Liguria, and especially the Cinque Terre, were hit by heavy rains on October 25. As a result, much of the soil and rock on the hills above Vernazza and Monterosso gave way and came crashing down into the villages. Now, after about six weeks, the two towns are beginning to dig out and clear the debris so residents can assess the damage.
Much of the Cinque Terre is assessable for travel and tourism. The villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, and the “new town” of Monterosso were not affected by the flooding and are operating normally. Folks in the old town of Monterosso say it will be a few months until they are ready for tourists. Vernazza is another story, everything along via Roma, the main street, is in ruins. Residents are fearful that once the Italian government completes their restoration efforts, they will be left with crumbling building and no means to rebuild. It will be well into the summer season before Vernazza can host tourists.
The train service has been restored in the region and all the towns are assessable, however Vernazza is still off-limits for all but residents and official clean-up crews.
The Via Dell’ Amore, linking Riomaggiore with Manarola, is the only major trail open in the region.
Two reputable sites have been established to collect financial aid and donations for Vernazza. They are: Per Vernazza Vutura and Save Vernazza. Both websites have easy navigation and a simple process to make giving a donation using a credit card or PayPal account.
It is odd, but the disaster has received little news coverage outside of Europe. However, there are some good sources on the web, if you want to keep up. Here are some of them:
- Nicole blogs from Liguria at http://culturalcomments.blogspot.com/
- Two trusted organizations collecting relief donations for Vernazza: Per Vernazza Futura and Save Vernazza
- I found this impressive slide show from Tom and Julie of Maple Valley, WA detailing their experience in Vernazza on the day of the disaster.
- YouTube video showing flood waters raging down the street in Monterosso. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GgnXMpMZw8
- YouTube video showing cars being washed away in the upper parking lot in Vernazza. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPtVoqCUDS0&NR=1