Without doubt, one of the most charming places we visited in Italy was the seaside village of Vernazza, on the Cinque Terre in the province of Liguria.

Visiting the Cinque Terre was one of the reasons we wanted to visit Italy, so this destination was highly anticipated. Getting there proved to be a little more than we bargained for, but we eventually arrived safely.

We spent three nights in beautiful Vernazza, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. Three nights was heavenly, but nowhere near long enough.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

The view from our accommodation at Maria Capellini Rooms

By day, the village is busy with day trippers who arrive by train, spilling down into the main street and tiny harbour. But in the early morning and evening, Vernazza is a very special place to be.  The locals are friendly and happy to chat about their beloved home town. Many of the families have been here for centuries, with several generations still living locally.

The resolve of the locals was tested with the horrific flood of October 25, 2011, where unprecedented rains caused a wall of water to sweep through the town, destroying almost everything in its path, and taking the livelihoods of most locals with it. Sadly,three locals also lost their lives. Vernazza was buried under four metres of mud and debris, with the damage bill estimated at more than 100 million Euros!

This YouTube clip shows the full devastation of the floods –

Today, the town has been almost entirely rebuilt. It took more than a year for many of the shops and restaurants to restore their businesses and re-open. The tourists slowly came back, and today,  apartment from the peeling paint on some of the building facades, you wouldn’t know the flood had occurred – if it weren’t for the enormous billboard just down from the train station which tells the story. Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

The restoration of this historic village is testament to the determination and tenacity of its residents.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

Vernazza harbour. Our accommodation was on the ground floor of the pink building – right next door to the gelato shop!

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

Vernazza harbour, fishing boats and a distant cave

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

Vernazza harbour

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

Washing day in Vernazza

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

Making a delivery

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

Looking down over the village and harbour from above

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

Vernazza’s ancient Castello (Castle) tower

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the Day Project

With our beautiful B&B hosts, Maria & Giacomo Capellini. Such gorgeous people!

Have you been to Vernazza? Did you stay there overnight? Was it before or after the flood?

Linking up with Albom Adventures for #WkendTravelInspiration weekend-travel-inspiration-600x600

… and linking up with A Brit & A Southerner for #WeekendWanderlust Weekend-Wanderlust-Logo-V21

 

The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend Jane ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!

Read related posts in this fascinating series here:

The journey to Cinque Terre: When things didn’t go according to plan – Walking the Cinque Terre trail from Vernazza to Monterosso – The Beauty of Portofino