Spring in Tuscany started with a 60% solar eclipse, which historically was viewed as an omen that brings about death and destruction! I can only say it feels like the exact opposite as we come out of our winter hibernation! The little hedgehog that had hibernated in my garden had also moved on, before I managed to get his photo.
Perhaps the doom associated with the eclipse was to be our total power failure since Italy depends on some solar energy, but plants were shut down early on Friday morning to avoid any disruption.
A newly licenced Environmental guide was my mentor as I was hers in correcting her English. She is full of passion and enthusiasm for the area and I was impressed to hear that we were walking in very healthy woods, as could be seen by the various types of lichen covering the tree limbs. An indication that the air is free of pesticides.
I also learnt that the ivy seen climbing many of the trees is not likely to kill the tree as is often misunderstood but they live a symbiotic relationship; the tree grows higher in search of the sunlight as the ivy climbs. The woods around us revealed a mix of flora which would mean a mix of fauna – wolves, foxes, wild boar, hedgehogs, porcupines, toads and a stray snake or two which we were lucky enough not to see or have disturbed! There were even trout in the river!
And the sea is a glorious colour, a silver shimmer as the wind skips across it.
Only two of the coastal trails between the villages will open this year – Vernazza and Monterosso is already open, and the trail between Corniglia and Vernazza is currently being repaired. Still the high trails are beautiful and well worth hiking.
This weekend (28th-29th March) will be the Sciacchetrail “a union of the words Sciacchetra’ and Trail: the sweet passito wine produced here, and running trail. Sciacchetrail is a path to recover the soul of this territory….” And I suggest you will be recovering your own soul and definitely deserving a good Sciacchetra’ if you manage the 47kms, with a 3000m elevation gain to be completed within a time limit! I may be on the sidelines to take photos as competitors cruise past Corniglia. It should be a fun weekend though as there will lots of wine, food, music and even a pesto party before, during and after the run.