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.

These amazing people continued to work, rain or shine. But the weather reports of severe storms kept tensions high. On Sunday, the stress was just too much for Vernazza's mayor and he was airlifted to the hospital in La Spezia after falling ill. The town rallied together in support and he was quickly sending text messages from his hospital bed that he was okay, not wanting anyone to worry or make a big deal about him and that he was just wanting to get back to his town. He is now doing fine and will be back at work tomorrow.

Today, with clear skies and even a little sunshine, they were able to work out a three-step debris removal plan for the rest of the week. They have a crew set-up near the piazza for debris removal, a crew working on via Roma (the main street) for digging out the businesses and another crew working on the upper level of town and the canal. Many more shops have been liberated from depths of dirt and the train is now making regular passages again. This is all good news, which makes us all happy! 

The local chatter is all about when they can get back to their homes and when they can pick up their shovels to dig out their town. Their spirit remains high and their voglia, or want, to get back to work is almost irrepressible. Wednesday the residents will be allowed to return during the day, but are not allowed to stay the night. All residents must leave by 5:30 pm, in a sort of enforced curfew, until the officials have deemed the area and the buildings safe and secure.

La Chiesetta di Santa Marta is intact!

In more tragic news, the long search for the three missing persons (one elderly woman and two older men), may have come to an end. Throughout last week, three bodies washed up on the shores along the French Riviera. Thusday, Nov. 3,  a man's body was found in Cap Taillat; Friday, Nov. 5, another man's body was discovered on the shore of Bormes Les Mimosas; and Saturday, Nov. 5, a elderly woman's body was discovered again in Cap Taillat. It is still not clear if these are the missing Vernazzans, due to the difficulty in identification. But, it does seem like the likely result, and hopefully they will be returned to their families soon, so they may rest in peace.

Remember, if you haven't donated, now is great time to do so! Click for donation information:  Donations to Save Vernazza


  1. Excuse me, I only can give you my impressions about this desaster in my mother language german.
    Esther Hebein from Austria

    mein herz sprüht mohnrote trauer

    - cinque terre november 2011 -

    keine worte
    keine tränen
    mein herz
    schreit sich dem weinen entgegen
    mein herz
    stöhnt vor schmerz
    mein herz
    taumelt unter der wucht dieses schlags

    ich habe mein herz in all diesen jahren
    nie so sehr an einen menschen gelehnt
    nie an ein wesen
    das gebaut ist wie ich

    ich habe es gebettet
    mitten in den roten mohn
    unter den silbrigen schimmer des olivengezweigs
    in das weinlaub über den steinen
    und immer wieder
    hinein in die sanften mulden der steine

    in die steine
    über dem dorf
    in die steine
    unter dem dorf
    in die steine am weg zum meer
    ich habe jeden einzelnen stein
    getragen zu seinem platz in meinem herzen

    mein herz hat gesagt
    komme ich zurück nach hause
    dann lasse ich die steine wieder los
    und lege sie an den platz ihrer geburt
    leicht geworden
    bleibe ich noch lange
    im mohnhain im olivengezweig
    das auge am weinlaub
    das ohr an meinen steinen

    der himmel hat gesagt
    ein herz ist nichts wert
    nicht eines und auch nicht viele
    die macht hat das wasser
    es reisst dein bett und deine träume von steinen
    nach unten
    als tosende schlammflut
    als unwägbare gewalt
    rollender fliessender steine

    deine steine
    lasse sie schlafen in deinem herzen
    sie wollen kein teil sein dieser gewalt

    ich schaue auf das wasser
    den schlamm die verwüstung
    das leid
    zerstörung des paradieses
    tod meiner sehnsucht
    mein herz
    ist gezeichnet vom schnitt eines kreuzes
    mein herz sprüht mohnrote trauer
    über die steine auf seinem grund

    c esther.hebein / lyrik

  2. Great blog and update of the events in Vernazza. I appreciate the pics and rebuilding efforts of the people. This is one of my favorite places to visit and get away too! Wishing the best for the people and community!


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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