The wonderful lemon festival that takes place every year in Monterosso in the Cinque Terre has been pushed back a week due to bad weather, which is no surprise, because the weather has been lousy all spring. Scheduled for yesterday, the new date is Sunday May 26th.
It has been the rainiest spring on record in all of Italy in many decades, causing mudslides and floods across the peninsula. Liguria has at least been spared any tragic events like 2 years ago, but the ground is so saturated that it is affecting agriculture adversely. The weather has been so bad, in fact, that there have been some alarming anecdotes about the Cinque Terre lemon groves.
I have heard two particular stories. In one, the lemons on the trees of entire groves have collected mold and rotted on the trees. In another, perhaps more troublesome, the leaves of lemon trees are falling straight off their branches, a sign that bodes very badly for any future fruit growth.
Hopefully these are just stories from people who want to exaggerate a bad situation. In any event, the lemon festival will be up and running next weekend, and I can personally attest that despite the stories I’ve just cited, there are and will be lemons, lemon pies, lemon cakes, lemon extracts, and limoncino to beat hell along the refurbished streets of Monterosso. So if you have the chance, stop by!