When I wrote my last post about the beauty of Tuscany complete with images that I took while exploring the region, little did I know that one of our favourite little towns, Vernazza, had been devastated by torrential rain and a mudslide. When my husband and I saw the news about flooding in Liguria we did not realise that the area we had fallen in love with earlier this year had been so dramatically and tragically affected. I found out about the disaster through a Rick Steve’s newsletter, but more information is provided on the Cultural Comments blog and after reading it I felt as though I needed to put something in writing about our time in Vernazza.
Vernazza is one of five towns on the Cinque Terre, I wrote about it briefly along with Venice and Varenna in an earlier blog. A small, picturesque town on the coast of Italy, there are no large hotels and traffic is restricted to locals, the surrounding hills are covered in grape vines and the bay is home to numerous, colourful fishing boats. Warm and tasty foccacia fresh from the oven could be bought as a snack, we dined on fresh seafood, pesto al trofie and creamy gelato. It was a truly wonderful time and we left reluctantly, vowing to return as soon as we could afford to.
We stayed in one of Tonino Basso’s rooms, lovely rooms overlooking the street and next to Il Pirata, a great place to enjoy breakfast and a laugh with the hosts Lucca and Massimo. In this video on the Cinque Terre blog you can see the cars being swept away by the flood, below is a photo of the same street, taken during our stay.
Vernazza, like many locations affected by the extremes of mother nature will need time and support to get back on its feet. The work to make this happen began soon after the event and with a bit of luck, no to mention alot of hard work and funding, the town will again be open to visitors in the not-too-distant future. I will be following the blog Cultural Comments to see how the future pans out for Vernazza, but in the meantime will share a few photos taken during our stay and keep my fingers crossed that the town and its people are returned to their former glory.
It was here, on the border of the harbour, that we met two American travellers, a husband and wife enjoying a romantic, short break away from their children. A lovely, chatty couple, possibly more so because of the bottle of Limoncello they were drinking, the conversation was pleasant and did much to dispell the myth of the ‘ugly american’ traveler, we certainly enjoyed the opportunity to speak English with someone other than ourselves.
The water looked cool and inviting, around the edges of the harbour people were sunbathing and children were wading, my husband debated the merits of going for a swim but I was quite comfortable to sit in the sun and soak up the ambience of such a pretty place. Ferries came and went, dropping off tourists and picking more up, the options for getting between town are train, boat or walking along the Cinque Terre trail however the boats apparently only operate during the warmer months.