The Castle- Vernazza

Vernazza Cinque TerreThe Castle….no not the famous one in Tullamarine, for those who may remember the movie but the landmark of Vernazza, Cinque Terre. This ancient Doria Castle has featured in millions of tourist photos as an icon of Vernazza, although not everyone takes the steep steps up to explore it fully. Vernazza Castle

 

Making the most out of a cloudy morning I climbed the narrow alleyways or ‘caruggi’ as they are known in dialect, to enjoy the breathtaking view from the Castle.

Tucked in a corner on the way was Susie Barrow’s Art gallery, an English artist who has been living in the area for the past 9 years, doing jewellery and ‘splashnflow’ watercolours.

Pirate of the pastI had visions of swashbuckling pirates plundering their way through the labyrinth of alleyways in search of treasures, or more likely, seizing men and women to use as enforced labour or to sell off as slaves. In fact they say the ‘caruggi’ were specifically built so narrow so no one could be surrounded by a group of sword thrusting bandits!

Historical documents date the Castle and its Tower to the 13th Century although it may be even older than that. Little remains of the Castle apart from the Tower, and during the Summer there is often an Art exhibition in one of the rooms below.

It is highly likely the castle, with its imposing tower, was built as part of the Vernazza system of fortifications commissioned by the Genovese during the early Middle Ages to defend itself against the raids of Muslim pirates from Andalusia or the Basque bandits from Southern France.

 

On climbing the narrow spiral stairs it’s easy to appreciate its defence quality for the commanding view of the coastline and  complete coverage of the village below.

Even during the Second World War, it was used as a defence base against Nazi attacks.

Today it is a peaceful spot to admire the stunning view and inhale the beauty of the surroundings of Vernazza and the Cinque Terre.

Vernazza wine poemAt the exit there is a sweet poem:

You don’t leave the Castle       without drinking our wine,          that’s called ‘Schiacchetra’           and which brings happiness

 

 

 


 

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Still saving Vernazza, Cinque Terre

The Save Vernazza voluntourism project has started again for its 5th year in a row in the Cinque Terre. So far 990 tourists have given a hand in restoring and preserving the fragile territory in 116 excursions since 2013, as “Even Paradise Needs a Gardener”…..as the motto goes!

If you are travelling in the area and would like to be involved, check the work calendar and contact coordinator Irene di Martino: info@savevernazza.com And if your dates don’t coincide, contact Irene anyway and she may be able to set up a special “gardening” day for you.

And for those of you new to this blog and perhaps unfamiliar with the Save Vernazza organisation I have included their latest video here.

Yet while Save Vernazza and its contributors worldwide continue to offer their help and donations, some problems still facing Vernazza and the Cinque Terre in general need urgent attention from the powers that be – namely the Cinque Terre National, Park, The Councils, Trenitalia and the Liguria Regional Office. A game of ping pong regarding responsibility continues between them resulting unfortunately in no major progress on the issues.

Recent articles in the Travel and Leisure magazine and the local Ligurian newspaper Il Secolo XIX highlighted the problems of the Cinque Terre being on “Everyone’s Bucket List”

The Via dell’Amore the path linking the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola is still closed from 2012 after the rock fall knocked 4 Australians off the path seriously injuring two.  And while the Mayor indicates he is currently securing national funds to make the path secure again, locals are dubious and believe it has been closed by the Police Commission until compensation has been resolved and the Council is reluctant to guarantee the security of the path in the future.

Tourist overcrowding has already begun, as I saw over the Easter period, from Cruise ships and bus and train daytrippers and no limits have been imposed, apart from the price increase in train and bus tickets and the Cinque Terre Card.

The high road connecting Vernazza to Monterosso  is still closed after the landslides of 2011 and what remains open between La Spezia and Vernazza has intermittent partial closures as minor landslides continue. The major use by tourists coaches reaching up to 25 coaches per day creates additional difficulties. At Easter only one public toilet was open in Vernazza as the other two are under renovation and will still be inadequate to Vernazza stationcater to the crowds, increasingly eating takeaway. Painted arrows on the station stairs attempt to regulate the traffic flow. The trail between Manarola and Corniglia remains closed after the landslide in 2011 and 2013 and unlikely to ever reopen putting additional strain on the public transport system. As locals exit the villages, preferring to rent out their apartments and live a quieter existence in Levanto or La Spezia, their terraced lands become abandoned and put the entire area at risk.

