Vernazza devastated by torrential rain and mudslide

Vernazza at night
Vernazza at night

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.

View from the Cinque Terre walking trail
View of Vernazza's harbour from the Cinque Terre walking trail

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.

Via Roma, Vernazza
Via Roma, Vernazza

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.

View from our accommodation, Vernazza
View from our accommodation, Vernazza

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.

Vernazza in the evening
Vernazza in the evening
Bar Trattoria Il Baretto
Il Baretto - home of delicious pesto al trofie and seafood
View of the harbour and adjacent cafe
View of the harbour and adjacent cafe

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.

Vernazza's castle tower by the water
Vernazza's castle tower by the water

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.

Vernazza's scenic harbour
Vernazza's scenic harbour

10 thoughts on “Vernazza devastated by torrential rain and mudslide

  1. Languedoc Lady November 2, 2011 / 3:31 am

    My husband and I have been to CInque Terra twice and were also charmed by Vernazza. My heart goes out to the people of Vernazza and Monterossa….both towns have been devestated by this flooding. I hope and pray for their survival.

    • twoblackdoggies November 3, 2011 / 8:20 pm

      We didn’t see much of Monterosso beyond the station and much of the images available online seem to focus on Vernazza. I hope both towns survive this tragedy and that the residents are able to resume their ‘normal’ lives again soon. Such a wonderful part of Italy.

  2. Jennifer Doan November 3, 2011 / 12:58 pm

    I got married in Vernazza on October 7th of this year. The town is so beautiful so I was devastated to get an e-mail from our wedding planner on the Thursday after the flooding that Vernazza was heavily damaged.

    I keep combing the internet every few days for updates on the cleanup and how the townsfolk are doing.

    We’re still working to upload the pictures of our trip to our blog.

    Your blog brings a smile to my face.

    Bless the people cleaning up and rebuilding in Vernazza and neighboring Monterossa al Mare.

    Please post any follow up pictures if you get any

    Jennifer from Phoenix

    • twoblackdoggies November 3, 2011 / 8:29 pm

      What a beautiful place to get married, so romantic and colourful the town would have been the perfect setting for a wedding.

      Like you I am checking the internet regularly to see how the cleanup is going, cleaning up after flooding can take an extraordinarily long time and there was so much mud and debri which made it worse.

      I’m glad my blog made you smile, it can be easy to focus on the bad things and I wanted to remind myself and anybody interested that Vernazza and all of Cinque Terre is a lovely place to visit and that Vernazza (and Monterosso) will once again be the beautiful places I remember.

      The best updates seem to be coming from the blog and the Cultural Comments blog, if I find anymore I will post them 🙂


  3. onceinalifetimetravel November 21, 2011 / 1:42 am

    What a lovely post, I have been concentrating so much lately on the flood and clean up that seeing again photos of Vernazza before put a smile on my face and in my heart! Thank you for posting links to Save Vernazza, they are working so hard to spread the word! I wrote in a previous post of my own that they also need visitors to return, it is up to us to make a difference for Vernazza!

    • twoblackdoggies November 21, 2011 / 4:41 pm

      Thank you and you’re welcome 🙂
      It is hard not to focus on the flood but reminding ourselves and others of the beauty will hopefully bring visitors back to Vernazza and Monterosso, it is a place that we intend on returning to someday and every little bit helps.

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