Small-town Italy: Vernazza; Derek Ray; San Diego Reader
Life seems mellow and tranquil in the tiny, idyllic seaside town of Vernazza in Italy’s Cinque Terre. But the community suffered a traumatic experience in October 2011 when torrential rains led to a flash flood that devastated many of the ground level businesses in the town and killed three residents.
A visitor might never know of this tragic episode were it not for a dramatic and poignant collection of photos greeting visitors as they descend the stairs from the train station into town. The photos capture the grim expressions of shell-shocked business owners in the days after the flood as they stood in their shops and restaurants amidst a carpet of mud.
Thanks to its status as a tourist hotspot in the Cinque Terre, however, and the solid structural integrity of its buildings, less than two years after the tragedy, Vernazza is recovering and thriving.