Gianni Franzi, a long standing restaurant owner in Vernazza says “The problems are many and the situation seems to have got out of hand. There are third-world roads, on which emergency vehicles must pass; the collection of waste creates huge problems and is not practical; there are too many ferries creating even a noise pollution. This massive tourism that crosses the villages without knowing the history, territory and the environment must be regulated. The mayor and the park have to listen to the needs and citizens’ suggestions. If we go on like this we do not build any future for coming generations.”  (il Secolo XIX  14/04/2017)Cinque Terre

I hope I have not put you off, as I believe the Cinque Terre is best seen by individual tourists who prefer to stay for a few days to appreciate the area but who now make up a small percentage of the 2.4million tourists per year.  We can only hope that our suggestions are being heard, as Save Vernazza is also very active in any public meetings.

Cinque Terre, Vernazza


 

 

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Prevo – the halfway point, Cinque Terre

Prevo Cinque TerreMy little village of San Bernardino sits directly above Prevo in the Cinque Terre. A sparse group of houses at the halfway point on the coastal trail between Corniglia and Vernazza. I can’t quite see it from my terrace but I am sure the builders can who are currently redoing my roof. I did promise them a job with a sea view and they are indulging in it….perhaps just a little too long for my liking. But then builders are builders the same the world over, nothing ever seems to run to schedule!San Bernardino

 

Prevo is where I sneak into the coastal trail, on my way down to either village and surprise most hikers by looking fresh and energetic still, when they have just panted there way up the hill on countless steps. It is the highest point on the trail (208m above sea level) but most tourists don’t know that and look relieved to hear that it is all downhill thereafter.

Prevo cafeFrom Corniglia the hike up is a little less as Corniglia is already 100m above sea level, nevertheless it is with some relief that tourists find the bar Il Gabbiano at Prevo where they can catch their breath and enjoy a great fresh fruit juice and fantastic view. Tourists from Vernazza appreciate it even more!

All the locals know that it is easier to follow the trails from Corniglia to Vernazza and Monterosso than vice versa, so bear that in mind if you are over here.

For those who choose to stay here in Prevo, as many of the houses rent out on Airbnb, they are in for a quiet retreat, a full immersion in the Mediterranean flora, fabulous sea views…….and a long walk back from dining out! But forewarned they usually love being away from the crowds in the villages.

It’s still pre tourist season, a time to indulge in the late winter and early Spring flowers – like the Mimosa whose yellow blooms make a striking contrast against the turquoise sea. Purple pig face hang along walls which has me thinking what an Aussie mix of flora. Hardy rosemary is in bloom, and the red stalk flowers of the aloe vera are readily seen along the trail tucked in amongst the prickly pear. Officially the coastal trail is Trail closed Vernazza Cornigliaclosed, meaning those who use it hike are at their own risk. When it reopens late March the Cinque Terre Card will be required for entry at a fee of €7.50 or €13 per day including trains. The rest of the hiking trails, known as the high trails are all free…..and I might add just as good if not better!

Trail damage Vernazza

 

I see that another portion of the dry stone wall along the coastal trail has collapsed, a pretty common  occurrence and the National Park will probably try to fix it. Other areas have had major steel nets and cables extending the more volatile slopes and they appear to be holding up well and a great security for hikers and local landowners. It remains a fragile territory and any new landslide or collapsed wall is like a wound in our sides.  The  dry stone walls, that keep this territory together and gained it Unesco Heritage status, if put together are twice the length of The Great Wall of China! It’s a pity we don’t have a Chinese army of people to keep tending them and the terraces!

It is good to see some new trail railing has been put into place by the National park, and very welcomed at the favourite place for the panoramic shot of Corniglia where it was on such a wobble I thought the next tourist that leans was going to do a long gravel rash slide down to the beach below!

Prevo 5 TerreNothing that I ever write about the Cinque Terre is sensational as my aim is for those who visit to understand the complexities of this unique and beautiful area and respect its frailties. While man labours hard to remain in control, it is never enough for the work required and Mother Nature knows who is really ruling the roost!Corniglia to Monterosso

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Winter Solace at Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre dawnA mild Winter sun peaks from around the promontory, as dawn breaks on the Cinque Terre. Night lights still twinkle in Corniglia  welcoming the new dawn and another peaceful day.

