Le Cinque Terre.org

The dry stone walls of the Cinque Terre

The dry stone walls of the Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre are synonymous with dry stone walls, a thousand-year history still alive and well today.

In fact, it was from the year 1000, with the conquest of these inaccessible lands by the first inhabitants that the tradition of dry stone walls began. Using only sandstone, while the earth was (is) used after being sieved to cover the underground vegetation of the terraces, thus obtaining cultivable strips of land, called in dialect "ciàn", essential for the regimentation of hydrogeological flows.

A titanic undertaking, which over the centuries has made it possible to cover a terraced area of about 2000 hectares, reaching a height of 450-500 meters above sea level. 8,400,000 cubic meters of dry stone walls, a total length of 6,720,000 meters.
A painstaking work, done by hand, still present today and a symbol of the landscapes of the Cinque Terre.

The phases of the construction of a drywall can be summarized as follows:

  • Excavation from scratch of the portion of the collapsed wall.
  • Disposition of the main boulders.
  • Filling the central part with stones and rubble.
  • Cover with earth.

  • Today's danger and challenge is to repair and restore the dry stone walls in ruins, due to the abandonment of the land and the consequent hydrogeological instability.

    For those who want to try their hand at building a dry stone wall, here is the official manual