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. 

It is unfortunate that your travel plans have to be rearranged, but it is just not advisable to come to the area at this time. The eastern coast of Liguria should be fine, with beautiful cities like Savona, San Remo, Imperia, Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo. There are numerous beautiful towns between these as well. Please note that the main railway to Genova runs through the 5 Terre, so there will be delays and possible deviations in your train schedule. If you are coming from Rome or Tuscany, you can get to La Spezia without problem and there are many hotels in La Spezia. Sarzana is another nearby town that is very small and lovely in it's historic downtown. Check with the Trenitalia website if your plans route you through Liguria. Otherwise, there are plenty of other areas to visit. We hate to send away valued tourism, but at least for the next few weeks everyone in the 5 Terre needs to focus on clean-up and rescue. 

There are so many wonderful sites to see in Italy. Rent a car and explore! You can search for Agriturismos all over Italy which are active farm houses that serve as bed and breakfasts as well. They often offer affordable rates in beautiful countryside surroundings. A site to try: http://www.agriturismo.it/en/. The photo above is of Villa Vignamaggio in Chianti, the original family home of Mona Lisa. They are a lovely winery, hotel and restaurant in the hills above Greve in Chianti. A truly beautiful and enchanting place!

Autumn is a fantastic time to be in Italy! Chestnuts, pumpkin, porcini mushrooms and wild boar are all in season now. Visit the countryside, go wine tasting in Chianti, visit Parmiggiano factories in Parma... There is so much to do and see. Plus, there is so much to do and see in Florence that you can stay extra days there to really enjoy the culture. Here is the official Tuscan Tourism website with things to do in Tuscany:
If you have any further questions, just leave a comment below and I will try to answer as best I can.


  1. This is a terrible disaster. I feel terrible for the people there. We want to support them with our tourist dollars. We have plans to stay in Monterosso next May. Do you think it will be fairly back to normal then. I mean hotels, shops and restaurants open.



  2. Ann, Absolutely you should be able to stay in Monterosso in May, as only a part of the town was damaged--the old, historic part. But there is still a lot of the town that is fine and they should be open for business by then. I am afraid that May might be too soon for Vernazza, but we will have to see.

  3. Nicole, I came across your blog and cry every time I see these photos. I have been to Vernazza 2004 and 2007. We have purchased tickets to return July 2012. Such devastation. My daughter left her bathing suit behind in our hotel in Levanto (Vernazza was full) and she bought a cute little hot pink string bikini (only thing the man at the store on Via Roma on right side going towards train station had to purchase!) She was almost 7 at the time. We still have that bathing suit and laugh every time we see it.

  4. Also, I posted your blog on facebook pages "Italy Magazine" and "Rick Steves" so those of us who do not get much tv news coverage can see what has happened and donate to the Vernazza/Cinque Terre repair fund if they wish to do so.

  5. We were just in cinque terre this past September stayed in Rio Mggiore. My husband and I loved it here. So sad to hear about the flooding

  6. The 5 Terre is such a GIFT!! My friend and I will BE back to visit !!

  7. Dear Nicole,

    Thank you for your notice… It's a huge pity and disappointment. I was looking forward to hiking the Cinque Terre. I originally changed my plan to hiking Riomaggiore to Manarola and Manarola to Cornigla. Judging from your notice, there is only 1 walk left open?

    So you reckon i should change my itinerary completely?

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

  8. Hi Nicole
    I am planning a trip in April
    to Vernazza, what are your thoughts
    god bless

  9. Things have been going very well with recovery in Vernazza and the evacuation should be lifted by the end of the year. Currently, all the other villages are now open for business, although there is still a lot of people helping with Monterosso and Vernazza. Jeff, by April, I am sure that there will be no problem with your trip and you will be very welcome! I cannot say how it will be to stay in Vernazza, but all the other towns will be available. So no worries about your trip!

  10. Nicole, I have planned a trip to Vernazza and nearby areas in the middle of May. As for Vernazza, I have received 2 emails from Francamaria Rooms stating for us to plan on her rooms being open, as they are not damaged. She is the one who sent these emails to her customers, so I am really encouraged and pray that things keep on improving in my town and part of it will be open next spring. What do you think?


I really appreciate your comments.

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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