At risk of being boringly repetitive, I say again, it is a favourite time for me to be here. No one on the trails hardly, so you can here Nature talking, caressing the foliage, sweeping the leaves into another pile while waves massage the rocks smooth.

Vernazza Downtown in Vernazza the washing is already out and there’s a strong aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries. I imagine many a grandma is busy making pasta or baking a cake for the family at lunch later. Vernazza cafe

 

 

 

 

 

My favourite bar the Blue Marlin is still closed, as are many of the tourist shops, restaurants and gelaterias. And the flood barriers in doorways are a permanent fixture during the winter since the flood of 2011.

Only locals on the main street, and so good to see kids and young parents, amongst the elderly,  as most of the population is definitely 60+. It’s great to see the fishing boats parked again in the main square, their flashy striped covers a cute contrast to the sea lashed pink of the building behind. Such a sense of belonging is reassuring, as is the peeling façade that battles timelessly against the salt spray, yet loses the fight each year. Nature quietly reminding us who is in control.

Burgus bar, VernazzaThe Burgus wine bar is one of the few places open with 90’s music blaring from the night before, not quite what you might expect or appreciate over a morning caffè latte!

In the nearby terraces, farmers prune their olives or paint their fruit trees against disease while others do the necessary renovations and maintenance required before the tourist season starts. And while I don’t have any terraced land, I have still pruned the fig trees that sprout from my wall and cleared the blackberries from around my fabulous agave cactus.Agave

The National Park volunteer hunters are out in their iridescent vests, rifles at the ready and walky talky radios transmitting where the wild boar have moved to. Such an impossible hunt,  as the boar invariably slips away into rampant  blackberries and thumps down from terrace to terrace. Such a lot of damage caused by the boar, an imported race that has run riot, breeding profusely, rooting out food at the base of the dry stone walls causing them to fall or remain precariously unstable. Another never ending battle. Although the hunters seem as pleased just to be out together, and to have another story to tell back home of the one that got away.Vernazza Madonna + child

As I head back to the car park  I see the Madonna has had a new coat of paint on her frame, keeping a trusty eye on locals and visitors as they enter the village of Vernazza or take a walk to her sanctuary at Madonna del Reggio.Vernazza

 

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Off peak at the Cinque Terre

Dawn beams gently over the Cinque Terre and after days of rain it looks like it will be a great day. Not a sound aside from the waves lapping over the rocks as even they seem to be in off peak mode.

The  Cinque Terre is ‘ours’ again, after another hectic season. The last ferry stopped at the beginning of November and only local fishing boats bob about now

Cinque Terre trailNot a soul to be seen on the trail from Corniglia to Vernazza despite it being Saturday and no sign of a drink or rest stop halfway either as the Bar Gabbiano is closed.la Gabbiano cafe closed

 

 

 

 

 

Corniglia Vernazza trail

 

 

Autumn colors dot the rugged terrain enhancing the beauty of the moment. It’s a great time to hike and even free as the check point on the coastal track is closed for the season!Cinque Terre trail check point

 

 

 

A menacing danger sign and ‘forbidden transit’ indicates you enter at your own risk, since the trail can never be completely closed off as it is the only access some locals have to their private land.

Vernazza Autumn day

My favourite beach at Vemazza looks tempting but I guess it would be a little too fresh in and out of the water.

 

 

 

Vernazza main streetLocals catch up on the gossip on the Main Street and only a few stray tourists wheel trolleys from the station in downtown Vernazza. Kids play in the main square under grandparents watchful eye, tricycling amongst the boats pulled out of the water in the recent storm alert.Vernazza main square

 

 

 

 

Vernazza Santa Margherita di Antiochio church

What is usually the prime restaurant area in the season becomes the winter boat park.

Some people soak up the warm autumn rays relaxing like lizards on a rock outside the church.

 

 

Fisherman

 

Another local casts a line from a super rod and while he had not been successful ( yet there was still half a day to go) said he ‘likes the challenge’!

There is still a mix of shops, bars and restaurants open although as each week passes they become less till eventually the tourist venues close altogether. For those that have Flood barrier Vernazzatheir flood protection barriers are in place as no one wants to see a repeat of the damage from the 2011 flood. Cruise ships still dock at la Spezia but less frequently during the off peak season and tourists always look a little shocked to see so little open to tempt them into spending money.

