Today I read some very sad news. The villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre were hit by a horrible rain storm that caused flash floods. So far I have read that six people died. Restaurants, shops and homes have been flooded and destroyed. People have been evacuated by sea and many people will be homeless.
This photo was taken from The Globe and Mail.
Natural disasters happen all the time and each time my heart goes out to the people who have to live through them. This is the first time a natural disaster has happened in a place I have visited and truly love. I blogged about Cinque Terre a few months in my excitement to go back and visit soon. I visited Cinque Terre when I was studying abroad in college and instantly fell in love with the area and decided it was one of my favorite places in the world. I was in the middle of planning a trip back there with my husband in May of 2012 when I stumbled upon the sad news.
Cinque Terre consists of 5 little towns, or villages– Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. When I visited in 2007, I hiked through the towns with a backpack on my back and my camera in hand. I was amazed by these little towns. They had so much charm and character and such beautiful, beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Italian music played as we walked through the towns and enjoyed the scenery. I felt like I was in a scene from a romantic Italian movie.
As an out-of-shape college student walking through these towns I remember wanting to give up and hop on the train to the last town, essentially skipping the three towns in the middle. It was hot, I was tired, and I was carrying a huge bag on my shoulders. The sun was beating so strongly on us and of course we were not dressed appropriately for the trip. I was wearing heavy long jeans and an uncomfortable tank top and sweating like crazy. But my roommate at the time and I decided to deal with the heat and heavy bags because we wanted to be able to say “I hiked through ALL of Cinque Terre” and that is exactly what we did. We didn’t want to miss any part of these towns and now, more than ever, I am glad we didn’t quit.
We kept going until we reached the very end of the last town, Monterosso, and we could see the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. We hadn’t brought our swimsuits but the water looked amazing. We stopped at the first little street vendor we could find and bought over-sized t-shirts and towels. We changed and ran into the water. It was the best feeling to know we kept going until the end and were able to enjoy a little relaxation before hopping on a train back to Torino where we lived.
In the latest article I read, the Mayor of the small town said “Monterosso no longer exists.” I can’t imagine what it must look like now. It’s hard to picture the beautiful place I visited being destroyed by flooding.
My thoughts go out to the people of these little towns and all the other areas in Italy who have been affected by this natural disaster. You had a beautiful place to call home and I hope you can rebuild your lives shortly.
Have you been to Cinque Terre? What was your experience like?
You can read more about this on CNN.