Fairytale images of Cinque Terre

Dreaming of some time out from the current reality, Mother Nature put on a special show for me (and others) at the Cinque Terre, at least for those of us who live above the main villages. Probably due to the unseasonal warm weather we are having despite it still being Winter, a reaction between the sea and land temperature….whatever it was, it was truly magic!Cinque Terre under the cloudsThree days of clouds rolling in and up and slowly dissipating during the day, to rollback in again the next day and the one after. Locals call it “il caligo” – meaning fog, but it is rare to see it at this time of year and to continue as such for days. For us above it all, it was a fairytale blanket of clouds, inviting and enticing us to take a plunge into its soft fluffy texture.

As it slowly dispersed the village of Corniglia would reappear in a dreamlike stateCorniglia in clouds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damaged wall on hike path

 

Time to explore what it was like down inside the fog, and see how the villages were coping with Covid restrictions and hear the news. Hiking down I found a couple of dry stone walls collapsed but no major landslide fortunately and Vernazza looking beautiful as usual.

Rumour has it Via dell Amore will reopen this year, but that has been promised before so we will just have to wait and see.

View on Vernazza

 

 

Vernazza’s main street was very quiet, just a few shoppers waiting their turn outside the mini supermarket, and the table soccer game waiting for the kids to return from school.

But they were busy on the beach rebuilding the boat slipway before the weather warms up.

The water in the bay looking crystal clear…..Vernazza Cinque Terreand the view across to Monterosso a peaceful one.View to MonterossoCorniglia was the same, hardly a soul about apart from a group of friends enjoying  the sunshine with a picnic at the panoramic point.

Picnic at CornigliaUnfortunately another wall down on the way in to Corniglia  while  a new drystone wall has gone up in my little village.  A stonemason’s artistic masterpiece  showing the skill  and talent required.

Clouds roll in Cinque Terre

 

As the fog rolls in I hike back up to enjoy the view and wait for another fairytale beginning on the Cinque Terre.

 

Cinque Terre under the clouds 3

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Via dell’Amore – not such a romantic beginning

Via dell'Amore

Photo credit Giulia Gosnell Carmignani

For such a romantic trail, known world wide, it may be surprising to learn that the Via dell’ Amore did not have such a romantic beginning….rather an explosive one!

The whole area of the Cinque Terre remained quite isolated until the  construction of the road in 1875 and the railway line at the beginning of the 1900’s. Until then the villages were only accessible from the sea and between each other via the (now)  hiking trails.

Riomaggiore

View of Riomaggiore

For the railway line Genoa- la Spezia a tunnel was needed between Riomaggiore and Manarola, explosive powder to mine it, and a safe storage area for the powder while construction took place. Hence two paths were built overlooking the sea for access and storage area, joining the two villages in less than 1 kilometre path. After the completion of the tunnel locals saw great value in maintaining the link, renovating it to make it easier to access and it became the major thoroughfare. As tourists came to appreciate the area and this path in particular for it’s romantic atmosphere, it was renamed the Via dell’ Amore.

Manarola

View of Manarola

Despite major funds being spent on the path, to widen it and place netting to secure it against rock slides, it has had major difficulties. The last accident was on the  23rd Sept 2012 when 4 Australian tourists were knocked off the path by rock falls and very lucky to survive. Two suffered severe injuries with broken bones and head injuries and one had to have her spleen removed.

Rock fall Via dell'Amore

Via dell'Amore Accident 2012The path was closed and has remained so until July this year when a very small portion, 200m, was reopened to the public, from behind the Manarola station.

Costs to repair, stabilise and monitor were estimated at € 2m and €300,000 to repair from Manarola up to the kiosk of which €500,000 was funded from the Liguria region and the rest from the State railways. A further € 8 – 12m is required to complete the repair work and monitor up to Riomaggiore, and it seems likely that the rest of the trail will remain closed for some years.

Cinque terre Riomaggiore

View of Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

In Riomaggiore with a friend

It’s very disheartening, as it is a wonderful path hugging the coastline, with gorgeous views, clear blue seas below and very romantic! I don’t know how many times I have walked along it since 1985, I only wish I had more photos to keep as memories until it reopens.

 

 

The territory of the Cinque Terre is a fragile one and as the years pass even more so with climatic changes and  concerns about the mass tourism now overcrowding the villages and trails creating a further stress on resources.

But it’s still fabulous to me!

Manarola

Manarola

 

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