What will linger forever in my mind is that the only thing more beautiful than Vernazza is the soul of its brave and generous residents.
Our stay in Vernazza began late in the afternoon on Oct. 23rd. It was our first visit to Cinque Terre and like many had gone there on the advice of Rick Steves. My wife and I were celebrating our 30th anniversary with a 2 week trip to Italy. Our highly anticipated 4 day stay in Cinque Terre was to be our “vacation within a vacation”.
During the 24th, we hiked from Vernazza all the way to Riomaggiore, stopping at Corniglia and Manarola along the way. What a spectacularly beautiful area! Around every corner of the trail we were treated to new and enchanting views of the lovely Cinque Terre. The lower trail from Corniglia to Manarola was closed so we took the steep trail up from Corniglia to Volastra and rode the bus downhill to Manarola. At Riomaggiore, we enjoyed the best meal of our 2 week trip through Italy at Ristorante La Lampara. Caught the train back to Vernazza and hung out with the locals for a glass of wine at the Ananasso Bar. We felt so welcome there.
On the 25th we decided to stay put in Vernazza since it was raining so hard and most of the trails were closed. We walked the town in the morning and stopped for a most entertaining coffee and lunch at the Blue Marlin. What fun! (Later on we heard from other travelers that many people were trapped that afternoon in the Blue Marlin by the rising waters. The owners literally broke down a wall in the back to provide a safe escape.) In the afternoon we took refuge in the train station gift shop to wait out the increasingly strong rains. When it became unsafe to stay any longer, we were escorted to safety across the tracks and over a 12 foot wall by the station manager and a local resident. I think these 2 heroes literally saved our lives by providing a safe way to leave the flooding train station. There was no way we could reach the room we had rented in the upper part of town but eventually we were taken in by a kind lady named Margarita and given dry clothes, food and a place to stay. The next day we ventured out to see a devastated town. My god it still takes my breath away and puts a lump in my throat when I bring the images to mind of the damage done. I think it was around noon that we were taken by boat to La Spezia.
Tom and Julie
Maple Valley, WA USA
View Tom and Julie’s photo journal: Our Vernazza visit during the floods