Previous Updates

November 30, 2011
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill

At this time of year in Vernazza we would normally be putting up our Christmas lights in the square, along Via Roma and Via Gavino and the town would take on a different persona.
The winds would pick up, the temperatures drop, and once in a blue moon Vernazza would see snow. There would be fewer visitors and shops would begin to reduce their hours. The boats would take their positions in the square for the winter. Some would be planning their well needed vacations and others their renovations, taking advantage of the calm in the storm that is our low season.
This year there will be no lights and there are no boats. We are uncertain when we will see our next high season. But the work will continue until it can continue no more, and the people of Vernazza will remain hopeful.

In addition to the continued digging out of the canal, work on the sewer system progressed today in the area from the Blue Marlin bar to the Chapel of Santa Marta. Parts of the road have been dug up to replace with temporary tubing the pipeline destroyed by the flooding and mudslides of October 25th. The operation is expected to be completed today so that all underground pipes from the train station south will be functional. Along Via Roma, which is currently full of holes, gravel will be spread in the effort to level the street. This will allow for better drainage and act against the formation of mud.

A weather alert has been issued for Friday. As a precautionary measure volunteers and emergency crews have been advised to prepare for an evacuation.

This afternoon there was a meeting with the city hall and the Association of Vernazza Business owners to discuss the state of affairs. The amount of money required for Vernazza to be safe and livable, allowing its residents to return, is 50 million Euro. There are two projects in particular in need of immediate action. One is a 7 million euro initiative for the reconstruction of the canal. The other vital project, estimated at 28 million Euro, focuses on fixing the town’s water supply aqueduct, ruptured in the hills above Vernazzola on October 25th.

With Christmas approaching, the Comune and remaining townspeople are contemplating ways to make Vernazza less…well there really is no other way to say it…ugly (I never imagined I would be using that word in reference to Vernazza). The gaping holes along Via Roma, formerly shops and cantinas alive with activity, are now like rotting corpses and some are finding them difficult to look at every day. Doors will be constructed and installed, with a hopeful wreath here and there, and the building facades will be cleaned with high pressure water hoses.

November 29, 2011
The 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.”

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.

Example of Debris Flow Barrier

Example of Debris Flow Barrier

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.

November 26, 2011
Thomasina Burke, author of the recently published “Magic Bridge”, a story in which many events take place in Vernazza, has announced she will donate 20% of all kindle orders to Save Vernazza ONLUS. Thomasina stated “there are three chapters devoted to Vernazza, and several to Rick Steves. We have hundreds of friends of which we have recommended travel to Vernazza, and we are all just now hearing of this disaster and are eager to help.