Today is now 3 years after the dramatic flood in Vernazza, and it has been a long slow haul to get the place back on track. The town itself bounced back fairly quickly to accommodate tourists the next year (2012), but the important system of drainage and protective netting over large stretches of territory and the reconstruction of the canals and roads has taken much longer and is still not finished.
Some funds and reconstruction programs have got bogged down in Italian bureaucracy and legal action as companies who did not win the construction contracts appealed against the decision and thus blocked any progress. It’s a painful but bitter truth and has shocked many in discovering that funds allotted have not yet been spent. But then this is Italy, this beautiful land has a lot to learn about organisation!
The recent floods in Genoa 2 weeks ago, brought back painful memories to locals, and the civil protection unit issued the Emergency Alert in the Cinque Terre area, although fortunately the storms experienced here were not as severe and no flooding occurred. Many of the locals were among the first to be ‘mud angels’ in Genoa.
The alert in Vernazza left tourists wondering where to go and what to do in Vernazza as commercial activities were closed and the bakery and a restaurant had to reopen so those same tourists didn’t end up without any dinner! Others were left blocked at the train station till the next train came by, and told to move on. Ferries continued to offload tourists who had just disembarked from the cruise ship so it was not the most organised of gestures in handling a possible emergency evacuation.
But it’s not all bad news as in November work will start on the “Renaissance of Vernazza” project designed by architects Lord Richard Rogers and Ernesto Bartolini. . It will restore Vernazza’s public spaces with new paving, landscape design, street furniture and energy efficient lighting. The goal is to increase safety, simplicity and beauty for residents and visitors.
Richard Rogers generously donated the Preliminary Project to Vernazza, a place he and his family have frequently called home over the past 50 years. Rogers is a winner of the Pritzker Prize (the Nobel of architecture) and designer of London’s Lloyd’s Building and Millennium Dome and Paris’s Centre Pompidou with Renzo Piano. He suffered a personal loss as his son had a seizure and died the day after the flood, probably as a consequence of the tragic event.
In October 2013, thanks to donors generosity, both private and from various financial institutions, Vernazza Futura and Save Vernazza donated the final design plans to the Town of Vernazza.
Key elements of the Renaissance of Vernazza Project include:
Paving: Local sandstone will pave Vernazza like a fluid stone “sculpture”, connecting the principal areas of the village in an exceptional, continuous pattern. The project makes vital corrections to the drainage system to keep Vernazza safe during heavy rains.
Street furniture: Durable, simple fixed and mobile benches encourage social interaction.
Want to make a personalized donation with your name on a bench or tree in Vernazza? Want to learn more?
Click here Save Vernazza
And do come and see us in the New Vernazza next year!