I spent 6 hours with him today, and he clearly holds this area very close to his heart - and yes, he actually does personally check in on the hotels and restaurants himself. It's beautiful to see someone interested and amazed with all the work done here. Sometimes, I think it's better that visitors now only have a glimpse of the immense work done here post-flood, sometimes I want people to know exactly how much was done. How mountains were, literally, moved, and how people that feel there is nothing "authentic" left here need to look no further then the street under their feet, which was rebuilt by locals who refused to let their town sink into the mud. There is nothing more "authentic" or "real" then a town full of people who used their bare hands and months of backbreaking work to save it.
La Repubblica, one of the biggest Italian newspapers, featured an article today about the "miracle of Monterosso, and it gives me goosebumps - no joke. "In only six months, the town has resumed it's life", they wrote, speaking of the miracle that seems to have occurred in our reconstruction. Only six months after the mayor famously quoted that "Monterosso was no more", the village has firmly planted it's feet and come stubbornly and proudly back to life. Looking at the final stages of the rebuilding of the Cantina - the last darn thing to open up - it's a beautifully fulfilling feeling of accomplishment.
|Baby jellyfish cleanup|
|The cantina, little by little!|
|Me and Rick Steves after a lonnnnng day around town|