Just one week ago Vernazza and Monterosso of the Cinque Terre along with several lesser known villages were devastated by massive flooding and mudslides. The region had been experiencing tremendous rainfall but no one expected such destructive results.
At the present time the railway has been cleared, the river has been re-directed to its original route, some electricity has been restored and heavy machinery has been helping to clear the mud, rock and debris. Everyone has rolled up their sleeves and come together as a community. Unfortunately the sad stories are also surfacing. I have read of merchants barely escaping to the second level of their building, only to watch a fellow storekeeper unable to cling any longer to his awning be washed away. There are currently 9 people dead (not all from the Cinque Terre) and several still missing.
The heroic stories are out there as well. Stories of tourists being plucked from the muddy river just in time. Of the owners at Il Castello opening up to shelter those without. Of the evacuation of the elderly and young. Of locals helping tourists as if they were family.
How I love Vernazza. How I love when humanity rises up when life has lashed out.
I have been watching the video footage and photos as the people come together to clean up and rebuild the area. Vernazza has held such a special place in my life, my family’s life and my daughter’s life. Passively watching these events unfold has been difficult for me. Instinctively I want to reach out. Many of you have been asking ‘How can I help?’
Italian Red Cross is a good choice for those wanting to help the entire region effected. If you would like to volunteer contact the
Protezione Civile at +39 0188.8.131.52. Lots of help is needed, but keep in mind there are no accommodations in the area as open rooms are housing those who have lost their homes. Boats depart from both La Spezia and Levanto every morning to bring people to the Cinque Terre. For those of you wanting to help Vernazza directly there is currently a relief fund set up by the Commune of Vernazza. It is a non-profit, cultural organization set-up for and by the community of Vernazza, called
(For Vernazza’s Future). Funds will help the people effected by the flood and landslide as well as being used for the reconstruction of the town and surrounding environment. Per Vernazza Futura Another fund should be available within the next few days as well. This site has been founded by several ex-pats who share a great love of Vernazza. They also are committed to keeping money donated within Vernazza. Please check back for updates. They are called
Save Vernazza and can also be found on Facebook.
I have read comments from a few people saying that Vernazza is a wealthy community and will overcome this disaster; they should be able to recover within a year or two. They have said that we should not give our time and money when there is greater suffering with fewer resources in the world. It is true that suffering and heartache happen around the world everyday. No one is ever immune. But who is to say that one persons suffering is worse than another’s? Pain is pain, no matter what form. I hope that my connection to this amazing place will in some small way help them to rise above and meet their challenge with success, strength and support.
I call out to everyone that has ever been touched by Vernazza.
Go Back. Don’t write them off.
To those that have always wanted to visit. Do Not Change Your Plans. Put Vernazza back on your itinerary!
We must not only help them with their immediate needs, but help them recover for the long-term. Let us fill their rooms and crowd their restaurants again. We are all instrumental to Vernazza’s future.
– 1st and 2nd photo courtesy of Arbaspaa and Giuliano Pucci respectively.
– Kindly contributed by Andi Brown, self-styled “travel junkie and Italy addict”. Andi has created an amazing
Italian travel planning business where she helps design custom vacations for her clients, and blogs about it all here.