12 things to do in Vernazza, Italy

Map of Vernazza in Russian. Vernazza, cinque terre, italy

Vernazza from A to Z: hotels, beaches, sea, entertainment and excursions. Vivid photos and videos. Tourist reviews about Vernazza.

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They say Vernazza is the most beautiful city of Cinque Terre. In fact, it’s hard to name the most beautiful part of this blessed region of Liguria: everything is enchanting here – the azure color of the sea, the formidable towering cliffs and the bright houses, which, like rags on a blanket, paint this beautiful region in splashing colors.

Cinque Terre National Park

About ten kilometers of the coast is occupied by the reserve of “Five Lands”, so “Cinque Terre” translates from Italian. Formidable rocky shores, rough sea, mountains covered with vineyards, orange and olive groves, picturesque beaches, mostly stony, but there are sandy ones too. Up until the beginning of the last century, these places were hard to reach for travelers. Even today, it seems that the local population lives as it did in the Middle Ages. Narrow and tall houses perched on the cliffs are painted in bright colors. Dried laundry hung right on the windows adds to the dwellings’ tranquility and peacefulness.

Savona’s Cuisine and Restaurants

For a light snack in Savona (as elsewhere in Liguria), the farinata is a must. Ligurians prefer farinata, sliced and wrapped in pita (butter, or rather, bread bread). For tourists and especially hungry locals there is a “sandwich” version of farinata – with wrapped sausage, rosemary and onions. It is customary to wash down the meal with the local white, slightly tart wine. Among the best places to taste Savonian farinata and wine is an old restaurant with the logical name Vino e Farinata, located in the historic center of the city, on Via Pia.

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5 things to do in Savona

  1. See the Ligurian coast from the heights of the Priamar fortress.
  2. Taste a farinata accompanied by tart white wine.
  3. Admire Rococo fantasies in the Chapel of Nostra Senhora della Misericordia.
  4. See the majolica collection in the Municipal Museum of History and Archaeology.
  5. Enjoy the Mediterranean sun on the beaches of Fornace or Natarella in the shade of the Blue Flag.

Park infrastructure

The park consists of five tiny towns connected by hundreds of paths and a railroad that runs mostly through tunnels in the rocks. “Love Road,” is the name of the largest walkway along the coast. Walking along it, tourists can fully enjoy the magnificent pictures of unspoiled nature, the noise of the surf, clean air. Listen to the lyrical melodies performed by local musicians, enjoy the taste of white wine in the outdoor cafes and restaurants, taste the pasta and seafood prepared right in front of the visitors.

How to get to Cinque Terre?

One of the most convenient means of transportation is the railroad. Every hour, regional trains from Genoa to Rome take tourists to the towns of Cinque Terre.

You can also get to the national park through La Spezia, or other nearby towns with a convenient mode of transport (train, boat, camper, car).

You may leave your vehicle in the parking lot in La Spezia, Levanto or Riomaggiore, as cars are not allowed access to the main areas of Cinque Terre.

Vernazza

The calling card of Cinque Terre is the town of Vernazza. Once upon a time it consisted of two parts: a peasant village on the hills and a fishing village by the sea. Anchovies, caught here in a special way and cooked according to ancient recipes, are famous all over the world. But the main attraction of these places is not the cuisine, although gourmets will appreciate the efforts of local cooks.

Vernazza is a very ancient town. The first settlers from Greece came here around the VII century. Two or three centuries later, this area was marked by economic growth, largely due to its inaccessibility, both from the land and from the sea. And the Doria family who then ruled the coast.

Geography and climate

Vernazza is located on the Ligurian coast between Genoa and Pisa. It is part of the Cinque Terre Natural Park and cultural landscape which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Cinque Terre, nestled on the Ligurian coast, is a charming postcard of bright houses, rocky beaches and quiet paths among terraces covered in vineyards, olive trees and gardens. Vernazza is perhaps the most beautiful place in Liguria.