Vernazzans make the most of the sunshine as laundry flaps from terrace to terrace, a reassuring sign of normality. While in the surrounding hills maintenance work goes on to rebuild fallen walls and bit by bit recover abandoned land.  I take the trail back home to San Bernardino.

Yet another season over at the Cinque Terre and we can soak up the peace and quiet for the next few months.Sunset Vernazza

 


 

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It’s raining sweets in Cinque Terre

Bridal couple toss benediga

Foto credit www.fotografi-matrimonio.com

I was rather intrigued by a recent post from the Mayor of Vernazza – Cinque Terre about an old custom that started around the 1800’s – the benediga. It appears to be almost unique to Vernazza, and I remember some years back being surprised by sweets that rained from the heavens onto the Main Street of Vernazza as a bridal couple tossed them from a balcony above.

Enzo Resasco ( Mayor) writes : “This is one of many traditions that has remained unchanged in Vernazza and it would be nice to tell the many tourists who visiit here.When there is a wedding or a baptism, after the religious ceremony, the bride and groom or the godparents, from a balcony that overlooks either the square or along the main street of the village, throw “the benediga”…..

Often, the many tourists are suddenly caught up in the middle of a crowd of children, women and men from the village who bend down to pick up candies, chocolates, nuts, confetti raining down in torrents from the sky. Immediately it is difficult for them to understand what is happening. In their eyes you can see the wonder and perhaps a hint of fear, of seeing people gather, shouting and shoving, for this manna from the sky.”

Tourists gather confetti

Tourists gathering the loot!

Foto credit: http://vernazza-corniglia.com

Investigating further another Italian, Guido Allegrezza writes:
“A benediga worthy of respect, must “weigh” a total of at least 45 kg, evenly distributed between sweets, chocolates and confetti ( sugared almonds). In the past, when poverty was a daily reality, the benediga saw the launch of nuts and almonds festively wrapped…..Throwing  45 kilos of candy and confetti can take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the skill of the couple or godparents parents…..” and if ever caught up in this melee  he suggests to be wary of the elderly who while not at a soccer match tend to fight for the sweets with almighty fury, elbows out and baskets and sacks on the ready. Locals scream and wave their arms then dive on the goodies as they fall – something of a pagan ritual, a homage ….,”he benediga gives concrete expression to the sense of belonging to the community,” a festive celebration of a key moment in the community….and a temporary belonging to the tourists surprised by the event!

The Mayor is very concerned about maintaining traditions and not letting economic interests of tourism override the social fibre of the community. He writes:

“The biggest mistake we can make with our tourists is to make them feel as if they were still in their own country. Street signs type Fast Food, Take Away, Sangria, Happy Hour. This is not what they want.

They want Italian spirit. They want to live the rhythms of Italian life and our rhythms are special. Sit on a bench or at a table in a bar along the main street or square or the Ventega, in the evening at sunset with a Cinque Terre Doc. They do not want the supermarket, do not look for any “Gardaland” effect. They want the small shop or the weekly market knowing that to be served will mean a queue and maybe waiting for the seller to finish his conversation with the old lady of the place.”

The Mayor is fighting something of an uphill battle to retain the authenticity and uniqueness of Vernazza overrun with mass tourism and slowly depopulating, changing its face…or at least putting new make up on.

 

Foto credit for Yesterday: www.vernazza-corniglia.com


 

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Summer in full swing at the Cinque Terre

Vernazza 60's Pop band“Let’s twist again, like we did last Summer…” blares out across the piazza of Vernazza and nannas and poppas, kids and tourists jive and shake, bop and twist while others giggle on the sidelines. Summer is in full swing in the Cinque Terre! Vernazza Pop band guitarist

 

 

Guitarists shimmer in their gold lamé jackets as a replica Nancy Sinatra belts out her song and jangles her tambourine under the psychedelic lights. I haven’t seen Vernazza rave like that for a long time. And it’s not the only village that is entertaining locals and holidaymakers alike.

Corniglia offered their version of a Tom Waits, John Lurie style of Blues in the main street with singer songwriter Folco Orselli and his 3 piece band – Live in Caruggio (alleyway). Milanese by birth but a lover and regular resident of the Cinque Terre. If you’d like to get into the mood click here on his album “Outside is my side”

And more  Pop music at Corniglia the following night – with popular Elvis numbers, crooning Beach boys ‘Do you wanna dance.. with the crowd doing a great ‘do you do you’ chorus, ending the night with Gloria Gaynor classicsI will survive…..”

