The Ligurian countryside, especially in the area near the Cinque Terre, is not just farming land. It is known and defined by the authorities as a land of “heroic agriculture”, and you should keep that first word well in mind when you want to attempt to conquer it.
We know by direct experience that a lot of tourists are tempted by that challenge and want to scratch it off their bucket list and go back home with those awesome pictures that they have found on the web, those very ones where the villages look like they are miles down below. But let me tell you something: after having polished off that ginormous plate of your favorite Italian food, which looked wonderful to your eyes, but that your belly is now starting to regret, you might find the trails to be more than you bargained for.
Getting to the top (and then down) is not a piece a cake and definitely not a walk in the park, no matter how many miles you normally bike at the gym or walk on a paved flat trail back at home. The Cinque Tere trails are as unforgiving as nature can be when men try to control it. The co-existence between the two has going on for about 700 hundred years but it hasn’t been an easy marriage and you should be prepared.
We have seen struggle on people’s faces when they realized that those uneven steps were slippery and their thighs weren’t quite cooperating, we’ve seen fit man face-planting on a dusty trail on very hot summer days, people losing the battle with their vertigo and people realizing that they were less fit than they believed. At those moments we become your mentors and your anchors and also your only point of refuge, a bit like a parent.
And as good parents do, we want to warn you of the work that lies ahead and push you to consider your real shape and limits.
There’s still plenty of time to get ready for the task, next season is still quite far away, so now that the big turkey is finished, get out there and start searching for steps. Any kind of them, the rougher and steeper the better.
Otherwise, choose the Italian way, and instead of proving that you are a good athlete, indulge in the leisure of lying down on the beach and getting tan.