Floods in the Cinque Terre: October 25, 2011
Last week’s deadly flash-flooding in parts of Liguria and northern Tuscany have left the region in a state of shock. Many villages—notably Monterosso and Vernazza—will be digging themselves out of the mud for some time to come.
Fall storms and flooding are not new to the Italian Riviera. The topography and climate contribute to this cyclical problem: steep mountains facing the Mediterranean catch incoming storms. Violent cloudbursts and downpours fill ravines and dry creek beds, overflowing their banks and carrying with them trees, boulders and mud. In a matter of hours such storms can dump as much rain as the region usually gets in a period of many months.
History teaches us much about flooding, damage and how towns and villages can bounce back.
Here are images from the devastation caused by the flash floods of October 5, 1995. That time around the worst-hit town was Santa Margherita Ligure, near Portofino:
Genoa has been damaged by flooding countless times over the centuries. One particularly bad storm hit the region’s capital in 1970, lasting two days, October 7 and 8. Here is some rare color footage of the event:
For now you’re better off delaying any trekking trip to the Cinque Terre. But most of the rest of Liguria was not affected, and the weather has gone back to being pleasant and mild. Check our weather page for up-to-the-minute details on the weather in Liguria.
The long-term positive news is, Liguria always bounces back from floods and other heavy weather events. Take a look at Santa Margherita today, for instance, and there is no trace of the 1995 catastrophe.
Ditto Genoa, which suffered bad flooding most recently in both 2009 and 2010.
Here’s to hoping the Cinque Terre and the many other towns and villages of southeastern Liguria and northern Tuscany can return to normal soon.