After suffering gale force winds in Florence and some rainy days I headed for the Cinque Terre to check on the work in progress in Vernazza. They have been working on the Main square all winter and are finally putting down the new paving.
In two weeks the paving on one side has almost finished and they are moving along quickly on the rest. As usual the work is behind schedule ( completion date was 4 March) and we are hopeful it will be finished by Easter.
It has been a difficult winter for locals as they were deprived of the only large open space they have to socialize and for the kids to play in, and there has been some grumbling and rumbling about the need or not for the upheaval.
But it is not just about appearances, as the Richard Rogers project is about improving the drainage system and introducing energy efficient lighting. New ideas take a while before they are taken on board by locals, and the scars of the 2011 flood are still vivid in the minds, so to see their piazza dug up again brought those memories racing back.
The early Spring weather has everyone out doing repair jobs and many of the face lifts to buildings have finished in readiness for the season. In the tiny back alleys fresh paint lingers in the air as old doors and terrace railings get a spruce up.
New stone walls can be seen along the canal leading downtown and the old mill house is finally looking decent, at least on the outside.
There is still a sleepiness to the town as the few tourists mingle with locals and many of the commercial enterprises are not yet open. Fishing boats are still parked in the Main Street or in a side alley.
Meetings upon meetings have been held about forming new land cooperatives, setting objectives for land restoration projects and funding requests. New local guides are being recruited for the voluntourism project of Save Vernazza as the project with Busabout and Treadright will run again this year
There is still so much to be done at a private and public level but as I sit at the end of the bay and look back on the town, it still has a ‘Wow’ factor for me and I feel so lucky to be here at Vernazza in the Cinque Terre.