25 November 2011

Vernazza: One Month Later

Today marks one month since the flood that devastated the Cinque Terre. In just 31 days, progress has been amazing. People still describe walking through town as walking through a war zone, but as I have described previously, the spirit and heart of the people has persevered above all else. That has made the difference between Vernazza being a destroyed tourist destination or a thriving community that will quickly rebuild.
Here is a lovely video put together by an American filmaker in Germany. He has been back and forth to the 5 Terre for three years filming a documentary on the Cinque Terre's cultural history and unsure future of their Sciacchetrà wine. While recently in Vernazza, he took some footage the clean-up in process.

17 November 2011

Vernazza: Surf's Up!

On November 17, Levanto (near Monterosso) hosted the ASP WLT Bear Pro International Longboard Surfing Tour. Thanks to a "Lay Day" where there were no waves, some of the contestants got together to visit Vernazza and see firsthand what was really going on. Bear Pro has put together a beautiful video documenting what they saw. It gives some great views of the work in action. Take a look!

For the original story of what happened, see: Disaster Strikes Vernazza
For information on how to donate, see: Donations to Save Vernazza
If you have travel plans to the 5 Terre, see: Notice to 5 Terre Travelers 
For all related stories, see label: Vernazza Updates

13 November 2011

Brava Vernazza, I'm Impressed!

I am happy to report that a week of mostly dry weather has afforded much progress in Vernazza! Last week, a schedule was set forth to clear via Roma (the main street) from the piazza to the train bridge by Saturday, and they have accomplished it as planned! Also, many homes have been reconnected to running water and workers plan to have the sewers fully functioning by Monday

Many businesses have been excavated from the debris in an impressive earth moving achievement. Look, you can see the road! But how did they do it?

08 November 2011

Vernazza: A Sigh of Relief

The sun came out from behind the rain clouds today, giving many a big sigh of relief. It has been a nerve-wracking weekend in the 5 Terre, as it has been surrounded by unbelievable torrential rains causing flash floods in several surrounding cities. Miraculously, the massive storms seemed to curve around the 5 Terre, sparing Monterosso and Vernazza from heavy downpour. Such great news! There was one or two days of steady rain, but nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that caused further damage. Whew! I know a lot of people have been breathing sighs of relief--I certainly have.

Vernazza has been nearly empty due to a precautionary evacuation. There was concern about the canal still being blocked with debris and the rest of the "live" landslides slipping further down the hill. Only a few dozen people remained to keep watch, including emergency workers like fire fighters, forestry specialists and police; about 40 volunteers and the mayor.

05 November 2011

Giving Thanks

This weekend, in Vernazza, has been a quiet one...in fact, it may be the quietest weekend in the last several hundred years. Friday afternoon, the town was evacuated as a precaution ahead of terrible storms headed their way. Tensions have been high with the weather reports of torrential rains for the next three days straight and the news of the horrible flooding in Genova.

According to Vernazza's mayor, the only ones remaining in the village during the evacuation period are a handful of police, a small group of Forestry service, 3 carabinieri, 7 mariners and about 40 registered volunteers. He said the night passed with very little rain, but Saturday brought constant rain for most of the day. So far, everything is holding and looking okay. 

04 November 2011

Emergency in Genova!

The latest update on the terrible storm hitting the coast of Liguria again is shocking. The amount of rain dumping down on Genova is drawing comments from locals that they have never seen rain like this before and many are asking: "What have done to deserve this?"

To ad insult to injury, some of the people left without homes or evacuated from last weeks storm are staying in Genova! Poverini!

Again, I am not in Italy right now, so I am GLUED to the BBC in the hopes of seeing some news reports on what is happening in Italy and THERE HAS STILL BEEN ZERO COVERAGE! In fact, I just saw a quick weather report discussing the "heavy storms hitting southern France causing a risk of flooding and POSSIBLY threatening some flooding in northern Italy." POSSIBLY? Here is a video just uploaded to YouTube after HOURS of rainfall caused destructive flooding in the city:

03 November 2011

Vernazza: Pics of Progress!

 This afternoon, the remaining 150 inhabitants of Vernazza were calmly evacuated as a precautionary measure in the face of more bad weather for the weekend. An awful storm has been on course to hit the 5 Terre tonight and unleash 3 days of heavy rain and rough seas.
Everyone visualize or pray for clear blue skies over Liguria--it couldn't hurt!
These are some of the many sandbags put in place to protect the work that has been done. 

I also wanted to provide some of the amazing photos coming out of Vernazza after today's cleaning efforts. There was a lot to do...

02 November 2011

Vernazza: Good News and Bad News

The clean-up effort is progressing at an amazing speed!

The tireless work of the people can be seen with a clean piazza that is now acting as a command center and food service area.

Il Ristorante Gambero Rosso
Many businesses are now accessible, like this one, where my husband worked for years and my father-in-law helped remodel. More good news today was the joyful recovery of a beloved dog, still alive after being trapped for a week. 

01 November 2011

Notice to 5 Terre Travelers

As you may know, the 5 Terre was hit with a devasting storm last week that completely destroyed Vernazza and badly damaged Monterosso (For the story, see: Disaster Strikes Vernazza; for new updated information, see: Vernazza: Good News and Bad News or click the label "Vernazza Updates" for all related stories). I have received many questions from travelers planning to visit in the coming weeks. They have asked if they are still able to stay in the other towns that were not damaged and if they can still hike the trails. 

Please understand that the entire area is in crisis mode at the moment. Many of the roads are washed out and the rail lines are on limited service only for residents and emergency workers. The only hiking trail open at the moment is the Via dell'Amore in Riomaggiore, but all the other trails are closed from damage. As far as rooms and hotels go, even though the other towns are not as damaged, they are providing room and board for the people of Vernazza and Monterosso that have lost their homes or been evacuated. 

Donations to Save Vernazza

For an updated information, click "Home" or the label "Vernazza Updates" for all related stories.   

There has been an overwhelming amount of requests to donate funds specifically for Vernazza, as a way to give back to the warm people who have touched our hearts.

"Save Vernazza" is an Italian non-profit which was started by an American expat group in Vernazza for donating directly to Vernazza. Their website, entirely in English, accepts payments by credit card and Paypal. They will certainly do a great job of allocating funds with less bureaucratic backup than the Italians! They also keep their site updated with pictures and news coming from the workers. To donate to their fund, click here.

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.

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