Cinque Terre: Recovery from Disaster
Vernazza & Monterosso's Remarkable Recovery
On October 25, 2011, an unusually severe rainstorm brought flash flooding and landslides, to the Cinque Terre towns of Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare — filling the streets with rocks, mud and debris up to 12 feet deep. Three people drowned in Vernazza and one in Monterosso.
Today, most shops, restaurants and hotels in Vernazza and Monterosso are back welcoming visitors — the result of a remarkable recovery process. Throughout the winter and spring of 2012, the Italian government, local residents and relief workers teamed up to remove literally acres of mud from both towns. Since then, the streets and sewer systems have been re-engineered, and the ground floors of most of the affected businesses have been renovated. Outside the town centers, however, much work remains to repair structures, rebuild terracing, and prevent future flash-flooding.
If you plan to visit this corner of Italy, two local organizations — Save Vernazza and Rebuild Monterosso — have websites with up-to-date information on hotels, restaurants, construction, and other goings on. Here are some handy shortcuts:
- What's open in Vernazza
- What's open in Monterosso
- Note: all trails along the coast are closed until spring 2013; trails further inland remain open.
Help is still needed: Vernazza and Monterosso have come a long way since the disaster, but important work lies ahead. Learn more, and consider making a donation to one of these groups:
- Save Vernazza is a very active and engaged non-profit organized by American ex-pats in Italy
- Per Vernazza Futura is a non-profit fund set up by the municipality of Vernazza
- Rebuild Monterosso is that town's municipal relief fund and information center
Articles by Rick Steves
- After the Flood: The Cinque Terre Revisited
- The Enchanting Cinque Terre
- Stepping Back in Vernazza
- Cinque Terre Cuisine 101
Tours that visit the Cinque Terre
- Best of Italy in 17 Days Tour
- Best of Europe in 21 Days Tour
- Heart of Italy in 9 Days Tour
- My Way: Europe in 14 Days Tour
- Village Italy in 14 Days Tour
- My Way: Italy in 13 Days Tour