But it’s not just the music that makes the Cinque Terre so magic. We wandered down to Vernazza at sunset having hiked the trails between the villages, captivated by the views, the myriad of vineyards, the strong scent of Mediterranean brush and the hot sun baking our skin rewarded by a refreshing swim on arrival.

Free beach space is always a problem but I have learnt to squeeze in and create my own space seduced by crystal blue seas and in this heat….is there an option?

Corniglia Marina is fast becoming my favourite spot despite the 300+ steps down to it!

ManarolaWhile Manarola is an old time haunt, the high trail is a little taxing in the heat and the thought of a crowded train ride sometimes puts me off.

Living almost solely on fruit and gelati, waiting for the evening breeze to revive us from the Summer heat, watching kids glued to their mobiles or searching for pokemon….yes the craze has hit even the Cinque Terre!Monterosso kids

 

 

 

Drooling over a private food table in the ready for the Disabled Scuba diving club of Monterosso, and very impressed by their watermelon sculptures.

 

And it’s reassuring to see families playing table soccer in the main square of VernazzaVernazza surrounded by restaurants bulging at the seams with clients enjoying pesto dishes, seafood pasta, local fish and of course anchovies fried, pied or lightly marinated.

As the sun goes down, Vernazza is in its prime……

Vernazza

 

 

Cinque Terre sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and the Cinque Terre remains an enchanting paradise.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Even Paradise needs a Gardener!

 

Save Vernazza TeamSave Vernazza voluntourism project has started for another season in the Cinque Terre with 50 Busabout guides and drivers spending a morning getting their hands dirty and learning about the project so they can pass on the information to their clients.

 

 

It’s the Fourth Season of the “Turisti nei Cian” project which over the past 3 years:

  • 450 travellers joined 50+ excursions to provide direct assistance to save Vernazza’s fragile territory and to promote sustainable tourism.
  • 20 different landowners were helped to rebuild terracing and stonewalls (for which Vernazza and the Cinque Terre have been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO), restore olive groves, cultivate vineyards and harvest grapes.
  • Busabout guests donated over €6.600 to assist with Save Vernazza’s restoration and preservation efforts, including building five dry stonewalls and restoring land above the train station (to prevent further landslides onto the tracks).

Busabout Tour managers

While still a drop in the ocean in restoring damaged land after the 2011 flood, recuperating abandoned land terraces, or  recovering olive groves, the project has made a significant contribution to the community.Busabout Tour manager

 

 

 

 

 

Landowners were already smiling as they recounted the first day’s experience, as there is nothing better than being surrounded by enthusiastic young people giving a helping hand and enjoying the experience.

The Busabout staff  felt satisfied and at the end of the morning enjoyed a well earned lunch and laugh together.

The agency is part of the Treadright Foundation which is committed to ‘Sustainable Tourism, to keep this world beautiful!’

 

So if you are over this way and want to participate, check the calendar here and contact Save Vernazza – Irene di Martino project manager and sign up.    Email : workwithus@savevernazza.com   or  Whatsapp: +39 3485306953

Save VernazzaI guarantee you will find it a rewarding experience, the guides are young locals, the farmers all with a good story to tell and the lunch is super. You don’t have to be a Busabout client to participate in the Voluntourism project  and your contribution (€ 19) for the morning’s work and lunch covers equipment and expenses for the day. It is hard work and often hot so be prepared, but it will get you away from the madding crowds and give you an insight into the real community of Vernazza.

And as Save Vernazza’s motto says: ‘Even paradise needs a gardener!’

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Winter withdrawal and renewal in the Cinque Terre

View on CornigliaEven winter in the Cinque Terre is fabulous! How many times have I written that in previous blogs. Yet it is worth repeating and a wonderful way of settling back into life in Italy. All it needed was mild weather and some sunshine to have me out walking those same old trails that I have hiked so many times before.

 

I never tire of the views, knowing Towards Monterossoevery nook and cranny so well; my favourite photo spots (not only mine!), my much loved rest points to breathe it all in and let a smile out.

The wild boar had been busy snuffling up their precious roots, berries, mushrooms and whatever else they could find under the olives and vines.

wildboar devastation

So the Park rangers were out, rifles on the ready, walkie talkies in hand trying desperately to find the boar….that got away! Most visitors are not aware of how much damage the boar do to the vineyards and the Park territory, rooting around at the base of the dry stone walls, often destabilising the wall.

