Vernazza Updates:

Vernazza is well on its way to normalcy and while I no longer write updates on their status, you can learn about the devastating floods of 2011 by clicking the label "Vernazza Updates". For the latest information from the organizations in Vernazza and Monterosso, visit SaveVernazza and Rebuild Monterosso.

February 20, 2012

Travelers: The Cinque Terre is Open


As we head towards the spring season, many are wondering if the Cinque Terre is open, if the hikes are hikeable and if it's even worth keeping the Cinque Terre in their travel plans. The answer is an overwhelming YES!!!


Before going into details, here is an overview: The trains are running on normal, regular schedules with stops to all five villages without interruption or access controls. Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia had little to no damage from the floods and all shops, restaurants and hotels/rooms are open for business.


Monterosso is made up of two areas, one new, along the beaches where you enter from the train station (seen above) and an old town which you access through a tunnel. The new section of town has remained open the entire time and continues to host visitors. Old Town received extensive damage from the floods and an amazing amount of work has been done to clean, rebuild and reopen. For the latest updates on the damaged businesses now open and the expected opening dates, visit RebuildMonterosso. You will also see this map of the current state of the hiking trails in the area. 

Click the RebuildMonterosso link above for details

Of the five main trails along the coast, as of now, only the Via Dell'Amore from Riomaggiore to Manarola is open. However, the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre (Cinque Terre National Park) has made a pledge to reopen all the trails by late spring. There are many other trails currently open, including the free trail from Monterosso to Levanto, which is described as "breathtaking". Kate, from LittleParadiso describes the other numerous hiking trails throughout the area.

Now for Vernazza...
  
The future of Vernazza has been uncertain for quite some time. In the immediate aftermath of the flood and landslides, we weren't sure if Vernazza would ever be able to reopen. 


She seemed so destroyed, so buried in ruble that most expected it would take years to be able to welcome visitors again. 


But with the amazing spirit of the residents,


the superhuman efforts of the emergency workers and volunteers


and the overwhelming outpouring of love and support of people here and from all over the planet,


Vernazza has pulled trough, cleaned out, repaired and carried on.


Today, Vernazza is still not ready to host visitors, but they are well on their way. Many residents have returned to their homes and a few businesses have either already opened or will be opening by March. Many more will open in April and the official stance, reported by the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, is that Vernazza will be fully open to host the public by May. Save Vernazza, the non-profit organization set-up to collect donations for the rebuilding projects has a page dedicated to the opening dates of the businesses in Vernazza. If you are interested in knowing about a particular restaurant or room rental, check their Travel Advisory page often for updates. 


Just two weeks ago, via Roma, the main street, was dug wide open as the utility companies were laying new pipes for gas, water and sewer. Now, you can see that the road is re-covered, allowing rebuilding to take on full speed. Save Vernazza recently created a series of five videos walking along via Roma and down to Piazza Marconi to show the current state of the village. Here is one of them entering the piazza:



The rest of their videos can be seen on their YouTube page.

Vernazza has come a long way in a short amount of time. There is still a lot of work to be done and it may take a few years until she is perfect again, but for now, the fact that you can already walk her streets and have dinner with the setting sun at Belforte is more than an amazing feat! Many crews are working like busy bees to reopen these businesses, and I am proud that my father-in-law is one of them. He has been building and remodeling places in Vernazza since the mid-nineties and there is no way he wouldn't be a part of the rebuilding now. Every single reopening is a sigh of relief and a step towards recovery, so make sure to check Save Vernazza's Travel Advisory page often to see when each one of these businesses reopens.

Keep the Cinque Terre in your travel plans because they are open for business and need tourists to keep the magic alive.

******UPDATE********

As of mid-June, all businesses, restaurants and rooms/apartments are open for business. All five trails are open and due to the financial hit that the villages took with the floods and closure, many businesses will remain open during the off season in November and December. So plan your trip to the Cinque Terre!!!


7 comments:

  1. So excited to see this....my plans are to be there in Sept!! I'm sure I'll help out their economy a tiny bit by eating in every single restaurant that's open!! Thanks for all the work you're doing to keep us informed!

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  2. ooooh and I just looked at the Belforte site...ooo-la-la! will definitely be visiting there!!

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  3. Thanks for the update! We'll be visiting Cinque Terre in May and are really looking forward to it.

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  4. Hello!

    do you know anything about the train schedule between La Spezia and the other smaller towns? we need to catch an early morning 0630, train out of La Spezia, but want to stay in one of the smaller towns... do you think that the regional/local trains run that early? any advice would be much appreciated! first time to CT!!! can't wait, just need to figure out where to stay based on train schedule

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  5. This is a great post Nicole. Keep up the great work and hopefully we can connect in June when I bring 10 guests to Riomaggiore! Maybe you could meet us for dinner in Vernazza!
    xxx Bianca

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  6. Thank you for the lovely comments.
    @JMAC-I'm so glad you are including the 5 Terre in your trip! Did you find the kind of place you were looking for as a base?
    @DianaH, there is an early morning train that passes through to the 5 Terre around 5:30am (depending which town you take it from) to La Spezia. However, it is worth looking into where your 6:30 train is coming from because it may actually stop in Riomaggiore on its way to La Spezia Centrale. The best thing to do is talk to the information person at the train station in La Spezia when you arrive (you will most likely be passing through La Spezia on your way to the 5 Terre anyway). They will speak English and be able to give you all the train schedules you need.
    @Bianca-that would great, I would love to meet up with your group!

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  7. FYI Nicole, We read you through Google Reader and this post came through unreadably garbled from just above the map to the end. Grapefruit and Fennel arrived ok.Looking forward to more of your posts. M+M www.apathtolunch.com

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I really appreciate your comments.

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