Panorama of the town and the bay

Attractions

A part of the village and a medieval fortress are located on a rock that protrudes into the sea. The Doria Castle and the nearby Belforte Tower were built in the XI century. The ancient building is now in excellent condition. From its observation deck offers an amazing view of the sea and coast. This is how the guards watched for approaching pirate ships and protected their homes from robbery.

The outstanding landmark of the village is the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch. It was erected in XI or XII century, scientists do not determine exactly. It has been repeatedly reconstructed and modified, and in 1751 it acquired its original Romanesque architectural style. The altar and some of the elements inside are in their original form. The foundations of the church are washed by the waves, already calm thanks to the natural breakwater that protects the port of Vernazza from the unpredictable sea.

The church of St. Francis, built in the XVII century, the clock tower, built in the XVI century and the remains of the older walls, serving simply as an architectural monument, stand out nearby. In the area there are many places of great religious importance to the indigenous population.

Of particular note is the 16th century Shrine of the Black Madonna, or the Cathedral of Reggio, as it is also known. It contains an image of the face of the Black Madonna. The locals revere it sacredly. A picturesque square with amazing fountains, surrounded by evergreen cypresses, adorns the cathedral.

Il Castello Doria

Built in the 11th century on the top of a promontory surrounded on almost all sides by the sea, the fortress was part of the city’s defensive structure against Saracen raids. The irregular-shaped fortifications (inspired by the rocks on which it stood) were flanked by a cylindrical tower (Belforte), restored in the 20th century (damaged during the Second World War) and placed on a quadrangular platform. Today the fortress is a favorite place to visit in Vernazza, together with the bay and the promontory.

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Architecture

Vernazza is a magnificent architectural monument, where landscapes of wild nature, medieval buildings and modern constructions are in harmony. Colorful three-, four-storey houses with colorful roofs, pressed tightly together. Tall windows with wooden shutters complement the overall picture wonderfully.

It is as if the buildings are growing up, not wide. The settlement is immersed in greenery, but no front gardens. Flowers in pots decorate all the empty areas of the sidewalks, wherever space allows. There are no cars here, and not just because of the lack of space. In the Cinque Terre Nature Reserve, this mode of transport is forbidden. Maybe that’s why this part of Liguria has the cleanest air on the entire Mediterranean coast.

The streets are so narrow, sometimes no more than two meters wide, that a company of three people can not pass everywhere. Most are just steps leading up the mountain, or down to the port, where the central square of Rocky Village, or Rocky Village, as tourists call it, is located.

Here, across from St. Margaret’s Church, is an ancient building with graceful narrow galleries. Since ancient times it has been the meeting place of the villagers. Vernazza is now a major tourist center with a developed entertainment industry. On the 20th of July every year the traditional festival of Santa Margherita di Antiochia takes place. On this day there are noisy folk festivals, and in the evening the obligatory grandiose fireworks display.

Vernazza attractions and attractions

The main attraction of Vernazza is the landscape, the best of which can be seen from the footpaths along the sea, which run through all the villages of Cinque Terre. But in Vernazza itself there is also much to see. For example, the church of St. Margaret of Antioch of the 11th and 12th centuries. Built in the Romanesque style, it was rebuilt in the Baroque tradition in 1750, and in 1970 after a major reconstruction it returned to its almost original appearance. Opposite the temple stands the Palace with galleries (not artistic, but, so to speak, architectural elements). It is a favorite meeting place of the townspeople.

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The Belforte Tower is considered a symbol of the village, its image is printed on literally every postcard and magnet.

The 17th-century church of St Francis, with its ancient walls and 16th-century tower, is also worth a visit. Even more ancient sites in Vernazza are the 11th century Belforte Tower and Doria Castle. From here you can enjoy an amazing panorama of the city and the surrounding area for only 2 EUR. The tower of the castle is considered a symbol of the village, its image is printed literally on every postcard and magnet.

Finally, the Cathedral of the Black Madonna (Reggio), built in the 11th century. It houses a revered image of the face of the Black Madonna.

The prices on the page are for November 2020.

