Articles and Updates

Updates for September 2012:

Rock Slide in Cinque Terre Injures 4 Australians | Via dell’Amore Closed

A week of good news followed by bad I am afraid.This past Monday a group of Australian tourists were caught in a rock slide along the famous and most popular section of trails in the area called Via dell’Amore.  Two of the tourists remain hospitalized, one in serious condition after being swept over the protective barrier and trapped along the hard to access rocky coastline.  Read more

Updates for March 2012:

(Courtesy of Save Vernazza) Stepping onto the terrace, I became mesmerized by sights and smells.  After a long, seemingly endless winter, I was once again in Vernazza, an exceptional place where even after the events of last October, much remains the same: the church bells and rhythmic waves; the green of the hillsides; the blue of the water and the pastels of the buildings contrasting and yet complimenting one another….Read More

Cinque Terre Vernazza Flood Updates: Highlights from January

Some of the past week’s highlights include (courtesy of Save Vernazza):

Vernazza gets a splash of color

Local artists have also joined together their talents and are adding a much needed splash of color and life around the village.  Sometimes it is the little things that help lighten the heart and make going forward a bit easier….Read More

Vernazza in the New York Times | Article about rebuild and clean-up progress

Finally!  Vernazza is getting more attention with a well done and honest article in the New York Times.

Cinque Terre

VERNAZZA, Italy — When Unesco added the Cinque Terre, five medieval coastal towns perched along the Ligurian Coast, to its World Heritage List in 1997, it cited “the harmonious interaction between people and nature to produce a landscape of exceptional scenic quality.”

To read more click here

Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Funeral held for Vernazza’s residents killed in the flood

Vernazza was finally able to lay to rest its 3 residents that were killed in the flooding and mudslides that occurred on October 25, 2011.  The funeral for Giuseppe “Pino” Giannoni, 70 years old (of Valentino’s Story), Sauro Picconcelli, 55 years old, and Giuseppina “Pina” Carro, 81 years old took place after a long and difficult wait.

French law requires a DNA analysis to officially identify and release the bodies, all of which washed ashore in November near St. Tropez, France.  Finally Pino, Sauro and Pina can come home and the people of Vernazza can come together again to mourn for their loss.

Photos Courtesy of Save Vernazza

Cinque Terre Update – Winter Storms Hit Vernazza

cinque terre

After nearly two months of hard work both day and night, Vernazza has been cleared of mud and debris.  The villagers were allowed back for one day of feasting and celebrating (even a wedding was held).  But as I have said many times before, there is still so much to be done.  The town is still considered unsafe for the locals to return.  The hillside must be stabilized, water and sewer re-established and roads repaired.  All of this done under the constant pressure of the approach of winter.  Storms here are common in the off-season, but with Vernazza vulnerable it is hard to watch the waters of the sea flood into the village.  This time the waters came from the opposite direction.

cinque terre

cinque terre

I ask that you keep Vernazza on your Christmas list and donate here.  Even the smallest amount will help bring her people another day closer to returning home.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!

copyright 2011  Andi Brown  Once in a Lifetime Travel

December 7, 2011  Courtesy of Save Vernazza

Today Save Vernazza founders Michele Lilley, Ruth Manfredi and Michele Sherman spent the day in Vernazza with a CBS reporter.  Fingers crossed this results in the coverage we need to attract attention to the situation in Vernazza.


December 3, 2011  Courtesy of Save Vernazza
The only thing ‘normal’ in Vernazza these days is the train schedule. She is a town without her people. Even more so now, as this afternoon all (volunteers and emergency crews) were evacuated due to heavy rains.

Imagine Vernazza without a single soul in it. If she were a person I’d say she’s lonely. Feeling abandoned. And I often think of her this way. Like a living being. She has a life, a soul, a vibrance, a presence like no other place I’ve been. I find myself feeling sorry for her a lot of the time. Is this strange? Somehow I don’t think I’m alone in my feelings.

She has the company of the cats and ducks now. Has she wondered where we all went and why? Would she have wanted us to leave to keep us out of harm? Does she know how much we all want to return to her and help return her to what she once was? Does she know how loved she is?

She is without her family and will continue to be until she is well enough to accept us back. Yes, the weather will let up and the volunteers and emergency crews will return. But where are the children that ran her streets? The men and women who sat her benches, walked her passageways, took her photos and marveled in her beauty? When will they return to her?

The way back to her is complicated and costly. Would she understand if we couldn’t afford to fix her? Would she be forgiving if we weren’t able to return?

If I could talk to her I would tell her we are doing our best. I would tell her there are people all around the world thinking of her, wishing her well and supporting her recovery. I would tell her that she is loved and that we will not give up on her.

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” Buddist saying

The estimated cost to repair Vernazza to the point where she will be safe enough for her residents to return is 50 million euro. Vernazza is still without gas and drinking water, continually under a state of emergency and as of today evacuated of volunteers and emergency crews. The situation is bleak but not impossible. Together we can make her healthy again. Together we make the difference.

November 29, 2011

Flood clean upThe work to restore the Fontanavecchia area continues with the digging out of the canal bed in order to secure the flow of water. ACAM (the water company) is working to reopen the sewer system, which is broken over a 10 meter / 32 feet range on Via Roma, in the area of the Coop market. The project to secure the landslides, which threaten the town and river, will commence this week.

This past Saturday a meeting was held with the volunteers (mostly made up of Vernazza’s youth) in which the town expressed gratitude for their efforts and discussed the necessity to eventually bring in additional volunteers from the outside. Representatives of the volunteer group have been invited to participate in the project and planning phases of volunteers efforts and town reconstruction.

On Tuesday, November 29 at 3:30pm the town administration will hold a meeting with the Association of Vernazza Business Owners to discuss the state of affairs.

One of Vernazza’s townspeople had the following to say regarding the funding initiative: “It is very important to Vernazza to collaborate in fund-raising with any initiative. We are all working for a common cause. All are useful and no one is indispensable.”

Courtesy of SaveVernazza 

November 27, 2011

In a recent interview with Cronaca4, Mayor Vincenzo Resasco stated, “We want to bring our residents back as soon as possible but the village must be safe first.”

As we pass the one month mark we look back and marvel at the progress made thus far. Volunteers and emergency crews have been working day and night and their efforts are evident. Via Roma, including storefronts and cantinas, has been liberated of almost 25,000 cubic meters (883,000 cubic feet) of land and debris and work on freeing the canal continues. Now the focus is to be on that which will safeguard Vernazza and allow its residents to return. One emergency worked stated that “to look to secure the town we must look up.”

This week intense work will begin on the upper part of the canal with the installment of 8 special “debris flow” barriers, which allow for the flow of water but hinder the passage of land and debris.

Additionally, work will commence to secure unstable land in the effort to avoid further slides. The hillside behind the Banca Carige building is an area of great concern. Significant damage has already been caused due to slides of October 25 that buried the backside of the building to its top floor. Rain is expected early this week but workers are hopeful the inclement weather will not cause a delay.

Mayor Resasco went on to say that Vernazza is still awaiting funds but that what has been made available by the government will not nearly be sufficient to cover Vernazza’s damages and that other avenues of funding will be critical.

Vernazza remains under a state of emergency and continues to be evacuated. The town is without gas, electricity has been restored to half the village and many homes are still without water. Once the town is considered safe for residents to return, Mayor Resasco will focus on rebuilding the storefronts vital to the people such as the pharmacy and one food market.

We have done much, yet there is much to do.

Courtesy of SaveVernazza

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