2012 Accomplishments

With your help, in our first year, Save Vernazza completed reconstruction and restoration projects in the town center of Vernazza as well as in the territory. Come to Vernazza to see the difference our projects make in improving everyday life for residents and visitors!


RESTORATION OF SANTA MARTA CHAPEL
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In July 2012, Save Vernazza, in partnership with the Unione Parmense degli Industriali, restored the Chapel of Santa Marta in Vernazza, including building a new roof. The chapel, an important place for residents to gather and worship, was completely buried in mud and debris on October 25, 2011. We now refer to it as “the little chapel that could.”


STUDENT VOLUNTEER WEEKENDsyracuse_guy

In September 2012, Save Vernazza organized a student volunteer weekend with students from Syracuse University studying abroad in Florence. Save Vernazza founder Michele Lilley led the students on a guided hike from Corniglia to Vernazza. The walk explained the importance of maintaining the territory (with terraced hillsides and stonewalls necessary for agriculture) to preserve Vernazza’s cultural heritage now and for the future. Together, we harvested red grapes and helped clear abandoned land to plant future crops.


SAVE VERNAZZA WALKING TOURS
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We started offering Walking Tours for selected Rick Steves travel groups following our initial tour with Rick Steves in April 2012. We led 28 tours from April to October 2012 and many travelers told us that it was the highlight of their trip. As American women who have been living in Vernazza for 15+ years, we have a unique perspective to share. And we like to have fun while introducing our Vernazza, with its unique territory and culture, to visitors!


BRIDGE HOME IN FONTANAVECCHIA
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In October 2012, Save Vernazza funded the technical costs for the reconstruction of a bridge over the canal in the most damaged area of Vernazza known as “Fontanavecchia” to help residents return home.  Thanks to high school student Madison Galati who organized three fundraising dinners to help build this bridge.


MAINTAIN BULLDOZER
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In September 2012, we funded replacement parts and servicing for the Vernazza Protezione Civile Bulldozer so that volunteers can continue environmental clean up


RESTORE CHEO STONEWALLS
stone_cheoIn July 2012, Save Vernazza built two stonewalls with Cantina Cheo, Vernazza’s sole commercial wine producer.  These two walls are critical to maintaining the stability of the hillside, its agricultural viability and the safety of the town of Vernazza below. Stonewalls that create the terracing throughout the Cinque Terre were a key factor in UNESCO’s 1997 decision to grant its World Heritage Site status.

Cheo owner Lise Bertram recently won an “Oscar Green” award for “Exporting Territory” from Coldiretti (the main Italian organization for agricultural entrepreneurs) for her innovative ideas in agriculture and Cheo’s Perciò white wine and Sciacchetrà.


BENEFIT ART AUCTION
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In May 2012, Save Vernazza held a Benefit Art Auction on eBay with art donated by 22 local artists, including Anna Russo, artist and widow of Giuseppe “Pino” Giannoni, one of the three unfortunate victims of the flood of October 25, 2011.  Anna was the inspiration and force behind this charity art auction