If you happen to arrive by boat in Cinque Terre, it is best to dock in Vernazza! This is the village with the largest port! And with a few breathtaking panoramic views… Did I catch your attention? It’s time for a new portion of “The colors of Liguria”!
Where is located Vernazza?
Vernazza is a village number four, located just after Corniglia. The distance between the two by car is around 6 km, because the road passes inland and is dotted with many bends. The walking route is almost half shorter, around 3.5 km! Its location on the steep slopes suggests that there are ups and downs in labyrinths of streets…
Arrival in the village
As I have already mentioned, we didn’t visit the villages in the order in which I present them to you. Vernazza was the place where our tour in Cinque Terre started! The choice fell on him because it takes probably the most time to visit. Yeah, the station is centrally located and you can quickly get to the center, but to visit the four impressive views we need more time… The train stops just above the main street Via Roma, only 300 meters from the port. But… we take the opposite direction!
View №1 – from via Brigate Partigiane
The first view over Vernazza is the least popular! There aren’t tourists, almost no people in this direction. We pass by only a several local farmers… We take the opposite direction of the port, along the Strada Provinciale, and after a 100-meter climb we turn left along via Brigate Partigiane. Somewhere here we are already high enough to see the terraces on the roofs of the houses opposite. And on the right there is a house with internal stairs that lead to the upper street. We have been wondering for a long time… should we risk climbing on them… if we climb and the door is closed? We decide that the risk isn’t exemplary and continue on the road… Well, the door was open, so you can try to go through them. 😀
Our place is at the next right turn, just below an old transmission tower! There are two benches so we can still catch our breath after the climb… From HERE… pleasure! The beautiful bay of Vernazza can be seen above the farmyards below us. On the right, the Ligurian coast stretches and a small part of Monterosso, on the left you can see part of the blue path and the road coming from Corniglia (our next point), and behind us are the many hills inside… And a beautiful hill, on which the terraced plantations look perfect. Morning idyll!
View №2 – Sentiero Azzuro from Corniglia
I gave you a little hint about the second view… Yeah, it’s from the path connecting the five villages – Sentiero Azzuro. It is revealed on the route from Corniglia to Vernazza, before the descent to the houses. To get there we return the same way to the station, but just before it we take the steps on the left. It’s hard to orient you exactly, but we go up and slightly to the left all the time. Around us are views over the rooftops and the opposite hill, on which is located the church of Chiesa di San Francesco and the town hall.
We follow as a landmark Ristorante La Torre, but the actual desired point is located just before it. There is a defensive tower left over from the former fortifications of the city and just above it is the small photo place (HERE)! There are already significantly more people here and sometimes you have to wait for a photo. But it’s worth it! One of the most recognizable panoramic views in Cinque Terre!
View №3 – Doria Castle
Another captivating view awaits us from the medieval castle Doria! But… to get there we will have to go through a real maze of narrow streets and steps. The good thing is that most are downhill! In the past, Vernazza was the most prosperous and rich village of the five, as evidenced by the many beautiful arches.
The castle is also a symbol of the prosperity of the village, built in the 11th century and served as a defensive fortification. It rises on the rock next to the port and is the best place to enjoy the view over Vernazza! The entrance fee is 1.50 euros and isn’t included in the Cinque Terre card. From here you can look over the houses descending inland, the rocky shores and the crashing waves and of course … the heart of Vernazza – the port and Marconi square (Piazza Marconi)!
The Port and Piazza Marconi
Our next stop is on the main square by the shore – the gossip place of Vernazza! Several shady restaurants, small shops under the arches of buildings and colorful umbrellas, protecting tourists from the laundry stretched over their heads… Typical view of the village!
The prosperity of Vernazza has left another mark, namely the Parish church of Santa Margarita d’Antiochia in the corner of the square. It was built in 1318 in Ligurian Gothic style, and the 40 m high bell tower has the shape of an octagon!
Just below Piazza Marconi is the small sandy beach of Vernazza! Apart from the tourists, you can also see a few boats, old fishing nets and water polo doors on it! The local water polo team was among the best in the 70’s! Tourists often see water polo matches, and the stadium is positioned very close to the breakwater we are about to pass.
From the edge of the pier
Another point of view… bonus to the other four views. It is worth walking the distance to the end of the wharf and sitting for seconds… Let’s enjoy the noise of the waves and their rumble at the meeting with the bottom of the neatly arranged boats… See also the houses… here they are significantly higher and wider than the other places in Cinque Terre.
On the main street Via Roma
I wonder… first to show you the street or skip to the most delicious ice cream in Cinque Terre? Okay… let’s take a look at the street first and let the saliva flow nicely when we think of a combination of gelato stracciatella and mango… The main street isn’t very long, but there are plenty of small souvenir shops and all sorts of interesting things! Even if you don’t take anything, it’s worth stopping at one of them and looking at their wide range!
The breath of freshly washed clothes makes us look up! Green shutters on the windows, colorful facades and many hanging clothes: D And the fallen plaster in many places makes an impression too… In 2011, Vernazza was hit by a severe flood and most of its damage is still visible today, despite efforts to rebuild the village. At the end of the street there are photos to remind of the terrible disaster… We can not miss the small crack in the rock under the houses, which leads to a hidden rocky beach!
The most delicious ice cream in Vernazza
It’s finally time for a slight coolness! A small gelateria on Via Roma is the perfect place – Gelateria Vernazza. Probably the most delicious Gelato in Italy I’ve ever tasted (then in San Gimignano)! Of course, it’s impossible to take a decent picture while it melts in seconds and runs down your hand!
Somewhere right around the Gelateria, we sneak into the streets behind via Roma to escape the hustle and bustle of the crowd. Fabulous narrow corridors strewn with flowers around the entrances. In several places we come across interesting mosaics and photos by the doors. The road passes right around the church of Santa Margarita d’Antiochia and continues up the slope. From here, the Blue Trail Sentiero Azzuro starts and continues to Monterosso.
View №4 – Sentiero Azzuro to Monterosso
The last view is the most impressive! It is revealed on the path to Monterosso and deserves to be included in every visit to Vernazza. But… from the very beginning there is a checkpoint that monitors the passes of tourists on the road between the villages. Cinque Terre Card allows us to walk on the paths and we need to get to the desired place. After 100, 200 m follows a right turn, which allows for a great view of the port, the castle and the houses of Vernazza – HERE. A little further in there is another place, which in my opinion reveals an even better view – HERE, but even if you don’t get to it, the first is enough.
Here we are already in front of the bay of the village! Locked between the seafront port, the Parish church and the colorful houses of the locals. And above them, as a protector of Vernazza, rises the castle Doria! Yep… it’s beautiful! One of the most beautiful views in Cinque Terre! Now you understand why Vernazza is among the most beautiful villages in Italy!