Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can we help The Cinque Terre and Lunigiana Get Back Up on their Feet?

Vernazza as it was April 2011
As many of you have already read the Cinque Terre in Liguria and the Lunigiana area which extends into Tuscany were struck with exceptionally heavy rain and devastating mudslides early Wednesday morning. The images of mudslides sweeping away cars, boats, homes, shops and restaurants in the quaint town of Vernazza conjure up disbelief in someone like me who has recently returned for a second visit to shop, eat the best pesto on the planet and enjoy the beauty of marvelous towns clinging to a hillside.  Worse yet is that lives have been lost or are missing as a result of the violent effect of the storm.

I know I speak for anyone who has ever set foot in this enchanting area of Italy when I say that it is heart wrenching to see the Cinque Terre brought to its knees. What was once a chain of sleepy fishermen villages connected by the sea or by winding coastal footpaths had only just begun to flourish from international tourism and strengthen its economy. Now one of Italy’s most beautiful spots—and Italy is known for her beautiful spots—must recon with the rage of what makes it so special: the picturesque hillside that not so gently sweeps toward the sea.

The sea at Vernazza April 2011
In the days to come fingers will be pointed, most likely at the government for not providing adequate river banks and sustaining walls, but 
what is more unfortunate is that Italy isn't known to be quick at providing financial aid for cleanup and following through to get people and businesses back on their feet. They try, but bureaucracy doesn't run at the same speed as the desperation that strikes the family shoveling mud out the window of their second floor apartment or the restaurant owner who has just closed a remarkable season but will hardly be able to cover the cost of replacing everything.

I have never used my blog to promote the collection of funds, but my time in Italy has taught me that the government may not be capable or able to see these towns through their difficulties. So, I am going to provide a link to "Un Aiuto  
Main seaside Piazza in Vernazza April 2011

Subito. Alluvione Levante Ligure e Lunigiana...Immediate Help. Floods in Levante Ligure and Lunigiana"

The link was set up by Corriere della Sera, an Italian national newspaper and Tg7, a national news channel. There is a bank account number and a cellphone number (Send a blank text message to 45500). Every Euro helps…so please pitch in and spread the word.

For those donating from Italy: Conto Corrente IT80O30690506110000 0000567 Reference: «Un aiuto subito. Alluvione Levante ligure e Lunigiana» presso Banca Intesa Sanpaolo, filiale di Roma, viale Lina Cavalieri 236 or from an Italian cellphone or landline send an SMS text message to 45500. Two euro will be donated to the fund with each message. Please spread the word!
The photos on this page were taken in Vernazza during my trip in April 2011. Links below will give you an idea of what Vernazza looked like two days ago.

Photos of Vernazza during the flood:

 Photos of the situation 

The edge of Vernazza meeting the sea

Monday, October 17, 2011

A mix of Southern and Northern Italy--Matera: a Town of Stone & Gondolas: the symbol of Venice

Well I'm back from Matera, Italy and the Women's Fiction Festival. What an experience!

View from my hotel "Hotel in Pietra" in the Sassi area of Matera, Italy
 I came away from the magical "stone" city after having met, mingled with and befriended authors, agents and editors from across the globe. One of my favorite events was a fabulous brainstorming session with fellow writers which helped push me over a hurdle and reinforce an idea I was pondering. Since my return I've been polishing up my manuscript and getting it ready to send off to the literary agents and editors that liked my pitch. I couldn't ask for more.

 I'll still be checking in here from time to time, but most of my writing time in the next few weeks will be dedicated to my manuscript. It's an exciting moment and I feel fortunate that someone might just want to work with me and put Beneath the Lion's Wings on the road to publishing. There's a lot to do before that, so continue to send me good thoughts, and who knows it just might happen.

In the meantime here are a few photos taken in Matera and a link to a charming piece by Seth Doane from CBS Morning News...Gondolas: the symbol of Venice. The gondolier, Pierluigi Pila, is a close colleague of my husband's...he's also a huge fan of anything American. A presto!

Morning walk through Matera

Matera by night