000-foot (300m) mark shortly before the trail arrived at the via montello in the hillside town of Volastra.

From here we turned left (following the directions on the cluster of signs bolted to a wall at the junction), beginning our walk through the town. Not being one of the five famous coastal towns of the Cinque Terre, it was very quiet and not overrun with visitors.
506 Junction in Volastra
Santuario di N. Signora d. Salute
Volastra Sanctuary
We stopped for a rest break on the grounds of the old church of Santuario di Nostra Signore della Salute (nearly a thousand years old, dating back to the 1100s). It was a nicely peaceful and shady little spot for a rest.

From Volastra, it was time to start the next leg of our walk north - a high-level traverse almost entirely on the level - until we reached another trail that would take us directly down into Corniglia.
courtesy JInnes
Ripe Grapes
Interpretive Signs
High-level traverse
From Volastra, our route switched onto trail 586. The trail headed mostly west, on the level, from the grounds of the old sanctuary. We walked between trees with bulging bunches of white grapes, and directly through quaint little gardens. I'm not sure how the local residents like hikers walking through their turf, but as a hiker, I can selfishly say that this was a very interesting and intimate routing of the trail. We were no longer set back into a valley away from the coast, but rather now traversing along a broad open slope that faced the sea. Little outcrops of the buildings of Manarola could be seen, now far below to the south, and ahead, the rooftops of Corniglia were now visible. An expansive 180-degree view of the Ligurian sea would be our constant companion for the next hour or so of walking.
courtesy JInnes
Distant Manarola
Through Gardens and Vineyards
Rugged Coastline
As it turned out, this next stretch of trail was the highlight of what was already turning out to be an especially nice walk. All of the work to gain elevation was now done, and we were sauntering north on an incredibly easy , flat path. Vineyards and fruit groves were both above and below us, but never really obscuring our view of the Cinque Terre coast or the sea. We encountered few other hikers, and seemed to have the place mostly to ourselves.
courtesy JInnes
Zoomed-in Manarola View
Andrew, trail 586
Corniglia getting closer
courtesy RHanel
courtesy JInnes
Arc above the sea
Admiring the view
Good view of Corniglia Area
Wonderful, wonderful trail 586 continued its traverse northwards across steep hillside vineyards. Routefinding was generally straightforward, although there were a few "adjustment" points where the trail is routed onto the next higher or lower terrace, and sometimes attention needs to be paid at these points to avoid starting off on a non-trail farmyard terrace.

If you are looking at the interactive trackmap associated with my images, you may notice that provincial road 51 closely parallels the trail for a distance. If you are a lover of quiet and solitude, fear not - the hillside is quite steep along here, and there is a fair bit of vertical separation between trail and road. Certainly the road is completely invisibile from the trail, both visually (and to my ears) and aurally.
courtesy JInnes
White and Red Grapes
Facebook Shots
Stephanie and the Cinque Terre
courtesy RHanel
Zoom-shot, Corniglia
Wrong turn
High Above Corniglia
courtesy RHanel
Andrew on 506
Trail 586
Steep Vineyards
Beautiful 586
Throughout the Cinque Terre region, we'd been noticing these curious steel rails that run through steeply-sloping vineyards, and along this track, we saw many as well. We had quickly figured out that these rails were actually crude tramways of sorts, allowing farmers to use a geared motorized cart to carry supplies up and down through the difficult terrain. Partway along our hike today, we happened upon a couple of farmers actually using the system. It was fascinating to watch the ease with which they balanced themselves on these quite flimsy-looking contraptions, slowly chugging up and down very steep grades.
courtesy JInnes
Last good look at Manarola
Vineyard Workers on Tram
Super steep
Our beautiful open traversing came to an end as we crossed directly through a small cluster of buildings known as Porciano. Beyond this, the trail entered a wooded section of hillside, still on easy flat traversing trail. There were only limited sea views as we contoured into and out of little shady and forested gulleys
courtesy RHanel
Vineyard Tramway
Ok, one last look at Manarola
Porciano Villa cut-through
Forested section
Shady forest traverse
Limited coastal views
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