I’m back in the saddle after baby #2’s arrival and I have a lot of catching up to do here on the blog. However, I think it’s imperative to first get you all up to date regarding the misinformation that has been swirling in the global media in the past few days. First, let me just clarify:
THERE WILL BE NO CAP ON THE NUMBER OF VISITORS TO THE CINQUE TERRE IN 2016.
The misinformation all started three days ago. The President of the Cinque Terre National Park, Vittorio Alessandro, was quoted in an Italian news article stating that there would be a limit of 1.5 million visitors to the Cinque Terre in the 2016 touristic season (which would shave 1 million visitors off of the estimated number from 2015) and that this would take place through a sort of reservation by purchasing the Cinque Terre Card online in advance. The park’s general director, Patrizio Scarpellini, was also quoted in the article as saying that the park intended to install electronic pedestrian counters as well as introduce a smartphone app that would permit visitors to view the status of crowds in each of the villages. A blog post by Ilaria Borletti, the Italian government’s Sottosegretario al Ministero dei Beni e Attività Culturali (Undersecretary for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities), seemed to further corroborate and authenticate the news.
The article caught the attention of international media and the story was translated and disseminated in multiple languages worldwide (see here, here and here, for just a few examples), creating a bit of panic and alarm amongst international travelers planning to visit the area in 2016.
I was skeptical of the news, to be quite honest, as there were plenty of logistical holes to address. I was also displeased, as were local Cinque Terre city officials and citizens alike, to learn about this new proposal via the media and not from the park itself. Lastly, knowing full well the time constraints and the tedious pace of Italian bureaucracy, I couldn’t fathom how the national park thought they could have all of this ready to roll out in time for the 2016 touristic season.
Today, three days after the first article was published, guess who retracted and started back pedaling? The Cinque Terre National Park. To call this an embarrassment for the park is an understatement. While there’s no doubt that measures need to be taken to preserve the Cinque Terre and better distribute visitors, this was not the way to introduce a plan (as there was zero collaboration between the park, local entities and citizens and an unrealistic timeline to boot).
Rest assured that if you are planning to visit the Cinque Terre in 2016 you will not be turned away, nor is it necessary for you to purchase a Cinque Terre Card in advance. Heck, you don’t even have to buy one at all! More information on what the Cinque Terre Card is and what it offers can be found in my previous blog post here.
I will go further into detail in a future post, but I wanted to reassure readers and future visitors to the Cinque Terre regarding the actual situation as soon as possible.