The hunt is controlled but as the Ranger said ” they are sly and hardy beasts”  that slideVernazza- Corniglia down effortlessly from one terrace to another and easily outsmart the hunters.  While I heard no shots, the Rangers were on the run along the trail and through the undergrowth much to the surprise of the odd tourist. They ducked as the armed rangers rushed past and were quite shocked and keen to be reassured that it was safe to continue!

In Corniglia, there was hardly a soul and while the gelati billboard was out the shop was closed, probably in waiting for the weekend trade. The village returns to being a local village, washing being hung out, and grandmas sitting in the sun chatting as they crochet.

Dry stone wallsIt’s always heartening to see the work being done on restoring properties and dry stone walls so critical to the maintenance of the terraces.restoration work

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park signs have been renewed and hopefully hikers will heed the advice. View of VernazzaCinque terre park sign

 

Vernazza has the same tranquil atmosphere, with many of the touristy shops still closed and the main street deserted.Vernazza main street

Quite a contrast to the Summer crowds!Crowds Cinque Terre

 

 

 

 

Children have reclaimed the main square as their playground, under the watchful eye of grandparents, and the medieval features of the  buildings are more noticeable.

Vernazza palazzo

Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sea laps idly over the rocks, as a fisherman tries his luck. Vernazza fishermanAnd there is an air of peace; time to catch our breath and rest up in readiness for the season to come.Cactus flower

 

 

 

Cinque Terre- Vernazza

 

 

 

If you are thinking of coming over and would like a ‘detour’  don’t hesitate to get in touch, I would be more than happy to show you round!

 


 

 

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Summer sets on the Cinque Terre

 

VernazzaSummer sets on the Cinque Terre and I have had my last swim for the year. There will still be some mild sunny days ahead but the hubbub and chaos of the Summer is starting to wane and we all breathe a sigh of relief.

Two tourists make the most of the more lay back atmosphere, dancing to an old time classic ‘Volare‘ at Monterosso. Passer-by’s hardly give a second glance as though the event is something normal. The busker is honoured.Cinque Terre dancersBusker Monterosso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monterosso beach

Monterosso beach

The Beach umbrellas have been taken in and for the moment the stumps remain, with only memories of the hordes that gathered in their shade, slathering sun screen lotion and rolling over to toast the other side.

 

 

As in so many other beautiful coastal spots in Liguria, like Camogli.Liguria - Camogli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A local girl returns from Milan to be married in her hometown, Vernazza and is paraded proudly through the tourist crowds to the antique church of Santa Margherita. It brings reality back to the little village, as tourists trip over themselves to get a quick snapshot.

It has been a long hot Summer and a very busy season again. Day trippers and cruise passengers have added dramatically to the general crush in the main streets of the tiny villages of the Cinque Terre straining the local services to the limit. Long queues outside snack food and gelati shops, some anxious faces waiting in similar queues for a toilet and rather exasperated gasps as the crowds pour out of the ‘cattle truck’ train carriages. Mass tourism is this and more all over the world, where some locations cope better than others and are able to manage the ever increasing flow. Cinque Terre is not one of those places, it is a fragile territory and far too small. And while it is understandable that the world wants to visit, we hope it can be limited, to not spoil what we have, for us and visitors alike.

The authorities responsible spend hours discussing the matter but till now noCinque Terre overcrowded significant changes have been made. To stir them along a petition was launched recently to Save the Cinque Terre from mass tourism. If you know and love the area please sign.

Daredevil hikers continue to ignore the ‘No Entry’  signs to the coastal trails closed between Riomaggiore and  Corniglia, scaling spiked fences and boasting to friends of their escapade. Little attention being paid to the fact that they may aggravate further landslides as they hike through the areas, putting their lives at risk and necessitating a rather expensive helicopter rescue if the land slips away beneath their feet or a rock fall knocks them off the trail!

Sunset Corniglia

Yet as the Summer sets on the Cinque Terre it’s a magic time, hiking the trails is a joy that regenerates my heart and soul. Nature at its best, villages bathed in a soft pink glow which deepens at every step.

 


Corniglia sunset

I stop to enjoy the colours on Corniglia and hear a whisper in the stillness that says it’s time to head for home before the sun slips away completely.

Cinque Terre sunset

 

 


 

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