Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

Nestled high on the hill above Manarola (but still within the Cinque Terre National Park) lies a tiny secondary village called Volastra. I adore this peaceful village and have oftentimes said I can imagine myself living here. If you visit it, you’ll see why.

Volastra is home to a twenty-year-old budding entrepreneur with a burning desire to unite two of the things that he loves most: cycling and a passion for his homeland. Luca Capellini’s new business, Italy Bike Resort, offers visitors the chance to get off the beaten track and high above the crowds on brand new, state-of-the-art e-bikes.

Luca offers a total of seven mountain bikes with pedal assist, making even the most daunting inclines in the Cinque Terre doable. If you’re feeling adventurous you can head out on a bike on your own while those wanting a bit of coaching and local insight can hire Luca as their guide.

Luca has created itineraries for all levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and if you choose to head out on your own he’s full of tips and advice. The e-bike’s battery lasts for circa 70km (although that figure varies based on the level of “assist” you require), so you should be worry-free for the day.

Photo credit: Roberto Andreoli

All you need to know

Rates:

€15 per bike for one hour

€25 per bike for two hours

€35 per bike for a half day (either from 9am to 1pm or from 2pm to 6pm)

€65 per bike for the entire day (9am to 6pm)

€110 per bike for a two-day rental (pick up at 9am on day 1 and return by 6pm on day 2)

Included with each rental is a helmet, tire repair kit, and lock (so you can stop and sightsee along the way).

Heads up: Luca has a grace period of 30 minutes for the return time (so you can be on “Italian time”) but if you are more than 30 minutes late on your return you will be charged for an extra hour.

If you’d like Luca as your guide (totally worth it, in my opinion) his rates are very reasonable (just keep in mind that the bike rental is not included in this rate):

Solo cyclist: €40 flat rate

Two or more cyclists: €20 per person

Fine print details:

  • If you plan to rent a bike and head out on your own, you must be at least 18 years of age.
  • If you are a minor, you must be at least 12 years of age and accompanied by an adult.
  • When you rent a bike, you will be required to leave a document (driver’s license, passport or similar), sign a waiver + a credit card will be needed for a security deposit (a hold will be placed on your credit card and will be removed once the bike has been safely returned without damage).
  • Riders will be held responsible for any damages to the bike.
  • Luca provides repair kits for all riders (in case you end up with a flat tire). If you take the bike out on your own and require Luca’s intervention to fix a flat, a supplemental fee will apply.

How to get to Volastra + how to find the rental point

Volastra is a secondary village and because of its location high on a hilltop it is not connected to the Cinque Terre railway line. That means you have three alternatives to reach the village:

  • HIKE: You can hike from Manarola to Volastra, via the Sentiero Panoramico and trail 506. It’s an entirely uphill climb, so expect to break a sweat (it will take you right around a half hour to get there).
  • BUS: The ATC national park buses to Volastra leave periodically throughout the day. Tickets for the bus can be purchased from the TI office at the Manarola train station or onboard from the driver (at a slightly higher rate). Here’s the schedule which is valid until November 3rd, 2019:
FERIALE = Monday through Saturday FESTIVO = Sundays and holidays
  • TAXI: If you don’t feel like hoofing it or being tied to the bus schedule, you can hire a local taxi or NCC. Expect to pay €30 from either Riomaggiore or Manarola (for up to four people, inquire for rates if you are more people). Here are the numbers for the local company called 5Terre Transfer (which is based in Riomaggiore): +39 340 356 5268 (Marzio) / +39 339 130 1183 (Luciana)

Once you are in Volastra, make your way to Tiabuscion restaurant (which I highly recommend, by the way!) on the main street.

Just past the restaurant, you’ll see a red mailbox mounted on the fence with signs indicating the directions for Manarola and Corniglia. Head in the direction indicated for Corniglia.

Continue walking up this little lane just a minute or two further and you will see a sign for Italy Bike Resort on your left at number 405 Via Montello.

You’ve arrived!

If Luca isn’t out front with the bikes, ring the buzzer at the front gate.

As there are a limited number of bikes available (and seeing that it takes a bit of effort to get to Volastra) I definitely recommend booking with Luca in advance:

italybikeresort@libero.it

Luca: +39 333 412 0939

Michela (Luca’s mom): +39 333 456 2899

In some instances, Luca can meet clients in Manarola with the e-bikes. If this possibility interests you, be sure to ask for more details.

One last word…

There are several e-bike rental points in nearby cities (Levanto to the north and La Spezia to the south) but Luca’s rental point is the very first within the Cinque Terre National Park. What does this mean for you? Aside from supporting local (which is something I stand behind wholeheartedly), you’ll also take away the travel time to get your bike to where you actually want to be: the Cinque Terre.

Buon divertimento!

P.S. Be sure to let Luca know that you found out about Italy Bike Resort here on the blog!

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