The first time I met Alessandro was 4 years ago. I was looking for something new and unique to offer my clients and, while surfing on his website, trying to find some inspiration, by chance, I found a picture of his vineyards and immediately fell in love with the place: 1 hectare of land overlooking the sea, above the town of Manarola.
Alessandro is a man of few words, he looks like he would not open up with people at all, he is reserved. Speaking on the phone with him, I was almost sure that he wasn’t my “man”, but the memory of the amazing view of his vineyards made me decide to meet him anyway.
It was a beautiful sunny day in January, Alessandro was waiting for me at the train station and his welcome was colder than I expected but the moment we shook our hands and I started asking him about his job, his land and his wine, he stared at me with his blue eyes and eventually opened up and began telling me the amazing story of his life.
Alessandro was born in Manarola, where he lives with his family. He has an intimate knowledge of the area and of the people who live there.
What is amazing about Alessandro is the strong relationship he has with his land, the passion he uses to describe his work in the vineyards and his little town: after just two hours spent with him and listening to his stories, you will crave a little plot of land in Manarola!
Working the land is a tough job and in Cinque Terre it’s even tougher: for more than a thousand years, man has cut the steep slopes for terrace farming and vineyards. The location of Cinque Terre is a vital part of the identity and the beauty of this place, but also its weak point.
Alessandro is a modern hero: he moves from one terrace to another just using his feet, he cannot use any kind of machinery to have a little bit of help, he has to cope with the lack of space and bad weather but I bet that, when he is completely immersed in the vineyards,200 metres above sea level, especially at sunset or at dawn, he feels he’s richest man in the world!
To be here, plunged in the incredible location of Cinque Terre, means to be distant from the hectic rhythm of the modern life, breathing the scent of the land and listening to the sounds of the nature, with the knowledge that traditions are treasures to preserve.
That is my idea of Heaven: to be surrounded by Alessandro’s vineyards, admiring the sea while savouring a glass of his amazing white wine.