Vernazza is a small town in the Italian province of Spezia, in the region of Liguria, one of the five constituent parts of the Cinque Terre National Park. The picturesque rocks surrounding a small bay, the colorful houses huddled up against each other on the very beach, the calm, even peaceful atmosphere of this place will not leave indifferent any tourist. Many who have been here claim that Vernazza is the very romantic, bright and cheerful Italy they were dreaming to see.

The settlement in the place of today’s Vernizza emerged back in the times of the Roman Empire, and until the end of the XIII century was jointly owned by three powerful and noble families. In the streets of Vernazza, there are many beautiful examples of ancient and modern architecture, which are still preserved today. But this juxtaposition does not ruin the overall integrity and harmony, it only enhances the impression.

Vernazza is not only the most beautiful, but also the quietest town in Cinque Terre. Since Vernazza is a part of the national park, cars are forbidden. This ban has a beneficial effect on the local ecology – it is hard to find cleaner air anywhere in Italy.

Romance at night

Very romantic look Rocky Village at sunset. The sun goes down in the sea, coloring the sky in different shades, the wind dies down, the trees fade. The pier lights come on, the colorful houses are transformed by bright illumination, the black volcanic rock cliffs darken even more, and the dense forest is filled with magical figures created by light and shadow. All this fabulous splendor is reflected in the sea. At night, under the starry sky, Rocky Village is simply enchanting, leaving an unforgettable experience.

Getting to Rocky Village is easy. Either by sea or by rail from any major nearby town. From the Vernazza station you can get there on foot along well-maintained paths, while admiring the beauties of nature and breathing in the fresh air.

Church of Santa Margherita (La Chiesa Santa Margherita di Antiochia)

Legend has it that a box containing the bones of St. Margaret’s finger was once found in the sea. It was lost in a storm and was found again in 1318 in the same place. It was decided to build a church here dedicated to this saint. Rebuilt and enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries, its original features can still be seen, especially after the restoration work of the mid-20th century. At the church rises a beautiful octagonal bell tower with three naves and columns made of black stone quarried in the Mesco caves. Also worth seeing is the Gothic chapel from the 15th century, a wooden crucifix by Anton Maria Marigliano and two paintings from the 17th century.

Colorful Manarola. (Italy)

As for me, such a beautiful and cozy town evokes a special delight – an irresistible desire to get there, walk the narrow streets, visit a little cafe and try a cup of coffee, feel the warm sun on your face, just strolling lazily, enjoying life unhurriedly …

Manarola is a very small town in northern Italy in a place called Liguria. The main trade here is fishing. The city is situated on a rock that overhangs the wild coast of the Ligurian Sea. By right, Manarola is one of the 5 cities that make up the Italian Riviera, or Cinque Terre. The Riviera towns of Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Corniglia are connected by a walkway. This path is the main attraction, sometimes called the “path of love” – Via dell’Amore.

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Such a romantic name did not appear by accident. Legend has it that in times of great drought, many residents of Manarola and neighboring Riomaggiore were forced to use the only remaining spring. This was the cause of disputes and quarrels. The young men of Manarola would raid the stream, the young men of Riomaggiore bravely defended it. The animosity between neighbors grew deeper and deeper. But, as in the immortal story of Romeo and Juliet, one day the creek joined a pair of feuding settlements when a young man from Manarola and a young girl from Riomaggiore met and fell in love. The young people began to meet in secret, and after a while it was discovered that the girl had conceived a child.

When her parents learned of the girl’s new condition, they began to ask about the father of the unborn child. The girl was frightened; she ran away from her parents toward Manarola, shouting the lover’s name. Her beloved heard her voice and ran toward her. The couple in love met in the middle, just between my villages, but tragedy struck – they slipped on the rocks and fell into the sea. The bodies of the deceased lovers were swept to the opposite shores of the villages, and when people saw them, they were ashamed of their hatred and connected the settlements by a picturesque path. There was a small but touching monument erected at the site of the tragic accident.

Manarola is old and one of the smallest and oldest towns in the famous Five. In the heart of the city is the church of San Lorenzo, which was built in 1338. In the West of the city and there is a small harbor with a parking lot for boats, in the East there is a square where the locals often gather

The east has a plaza where locals often gather to discuss important issues. As in many other places in Italy, in this part of the country you will see vineyards growing almost everywhere – the future of excellent Italian wine! As far back as the Roman Empire, the local Sciacchetrà wine was valued for its great taste. In general, winemaking is traditionally the main craft here, not to mention fishing of course.

