The Costa Concordia Cruise liner ran aground on a sand bar near the Island “Isola del Giglio: off the west coast of Italy, killing six and endangering 3,000 passengers and a crew of 1,000. Several hundred remain on the aground, but severely listing boat. Several were injured during the rescue. For more information see this article by CNN
While looking for news about the boat, we ran across this promo for the Concordia in Costa’s US website. Next, you may find this description of the rescue posted on the Costa UK website to be of interest.
From Costa Cruises
Saturday, January 14th
“Time 5.00 am
It is a tragedy that deeply affects our company. Our first thoughts go to the victims and we would like to express our condolences and our closeness to their families and friends. In this moment all our efforts are focused on the completion of the last emergency operations, besides providing assistance to the guests and the crew who were onboard in order to have them going back home as soon as possible. The emergency procedures started promptly to evacuate the ship. The slope, gradually taken over by the ship, made the evacuation extremely difficult. We would like to express our profound gratitude to the Coast Guard and all the forces co-ordinated by the Coast Guard, including the authorities and citizens of the island “Isola del Giglio”, who have been involved in the rescue and assistance to guests and crew members. The company will fully co-operate with the relevant Authorities in order to determine the causes of what happened.”
“Time 1.00 am
Costa Cruises confirms the evacuation of about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members on board of the Costa Concordia. An incident occured near the island ‘Isola del Giglio’ of the coast of Italy. The evacuation started promptly, but the position of the ship has worsened, making it more complicated to complete the last part of the evacuation. At this moment, the cause of the incident cannot yet be confirmed. The Company is currently working with the highest commitment to provide all the needed assistance. The Costa Concordia was sailing across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia with scheduled calls to Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari and Palermo. About 1.000 passengers of Italian nationality were onboard, as well as more of 500 Germans, about 160 French and about 1.000 crew members. ”
“The Guests had to embark today in Savona and in subsequent ports will be contacted directly by Costa Cruises.”
Seemingly unending rains have descended on parts of Europe, with France and Italy being especially hard hit. Many rivers are nearing flood stage and the problem has closed several noted attractions including Pompeii in southern Italy near Naples. Read this account of the action from Euronews for more details. Also, see this article by Reuters for more information on the rains in France.
Travelers in southern France, Italy or northern Spain should exercise extreme caution if visiting the affected areas. If possible, avoid driving in the areas of these countries having problems with flooding. If you are forced to navigate these areas, inquire locally for advice.
Italy’s embattled Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, survived a no-confidence vote in the Italian Parliament today. Just a few day’s ago it looked certain that he would lose this vote and that his government would be dissolved and elections held. However, the vote supported his continuing in office and this enraged many of the citizens of Italy, particularly those in their twenties.
In Rome, dissatisfaction with the result of the vote lead to rioting, which was focused in the areas popular with tourists. Other demonstrations were held in Milan, Palermo, Genoa and in other locations around the country. It is unclear at this time whether the demonstrations were one-time events of if they will continue over the next few weeks. See this AFP article at Yahoo news for an excellent recap of the situation.
Travelers planning on visiting Rome or other cities in Italy over the next week or two should pay close attention to this situation and check local news sources in Italy for more information about the latest developments.
Today Rome experienced a rare snowfall that closed the Coliseum and a local airport. Although the amount of snow was minor, more may fall in the next 24 to 36 hours. See this article from Bloomberg in Business Week for more details.
We’ve just published our new, Rome Guide and hope you like it. We have new photographs, new attractions, new maps and a new design.
We have provided several themes for exploring the Eternal City that include: Ancient Rome, Rome’s Glorious Piazzas, Rome’s Museums, Rome’s Churches, Rome’s Vatican City, Touring Tactics, Shopping and DayTrips.
To make it easier for those of you who want to learn more about specific attractions, we have created an index to all of the attractions that we cover in Rome.
For the most popular attractions we have created detailed coverage in the form of one-page, illustrated guides that provide additional information on the spectacular sights at the locations in this category. Take our new Rome Guide for a spin, we think you will find it helpful in planning your trip to Rome.
After I wrote our brief blog on yesterday’s destructive earthquake in Italy, I continued to scan the news reporting the loss of life and the incredible devastation of many towns in the Abruzzo region of the country. In addition, I noticed that the Baths of Caracalla in Rome suffered modest damage from the temblor. In turn, this started me thinking about how fragile we and our heritage can be when faced with natural or man-made disasters, or even with the vagaries of everyday life.
For some reason we take it for granted that both we and the attractions we want to see will be here in the future when we have the time and money to see them. If history teaches us anything, it is that there is no time like the present to realize your dreams and take those journeys.
In the course of your life, you might take thirty vacations that involve travel. Noodle on that for a minute – let’s find a way to make it real.
Imagine that you put thirty golf balls in a jar and have taken one out every time you went on vacation. How many golf balls are still in your jar? If you are like most people, there are a bunch of balls in the jar, waiting for you to find the time to see the places you have always dreamed about visiting. Well, the balls won’t take themselves out of the jar and no one except you can plan that vacation. So, get started!
The other side of the equation is your belief that the things you want to see will be there when you find time to visit. Once again, history has a message for us. Many of the world’s prominent antiquities no longer exist (you know, those shows we keep watching on the Discovery Channel). Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Great Pyramid of Giza still exists. We still are blessed with many of the wonders of the medieval world, but who knows how long before an earthquake or other calamity damages one or more of these icons?
Living in a world of “would’a”, “could’a”, “should’a” isn’t very satisfying and knowing that you could have seen one of the wonders of the planet, if you had just made the effort, won’t make you feel any better about missing it. So, just do it! Make those reservations, book that vacation and get on the road with your life’s list. Tomorrow is promised to no one – nor is it promised to our heritage sites.
The small city of L’Aquila, about 60 miles/90 km east by northeast of Rome, was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in the early morning hours on Monday. It was reported that at least twenty people have died and thousands of houses have collapsed in the town, which is located in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Although Rome was rocked by the Quake, no damage was reported. For more information see this article by the BBC.
Travelers should avoid the area damaged by the quake for the next several weeks.
The first new bridge crossing the Grand Canal in 70 years is under construction. The unamed 180 foot long structure conncects the city’s train station on the north side of the Grand Canal with the Piazzale Roma car park on the south bank of the Grand Canal. The construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Major sections of the bridge were floated up the Grand Canal to the location of the new bridge. Yahoo News has more information.
Our Venice map shows the location of the new bridge. Use the satellite image option for more detail.