Five little towns known as Cinque Terre cling to the west coast of Italy. The history of these communities goes back to the 1100s. The people living here today have known their share of stormy weather. They remember well the massive rainfall in 2011 that caused flooding and mudslides that buried the ground floor of so many structures. People and cars were swept out to sea. Digging out from the mud took a while, but today all five towns are open to tourists and are thriving once again.
Fishing is a healthy industry . . .
Running around in the rain here, we couldn’t help but think about how vulnerable Cinque Terre is to the weather. The tall hills where grapes, tomatoes, and other crops grow are so steep that they serve as a funnel when too much rain falls. Since 2011, a better system of drainage allows streams to flow under or beside the streets to carry the water to the sea. Still, some hiking paths on the hills are closed. We were warned not to hike even on the open trails during rain.
By afternoon, the sun shone and we were able to hike in the hills above Manarola. But we will always remember Cinque Terre as a fragile place, cobbled together through hundreds of years with whatever’s at hand. Let’s hope it’s strong enough to survive at least another century or two.