GIGLIO PORTO, Italy — The curvy granite rocks of the Tuscan island of Giglio lay bare in the winter sun, no longer hidden by the ominous, stricken cruise liner that ran aground in the turquoise waters of this marine sanctuary ten years ago.
Few of the 500-odd residents of the fishermen’s village will ever forget the freezing night of Jan. 13, 2012, when the Costa Concordia shipwrecked, killing 32 people and upending life on the island for years.
“Every one of us here has a tragic memory from then,” said Mario Pellegrini, 59, who was deputy mayor in 2012 and was the first civilian to climb onto the cruiser after it struck the rocks near the lighthouses at the port entrance.
The hospitality of the tight-knit community of islanders kicked in, at first to give basic assistance to the 4,229 passengers and crew members who had to be evacuated from a tilting vessel as high as a skyscraper. In no time, Giglio residents hosted thousands of journalists, law enforcement officers and rescue experts who descended on the port. In the months to come, salvage teams set up camp in the picturesque harbor to work on safely removing the ship, an operation that took more than two years to complete.