Have any of you heard whispers regarding a possible ConservationVIP® work project in Italy? Well it’s TRUE! I have been working to develop meaningful, hands-on work projects in Cinque Terre, our next volunteer trip destination.
For me, it began with a passion for a place that I’ve been to and projects and community needs that I can’t get out of my head. It’s about the people, the environment and the work projects that I believe ConservationVIP’s volunteers can help. It’s that feeling of accomplishment from a completed project, that bird I never saw before, the taste of local cuisine, the connection with strangers that, while I may never see them again, remains in my memory forever. Cinque Terre has check marks next to all these requirements for a great volunteer trip and it meets our organization’s mission.
I have wanted to have a volunteer trip to Cinque Terre (Five Lands) ever since I was there for a short visit as part of a longer tour of Italy. Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s many treasures that is recognized by UNESCO as a place of worldwide importance for its cultural and natural heritage. I’ve been working on creating a ConservationVIP volunteer trip to this area for over two years now and the itinerary is quite nearly complete. However, back in March 2020, just as another trip leader and I were days away from flying to Florence to meet with our partners to finalize the volunteer trip details, COVID-19 closed Italy and we all know what the world has been going through since. While that initial trip was postponed, it is still very much in our plans. I remain engaged with our partners and they are still excited to work with us.
At the time that our trip was delayed I had partners lined up, great work projects, and I had begun to finalize details about meals, lodging and a vineyard visit (or two), along with a hike along parts of the actual Cinque Terre Trail. Most importantly, I want to link the work projects to the land, people, culture, and history. Most of the area, and villages are within the designated World Heritage zone where we will work. Since the area is highly regulated, we will not work on the Cinque Terre trail maintenance. Rather, we will work on lovely historical and culturally significant terraces and vineyards. These terraces consist of a succession of dry stonewalls that retain cultivable plots and walking trails, some dating back to 1000.
The volunteer project will consist of repairing terrace landscapes and rebuilding or repairing the ancient dry stonewalls and preparing fallowed agricultural land for future plantings. These two projects are important as they will hold soil in place, protect ancient walls and vineyards, and make the villages possible.
This will be hearty labor on both projects. What I am striving for is achieving an immeasurable amount of satisfaction in being part of a small community and contributing to the preservation of iconic cultural landscapes. The itinerary will probably need to be revised some, given world events, but please keep an eye on our website for more information regarding this trip. Fill out the form on the Cinque Terre Notify page, and we’ll tell you when the trip is available. Our partners want us, and we want you!