TWO Victorian women have been seriously hurt in a rockfall while on a coastal walk in north-west Italy.
The women and two friends, all aged in their 50s and 60s, were travelling with a group of tourists along the steep path known as The Way of Love on the Cinque Terre national park when about three cubic metres of rock rained down from cliffs, at 10.15am local time on Monday.
Australians injured in landslide
Four Australians have been injured at the famous Cinque Terre tourist site in northern Italy, after rocks fell from on overhang along the cliff hiking trail.
The most seriously injured was Judy Greig, 61, a program administrative officer at RMIT, in Italy on long-service leave.
Ms Greig was hit by rocks and pushed off the side of the walking track. She had to be rescued by helicopter.
''I'm alive by a miracle,'' she is believed to have told rescuers, ''it was a nightmare.''
Ms Greig suffered serious head injuries, broken ankles and ribs. Her spleen was removed and her chest was reportedly crushed by a falling rock. However, doctors at San Martino Hospital in Genoa, where Ms Greig is in the intensive care unit, said they were ''cautiously optimistic'' about her condition.
A second Australian woman broke her pelvis and legs and has a head wound, but doctors said her condition was satisfactory. The other two Australian women had light bruises.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said the Australian consul-general in Milan had helped contact families and navigate the local health system.
Ms Greig's family declined to comment yesterday, as did colleagues at RMIT where she is among the university's longest-serving permanent staff, having worked there since 1970.
In Melbourne, Cat Harding, 36, received an email from her mother who had completed the same section a day earlier
Ms Harding said she did the walk herself a few years ago and the terrain was not demanding.
''It doesn't feel dangerous when you walk it, not even slightly,'' Ms Harding said.
I'm alive by a miracle ... it was a nightmare.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of five cliff-side towns linked by a series of trails was badly damaged by floods in October last year.
The park's director, Patrick Scarpellini, told Italian news agency ANSA he wondered what would have happened had the accident occurred at noon when the trail was crowded.
''The rock fell off somewhere high on the wall and bounced up before falling on the path,'' Mr Scarpellini said.
''This incident happened in the absence of rain. We wonder what will happen now that the autumn rains resume.''