After massive flooding that claimed six lives, the tourist-beloved Italian towns of Vernazza and Monterosso in Italy’s Cinque Terre are cleaning up and rebuilding.
Thirty-two years ago, I met two American college girls while hitchhiking in Switzerland. They were studying in Florence, and I asked them their favorite place in Italy. They surprised me by naming a place I had never heard of before: the Cinque Terre. Curious, I headed south and discovered a humble string of five villages along Italy’s Riviera coast with almost no tourism — and, it seemed, almost no contact with the modern world. I fell in love with this stretch of Mediterranean coastline and have returned almost every year since.