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Late afternoon in Vernazza, a small town in Italy's Cinque Terre National Park.
Vernazza is the next to northernmost town and perhaps most picturesque of the five towns of Cinque Terre in Italy. Colorful, antique homes cling to impossible cliffs. A lovely small harbor nestles under the shadows of an ancient castle and a dramatic seaside church.
On October 25, 2011, Vernazza was struck by torrential rains, massive flooding and mudslides that left the town buried in over 4 meters (over 13 feet) of mud and debris, causing over 100 million euro worth of damage. The town was evacuated and in a state of emergency for many months. Vernazza has returned and with hard work and help from people around the world it is open to travelers again. Most of the shops and restaurants are back in business and as lovely as ever.
Vernazza has the only proper harbor in the Cinque Terre and is a charming, small fishing village. Vernazza was founded about 1000 A.D. and was ruled by the Republic of Genoa starting in 1276. Vernazza's medieval castle, Belforte, towers above the harbor and was built in the mid-1500's, primarily to protect the village from pirates.
Vernazza's historic wealth is evidenced by the elegant style of its houses and streets, which are decorated with tower forms, open galleries, refined arcades and elaborate doorways. The Village is surrounded by very steeply-terraced Olive groves which are said to produce among the finest Olive oil in the country.
Vernazza is a quaint, tiny place, with a population of about 1,000. The entire Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
December 9th, 2011
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