It’s been a tough year on the trails in the Cinque Terre this year, surprisingly tougher than last year. The trails needed considerable repair work after the landslides of 2011, which could not start until the cliff faces had been netted and stabilized. Then boulders crashed through the protective netting in mid-October 2012 knocking Australian tourists off the famous Via dell ’Amore onto the rocks below. They miraculously survived
the incident. That was also really the final blow to the whole National park structure as the Via dell’ Amore was considered the pride and joy of the trails, especially in view of the funds and work that had gone into it. It’s a short easy and beautiful walk, hugging the cliffs with dazzling blue sea views all the way, accessible to everyone, even families with a pram.The consequences have been that this year only 2 trails of the famous ‘Sentiero 2’ blue trail, have been open, and then sometimes off and on. Repair work had to be done and the trail from Vernazza to Monterosso was closed Mondays to Thursdays for a while, and only opened permanently in mid-August. Corniglia to Vernazza has been open mostly throughout the season, with workmen on the trail and tourists scrambling around them. They have only just started to work on Corniglia to Manarola now, which was closed from a landslide of over 4 years ago, while the Via dell’ Amore is closed indefinitely, under police investigation and in need of considerable repair.
So it’s been a tough season. Most tourists and Italians haven’t known about the closures before they arrived on holidays, as can be seen by the dismayed look on their faces as they read the closed sign at Riomaggiore station, and they have been here in abundance.
It’s also about logistics, as to be fair, those I have seen working have been working non-stop and giving it their best, under 38degree temperatures. The whir of helicopters has been constant, dropping off materials and machinery in huge crates. And I have seen many a spider man suspended in mid-air slowly working his way down tying steel cords and bolts into the rock face. People traffic has increased so dramatically that many of the trails have been widened from the old narrow mule track and protective railing has been put up, which regularly needs replacing.
As I sauntered behind a group I cringed when I heard a lady complain about the recently cut grass along the trail, “you’d think they’d come and clean up after they cut it”! Little did she understand that she was lucky they had even come along with a whipper snipper to cut it! The wind has since cleared most of it away and nature quickly covers her scars. So spare a thought as you slog the trail, savour the fabulous views and lean on that rail to take the classic shot.
Nothing comes easy here, please take your time and enjoy it and we will do our best to look after it for you and for future generations.