Starting at 9pm today and carrying through until 3pm on August 14th, a level orange storm warning has been issued for the Cinque Terre and surrounding areas in Liguria. On the map below, the Cinque Terre falls in section C.
What does this mean? In Italy, there are four distinct colors regarding weather forecasts:
GREEN (0) is no danger whatsoever, YELLOW (1) is slight danger, ORANGE (2) is moderate danger and RED (3) is the highest level of alert for predicted extreme storm conditions.
Given the 2011 flood that affected Vernazza & Monterosso, these storm warnings are not taken lightly by local city officials.
In the case of the Comune di Riomaggiore (which includes the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Groppo and Volastra) level orange and red storm warnings mean that local businesses and schools located within potential flood zones are required to remain closed. Also, cars parked in potential flood areas must be moved to other locations. Tour groups will not be allowed to disembark in Riomaggiore or Manarola, whether by train or bus. Lastly, all hiking trails will be officially closed until the storm warning has been reduced. The other two city halls in the Cinque Terre (Comune di Vernazza and Comune di Monterosso) take similar measures during level orange (or red) storm warnings.
If you are in the Cinque Terre now, exercise caution in the event of heavy rains (in which case, stay indoors and away from flood susceptible areas). Businesses outside of designated flood zones should be unaffected and open for business as usual.
Silver lining: Maybe it will be a good day to catch up writing in your travel journal?
If you’ve been following my blog post on the current status of the Sentiero Azzurro, you already know that the portion of the coastal trail between Corniglia and Vernazza has been “unofficially” open since March of this calendar year. Today the Cinque Terre National Park has announced that this portion of the coastal trail (also known in previous years as trail 2) has officially reopened to the public.
What does this mean to hikers in our area?
- The main difference is that you will no longer be able to hike that portion of the coastal trail for free (you’ll be required to have the hiking pass, which is €7.50 per day, or the Cinque Terre Card, which is €12 per day).
- You’ll notice more hikers on this trail as prior to today only those “in the know” knew it was still possible to hike. With the official reopening, the tourist information offices will now be promoting this portion of the coastal trail to visitors to our area (whereas before, for liability reasons, they couldn’t).
- By officially opening this portion of the trail, the Cinque Terre National Park and the Comune di Vernazza will have a certain level of liability regarding the trail (while unofficially open those hiking were doing so at their own risk).
photo credit: Imperia Post
For those of you that don’t know, the Giro d’Italia is Italy’s premier cycling race (comparable to the Tour de France). It’s a pretty big deal. And for the first time since 2009, it’s heading through the Cinque Terre. You can see the route map and expected passing times here.
This is great news for sports & cycling enthusiasts but not such great news for those planning to arrive by car to the Cinque Terre on Tuesday, May 12th, 2015. The cyclists will be starting in Chiavari, making their way through the Cinque Terre, and finishing up in La Spezia.
In the Comune di Riomaggiore the Litoranea delle Cinque Terre (a.k.a. SP370) will be closed to traffic from 2pm to approx. 6:30pm. Other comuni (La Spezia, Vernazza, Monterosso and Levanto) will be having road closures for presumably different times (depending on when the cyclists are expected to pass by).
The notice of road closure times signed by Riomaggiore’s mayor
If you are planning to drive to the Cinque Terre that day, speak with your host in advance to see what recommendations they might have (whether that be to park elsewhere and train in or to arrive before/after road closure times).
Perhaps you’ve been online trying to find accommodations for your stay in the Cinque Terre and you’ve noticed that people are mentioning a new tax for those staying in the area. Like many popular Italian cities (Rome, Florence, Venice, etc.), the Cinque Terre villages are following suit and imposing a city tax on visitors staying here.
Before you get too excited, don’t worry… this tax shouldn’t make or break you. The tax is 1 euro, per person, per day, for a maximum of three days (so the maximum city tax per person for any single stay would be 3 euro). This amount will need to be paid directly to your hotel or the owner of the room or apartment you have rented (they, in turn, will have to fill out paperwork and submit the tax to the Comune). As it currently stands, the new tasso di soggiorno will apply to those that stay in the villages within the Comune di Riomaggiore and the Comune di Vernazza between the dates of March 1st and October 31st, 2015. This means if you stay in the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Groppo, Volastra, Corniglia, Prevo or Vernazza you should expect to pay the city tax this year. At the moment, the Comune di Monterosso has not approved a tasso di soggiorno so those staying there are exempt.
The city tax was not welcome by most locals in the Cinque Terre, many of which are dependent on tourism for their livelihood. City leaders in both the Comune di Riomaggiore and Comune di Vernazza assure locals that this city tax will help with the costs of maintaining not just the villages but also the surrounding territory, trails and dry stone terraces. Time will only tell if that will truly be the case. In the meantime, our fingers are crossed.