Just before Christmas I made the most of the pale winter sunshine to take the trail down from my little village of San Bernardino to Vernazza. Only one or two stray tourists doing the same.
I must have done this trail in the Cinque Terre a thousand times yet it still holds the magic of the first time, and I feel like I know every little nook and cranny, and every step I need to climb. Undoubtedly easier on the downhill run!
There was a holiday atmosphere and Christmas songs wafted from the window of a house at Prevo which left me humming along as I headed downtown.
Snow would have made the area even more picturesque and so much more Christmassy, but I was quite happy to saunter in a T shirt.
The new beach was deserted and the sea was doing a good job of taking it back as the waves lapped over the rocks and drew the sandy pebbles back out. Since the flood the sea had also churned up many bits and pieces of the 140 cars that had been washed out and the local Artists group made up a somewhat novel Christmas tree as a tribute to the 3 lives lost and the tragic event suffered by all. It was time to remember them at Christmas.
The plaque on the tree read “This tree was made from recycled material from the New beach of Vernazza created unfortunately with the flood of 25 Oct 2011. We of “Pio Parlanti” group together with the Vernazza council wish you a happy Christmas.”
I’m not sure that tourists understood the significance of this unusual tree made with rusty car jacks, turbines, hub caps, iron bars and cord, and 3 painted faces. Nonetheless locals stopped affectionately for a quiet moment in homage.to perhaps a friend or relative no longer with them.
Yet life goes on as usual, the washing is out and the scaffolding up to do the necessary repair work or facelift before the next season.
A narrow alleyway boasts an unusual Nativity scene ,over the doorway.
and the local gelateria is offering hot chocolates alongside its local gelati specialities – Crema Cinque Terre Yum!
It’s quiet this morning and hardly a soul about, even down on the waterfront. but it’s not always the case.
A number of concerts – jazz and popular music – had been organized leading up to Christmas and the church was far too small to accommodate everyone so they spilled out onto the piazza to enjoy the music all the same.
Night photos by Ruth Manfredi
And as a started my hike back up to home with a fig and ricotta cone in hand, an ape whizzed with a Christmas tree on board! Wow it’s Xmas Eve and he is running late!
Felice Anno Nuovo – Happy New Year to you all!