Saturday, March 23, 2013

Divided in two

Last year I wrote about the garden at the Cappucin monastery called affectionately by locals "paradiso", and kept meaning to take more pictures when the sun came out to really do justice to the beautiful spot. It's on top of the hill over the tunnel connecting the Old Town and Fegina, a garden that has bloomed since the 1600's, framed by traditional stone walls that hang over the sea.  It's arguably the most breathtaking spot in the village, and one that is very special to the Monterossini as well as anyone who has ever been up there.  The top of this hill constitutes one of the first settlements of Monterosso - the walls of the town cemetery next to the monastery and chapel are the original walls of where the first Monterossini lived.  Centuries ago, when pirates and other foes arriving by sea were common, it made more sense for the original settlers to live where they could have a more strategic viewpoint of danger on the horizon, as well as having easier access to their farms in the hills.  My blog post with photos and a longer description of the monastery and the garden can be reached through this link.

Two nights ago, due to the constant rain we've had the past few weeks, a sudden landslide brought paradiso crumbling down to the ground below, in front of the entrance to the tunnel.  Devastating not only for the loss of this important spot, but because of the necessary work to rebuild and stabilize the ground above, this landslide has rendered the street separating the Old Town and Fegina unusable, effectively separating the two parts of an already tiny village.  Work started immediately, but it will take a matter of weeks before the land can be considered stable and the street safe for people to use.  The town has a green bus that can be accessed in the piazza in Via Fegina to bring people to the Old Town and vice versa, as well as a small boat service (weather dependent) that brings people back and forth from the Old Town harbor to the Circolo Velico, the area behind the statue of the Giant in the New Town.
Rebuld Monterosso has all the information for tourists arriving on the train who need to get to the Old Town where they have booked hotels, or anyone looking to visit the historic town center, as well as anyone in the Old Town arriving by ferry who needs to get to the Fegina side and the train station.  Also, Kate Little, another American living in the area,  has great information about other hiking trails in the area that can be accessed in Monterosso through her blog Little Paradiso, since the Blue Coastal trail is still closed undergoing work.  
Floods, blizzards, earthquakes and a landslide or two just prove that Monterosso is one tough little village with a lot of heart.  Those coming to visit in the next week or two be assured that many things are still opening up regardless (restaurants, bars, and so forth) and it is business as usual here, though it might take you a little longer to get from one side to the next.


  1. Oh Christine, that is so very sad, I loved that walk and have quite a few photo's of my trip up the walkway and up to the Monistary, I feel sad that such a special place has now gone. I hope when they re stabalise it that they can give it back some of its glory, and use the old stone to add its history. wow I feel Blessed to have done that little adventure when i did. thanks for sharing.

  2. Christine,
    I was truly sorry to hear that yet another natural disaster had befallen Monterosso. As the town recovers from this latest calamity, I'm confident that the resilience and spirit of the wonderful people of Monterosso will prevail. My thoughts are with all of you, and I will absolutely be encouraging others to continue visiting Monterosso.
    Also, I hope your recovery is still going well.