Le Cinque Terre

Rick Steves and the “disarray” of 5 Terre 2010-2011

Everyone in the Cinque Terre should be grateful to Mr. Rick Steves, since we all know what was (and still is!) the impact of his enthusiastic descriptions on the touristic flow on the 5 Terre in the last 15 years.
Here are some links to corroborate (there’s no need of course but the links are informative to our readers..) this theory:

And from the pages of our blog we already wished to tribute the right credit to Mr. Steves: http://www.cinqueterre.com/blog/rick-steves-acros-the-cinque-terre

Unfortunately our impression (you can feel it reading this last linked article) of a bad administration of the National Park of 5 Terre and of the municipality of Riomaggiore were true and on Sept. 28th 2010 the entire management was arrested,  accused of several serious crimes (corruption, threats, conspiracy to fraud against the state,..).
What had appeared for a decade a shining model of sustainable progress and tourism,  a modern vision of  public management, a genial creation of prosperity showed its miserable failure. The truth, cleverly concealed behind a fake glitter of gold,  was finally clear to everybody.

What to do now?

-) Cinque Terre will survive without Bonanini; they were here well before him and they will remain well after him.
-) We need a better government (not an hard stuff if you’ve in mind Mr. Berlusconi ahahahah I start laughing before you do..) and fortunately we have a new one in Riomaggiore. Now we need everybody to help her in the difficul re-construction.
-) WE NEED ALL OF YOU FOLKS.. we’ll do our best to give people the best hospitality we can.
-) We need Mr. Rick Steves to still spend his beautiful words for us, if he still believe that we deserve them…and it seems so..

Quoting Rick Steves from his FB note: http://www.facebook.com/notes/rick-steves/the-cinque-terre-national-parkin-disarray/10150183680359702

The park was run by its president, Franco Bonanini, a powerful man — nicknamed “The Pharaoh” for his grandiose visions. In a personal visit a couple years ago, he conned me into thinking he really was a visionary committed to the region and its precious park.

But Bonanini created a medieval-style system of favorites and enemies, with the help of Riomaggiore’s mayor, and others. Starting and stopping construction projects, funneling money here and there, and extorting people to preserve their power, this cabal derailed the park vision. In 2011 they were removed from power, but the damage had been done. The good ideas of the park (info offices, baggage deposits, mountain-bike opportunities, little museums, elevators for the infirm, and even maintenance of the trails) have been scuttled.

Today, Bonanini is out of power, and the park’s run by a man from the central government whose vision for a fix, it seems, is to run the park as a business. But a park is a park, not a business.

What does all this mean to the visitor? Not much. The Cinque Terre is still my favorite stretch of Mediterranean coastline. The people are endearing. The food, culture, and nature are uniquely enjoyable. I just thrill at the thought of people working together for a grand and noble vision that helps a community’s economy by wisely treating a park as a park, rather than making a park a business. And so far, the Cinque Terre has failed in that regard.