Vernazza, Italy, 1967
A friend living in Italy found the above postcard in a flea market. It is a used card dated 22 August 1967 and sent from Vernazza. The identifier at the lower left on the reverse is 10889 Ed M. Ginocchio, La Spezia, printed by Rotalcolor. The logos on the reverse show two sea horses with the initials M.G.S. between the tails, a world globe is featured at the top of the card also. The panorama view is of the perched village of Vernazza one of the five towns making up the Cinque Terre region in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, in northwestern Italy.
The two stamps on the postcard are from the 1960s also and show sculpture profiles.
Vernazza was a fortified town as early as 1080. The Italian noble family of Obertenghi used it as their maritime base. Likely a departure point for naval forces in defense of pirates the tower on the point in the center of card is part of Doria Castle built in the 1400s. The other tall structure seen at the right in the photograph is the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia, first mentioned in 1318 but because of the materials and mode of construction it is thought the church was built probably some time in the 12th century. It has been modified, expanded and renovated several times. In the 16th or 17th century the octagonal bell tower was erected.
Vernazza provided a port, fleet, and soldiers in Genova’s conquest of Liguiria. In the 1200s almost 90% of the most powerful families in Vernazza had pledged allegiance to the republic of Genova.
Trivia: A fortifying wall was erected in the 15th century as protection against repeated pirate raids. The main product of Vernazza has been wine. In the 19th century new terraces were added to the hillsides to increase the growing area. UNESCO recognized the Cinque Terre as a World Heritage Site in 1999. In October 2011 flooding and mudslides as a result of torrential rains buried the town in over 13 ft or 4 m of mud and debris and caused more than 100 million euro damage. The town remained in a state of emergency for many months. Tourism is the main source of revenue today although fishing, wine, and olive oil are still being produced.
The postcard came with a letter in an envelope that had three beautiful new Italian stamps and one fun stamp of a Fiat 500 "one of the symbols of Italy, just like pizza and the Colosseum in Rome." As always, thanks to my friend for sending the card and the stamps.
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