Despite the fact that the town has no beach at all, it is rightly considered a great place for diving. Here you can enjoy exploring the rock clefts and caves. To the water leads specially built stairs.

Undoubtedly, the main feature of the town and its highlight is the colorful and picturesque houses, which are located above the gorge, on the slopes of the cliff. These wonderful houses are located on the slopes of the rocky coast of the Ligurian Sea. Like a colorful building kit, the colorful squares are a delight to the eye and attract tourists to take a million pictures! The coast has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK. It is the first Natural World Heritage Site in the country.

Testimonial: Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) – Beloved Vernazza: the magical city of Five Earths

I began my story about the Five Terraces Nature Reserve with reviews of the towns of Monterosso al Mare and Corniglia. In the same text I would like to tell you about Vernazza, my favorite part of Cinque Terre.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Before I go directly to the description of the town itself, I would like to make a short introduction. The Five Earths Reserve was one of my main “tourist” desires for my trip to Italy. I lived in Genoa; it’s a short walk from Genoa to the Five Terrains; it’s the same region, Liguria. I got to the reserve by Trenitalia trains. I started my journey from the town of Monterosso, and then I moved from it in the direction of La Spezia, and I returned to Genoa from the town of Riomaggiore. This is to say that in this direction, Vernazza becomes the second city of the Five Terrains that you will visit.

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Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

I wrote in my review of Monterosso that although I liked everything in the Piatizeme, it was Monterosso al mare that caused me less positive emotions than the other cities in the reserve. I was not as impressed with Monterosso as I wanted to be. Because of this, I was a little upset at the beginning of the sightseeing day, and then I came to Vernazza. And that’s when my mood completely changed! Vernazza is an incredibly magical city. Very bright, colorful, atmospheric and memorable. Therefore this review will be imbued with love).

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

My friend, who lives in Genoa, once told me that the train is the only way to get to Vernazza, because even cars are not allowed in this reserve. But I have no official confirmation of this.

I bought the ticket for Monterosso-Vernazza directly at Monterosso station, and I paid about 2.5 euros for it. The way from Monterosso to Vernazza is 3 minutes at the most.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

In general it’s easy, understandable and convenient to travel by train in Italy, but there are two things: during low season ticket prices are a little bit cheaper – this is one, because of quarantine train schedule was changed a lot, i.e. the trains were cut down. It’s not quite clear when this will get better; but keep in mind that there is a possibility that after the quarantine in Italy the trains won’t run as often as before. So it’s best to plan your sightseeing day in advance so you don’t have to waste time directly in the reserve itself.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Why did I like Vernazza more than the other cities?

Before my trip to the Five Earths, I looked at photos of this reserve on the web. The pictures were very bright and colorful; it so happened that these pictures on the Internet that I found before the trip seemed to me brighter than the first city, Monterosso. And Vernazza fully met my expectations in terms of brightness and color. I will show in this review which buildings and landscapes in Vernazza I liked the most.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

First, a couple of tourist questions.

– Is it possible to visit all five cities of the Five Lands in one day? – I would say you can, but only if you choose the first train there and the last train back.

– How much time should you allocate roughly to Vernazza? – I spent about an hour and a half here – not by choice, but because of the train schedule. In general, one hour was enough for me personally in Vernazza, but keep in mind that I didn’t buy anything in the stores and didn’t stop in cafes either.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

The city, of course, is small – some would not even call it a city, rather a “village”. It is quite a touristy place, there are many souvenir shops, prices are hellish, so I would not advise to buy souvenirs here. Even in Genoa, you can find souvenirs cheaper, and, since the Five Earths and Genoa – neighbors, in Genoa you can easily get crafts with the cities of the Five Earths). Only cheaper than in the reserve itself.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Italian streets in Vernazza are presented in all their glory: colorful houses, pastel colors, laundry hanging on the balcony, which at the same time washes the wall, cozy, cute shops with fruit and limoncello. A very atmospheric place!

