“Auguri! Complimenti!” These were my words to the erborista as I entered her lovely shop, newly rebuilt and neatly stocked. It’s at the intersection of Via Roma and the main piazza in Monterosso al Mare, ravaged on October 25, 2011 by heavy rains, landslides and a tornado.
Plasticized photos displayed throughout the village show the devastation, the “before.” Like so many businesses, the erboristeria had been slammed by the force of the landslide, inside and out. The owner escaped with her life by climbing the wall above her shop, with one minute to spare, and added that the incident lasted one hour in which one of her fellow townspeople was killed.
Now, only 7 months later, though damage is still evident and memories are fresh, much has been restored and the “after” is visible everywhere. The church, once shoulder high in mud and rocks, has been scrubbed and polished. The pews, once floating in high water, are now neatly aligned, none the worse for wear despite some scratches and water damage. Across Via Roma, a freshly opened boutique displays stylish fashions, alongside the edicola (newstand). At Il Bazar I bought a packaged toy marked with a special price due to slight water damage. Ristorante Moretto, with a fresh new terrace and awnings, saw a full host of customers enjoying tagliolini all’astice and branzino ai ferri with olive oil and lemon. Squisiti!
In other words, Monterosso al Mare is back! Vernazza too. It’s buzzing with workers: splicing wires, plastering walls and setting stones. Kudos to the local citizenry and to the economic powers that be. The Cinque Terre tourist economy is well on its way to recovery. Bravi!
Many thanks to Carolyn McConnell for this note! Carolyn divides her time between Paciano, in Umbria. and Seattle, Washington.
Ed’s note: We feel good news is more important than ever in difficult times… may the Monterossini’s reconstruction efforts be encouragement for the recently earthquake-stricken Emiliani and Romagnoli.