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

To get to Cornilla, you have to go uphill. You can go crazy if you haven’t exercised in a hundred years). There is no problem with Vernazza. The city is pretty flat, it’s easy and easy to walk around.

I would like to show you some pictures of souvenirs. I myself did not buy anything just because of the price, although I even liked some of them:

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Beautiful cups and mugs, there are many Italian products, there is something from China. But I liked the fact that not every souvenir here is from China, but only some of it, and there’s Italian production too. That’s what I would really like to support.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Literally at every turn in Vernazza are cafes and restaurants. One cafe (I’ll show you on the pictures below) near the water I really liked, I even wanted to have a coffee there while waiting for the train, but they had no empty seats! All the tables outside were taken. I waited and waited for a seat on a bench nearby, but didn’t wait.

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Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

I also wanted to go to the ice cream store in the next picture, but I didn’t manage to get there either, and instead I tried some Italian ice cream in Cornilla. What, in fact, does it matter – it’s all the same. :) But there is a lot to choose from.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

In Vernazza there is an insanely beautiful church that I remembered as soon as I looked at it. The full name of the church is Santa Margherita d’Antiochia. You can see it in the next picture:

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

It’s not just the church itself that’s fascinating, but also the scenery around it. If you walk a little farther than I did, you will see an extraordinary combination of blue sky, sea, Italian colorful houses and this church. The scenery is one of the best.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

The church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia is one of the reasons why Vernazza is my favorite city of the Five Lands. And I also love nature, and it’s wonderful here – see for yourself:

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

The church is truly magical, you might say. Can I go inside? Of course you can! So I went inside. The decor is not as posh as in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Genoa, but in Santa Margherita d’Antiochia it’s very cozy, so it’s nice to be there:

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

There are no museums in Vernazza, as I understood, but you can explore the church, which is even better!

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Near the church I found an information tablet. The good thing is that this sign is there in principle, but the downside is this: the information is given only in Italian. I don’t speak Italian, so I didn’t understand it at all.)

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Another little observation: I tried to connect to the free Wi-Fi everywhere, but it didn’t work. There were some networks, but they either didn’t work, or you had to enter the phone number and wait for a message with a code, and my foreign number in Italy didn’t work. That’s too bad, because wi-fi wouldn’t hurt in Five Earths!

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Now I would like to share some more pictures:

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

This is the kind of beauty I found near the water:

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

And the main town square is also by the water. It’s a wonderful place to walk and relax. It’s clean, neat, the scenery is unbelievable, there’s nothing to complain about.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

If you have a desire, you can stay directly in Vernazza (or in any other town of Five Earths). There are hotels, and people just rent out rooms. For example, I found this ad while walking around the city:

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

And in the next picture you see the very café near the church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia that I wanted to go to. It is called Ananasso Bar. But, as you can see, the cafe is popular, so there are no empty seats). But the view from there is gorgeous, so keep this bar in mind – maybe you will be the one to visit it.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

And then I was walking along Vernazza and found this tunnel. Thought about crawling to the water, but decided not to do nonsense – sorry for my clothes.)

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

– And how is the weather? – Somebody will ask. – I was in Vernazza in early March. Usually they say that in March in Italy it’s still cool, but during my tour of the Five Terrains the sun was shining, it was quite warm outside – so warm that I even wanted an ice cream. I wore a light blouse and jeans, and my coat was with me, so I didn’t need it. Although I am never stopped by the weather when it comes to traveling.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

At the end of this review there is a VERY short video I made in Vernazza. Sometimes a video captures the atmosphere better than a picture.

Tour of Vernazza (Italy, La Spezia) photo

This is my review. Vernazza is the second city of the Five Terrains, if you go from Genoa to La Spezia. The city is insanely beautiful, atmospheric, cozy and memorable. Incredible architecture, amazing colors, bright atmosphere of Italy. Very memorable – and it is to Vernazza that I would like to return. Thank you for your attention & have a nice trip in Italy after the quarantine!

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