Corniglia is the most particular of the Cinque Terre. And for this reason perhaps also the most interesting, the one that maybe will stay in the head longer. Corniglia is also the less obvious one, the one that on a hasty day in the Cinque Terre you tend to avoid when you are aware that in the end the time to see them all is not enough. Yes, because Corniglia is also the most difficult to reach, the one where the train stops farthest from the "piazzetta", the one that to reach the center you have to climb that staircase that never ends, the one that doesn't even have a beach and indeed the sea sees it. with binoculars. Like her, there is in Liguria there Framura and we are that whoever loves one will also adore the other.
Lucky for her, however, because in the end, all of this helped Corniglia to truly remain the real thing. Corniglia is quintessential about what an ancient Ligurian village should be like. Color in abundance, houses perched on each other. Alleys, alleys, stairways. Vineyards, squares and dehors. Winters of long silences, humid summers full of maccaia.a.
Corniglia is the central village of the Cinque Terre, exactly halfway betweena MonterossoAndRiomaggiore, more precisely betweenVernazzaAndManarola. We like it very much and we don't want to hide it: scenically, Corniglia is majestic, stuck and almost staggering on top of this cliff almost 100 meters above the sea, severe and that seriously resembles an inaccessible eagle's nest.
Corniglia has no beach .. you hear people say. In fact, it does not even have a dock for boats. But then, if you look carefully, it turns out that this is only part of the truth. It is true that Corniglia is the only one of the Cinque Terre that does not live by the sea, it has never lived on fishing, but has tenaciously cultivated its garden, its fields, its infinite terraces. Even if, by digging by digging, it turns out that in reality one has to pass from Corniglia to meet one of the most beautiful beaches of the Cinque Terre: the beach of Guvano. Probably, indeed, the most beautiful. Like all things not to be missed, however, it is not easy to savor.
There Guvano beach in Corniglia in fact it can only be reached by sea, using one of the boats departing from the various countries. It may not be one of themost beautiful beaches in Liguria but we are close. It has fame, it evokes many memories: it was one of those hippy beaches that know so much about the 70s. Nudism, a tent, nights under the stars and swimming without a bathing suit. The old path to reach it unraveled about halfway between the connection between Vernazza and Corniglia (blue path). It passed beyond the tunnel of the disused railway and then descended for about twenty minutes to the coast. For the last, dangerous meters, it is necessary to use a fixed rope. Since about 2015, however, this route has not been indicated, nor reported, and almost everywhere not recommended even though many say it is still practicable, climbing over a gate and a fence.
The beach of Guvano is therefore, for the masses, only by sea and does not offer any service. In addition, sea erosion has complicated things by greatly reducing it by extension. In any case, another great idea to reach it is to rent a canoe or kayak. In any case, what matters is that the beach is beautiful, the colors are magical, the gravel resembles the best sand, the natural environment is unique ... and there is also a spring of fresh water to quench your thirst and have a drink. improvised shower.
The first is it Corniglia beach”, a short distance from the railway station, which however is not really anything of note and that the continuous erosion threatens to take away completely. It would definitely need to be better kept, and cleaned of what brings the undertow of the sea and even more from the old artifacts and ruins of a village (Villaggio Europa) that is no longer such and that are left abandoned to their fate.
The Corniglia beach, for those curious, can be reached by turning right as soon as you leave the station, following signs on the walls; it is a beach of stones, or rather boulders, where it is always difficult to enter the water. A shame because in the summer it would help a little to dilute the bathers scattered among the other beaches of the Cinque Terre.
Among the beaches of Corniglia there is one that is not a beach, as much as a cove, or rather a mooring for boats dug into the cliff, suitable for snorkelers and for those who just want to cool off in the water. This is the Marina of Corniglia . It is accessed by the usual serpentine staircase that descends from the town. It is worthwhile because in this port the color of the sea is superb.
Corniglia what to see
The great attraction of Corniglia is probably its staircase, the famous one Lardarina staircase . In our travels, we found one very similar to Santorini, in the famous stairway that from the old port climbs up to Fira, the capital of the most famous Greek island of all. The Corniglia staircase has something less than 400 steps, for 33 ramps that make up a magical zig zag, which gradually rises, increases in emotion.It connects the village to the railway station and to the beach and for the lazy, the overheated, or those with little time available it can be avoided thanks to the small bus that goes up and down from the center of Corniglia at each train stop, for less than a couple of Euro. In our own small way, we thank you. The little effort required to go up or down these steps removes the less determined, and preserves Corniglia in all its timeless isolation and without any desire to slide it..
Once you enter the maze of houses in Corniglia, there will be no better way to get to know him than to walk there main road . The historic center is minute and delightful, and even the entrance from the street caresses the town is inviting as never before. Everything is a desire to walk, a desire to reachthe main square: Largo Taragio . Here you will find bars and benches, and it is the privileged place to stop and breathe and understand what Corniglia actually is. Worthy of note is the historical monument to the fallen of 1926 but above all the delicate and austereo Oratory of the disciplined of Santa Caterina , of eighteenth-century origin. A true oasis of peace that is a prelude to the splendid panoramic terrace that opens up at the back of the building where you can spend hours shooting each view and properly testing the wide-angle lens of your mobile phone.
From Largo Taragio, then, it will be interesting to go down to that second beach we mentioned earlier. It is understood that it is thea Marina of Corniglia , a corner not to be missed that reminds you that yes, Corniglia will also be the only one in the Cinque Terre far from the sea, but that it cannot be renounced. And so the locals park their leudi here, their small fishing boats, and when the occasion permits, the waves are still plowed, which anchovies otherwise on the table whoever puts them?
Just outside the historic and medieval core of the historic center of Corniglia, then, we will have to appreciate the Church of San Pietro, in gothic style . It can be seen immediately appearing in the clearing where the shuttle bus from the station stops, past the minimarket and following a pedestrian alleyway,via Fieschi, in honor of an ancient and noble Genoese family. As always in the churches of the Cinque Terre, the central rose window is the architectural star of the situation: the interiors, however, are all to be appreciated and always allow a small moment of reflection and escape from the heat and the external sun.
Those who want to walk, or come here in the low season by car, we did it, can stop for a while along the road to Vernazza in the hamlet of San Bernardino , typically Ligurian not considered at all, and definitely one of those places where it would be nice to isolate yourself from the world and let go of the daily tensions, which these days we can well say that we have had enough.
Corniglia how to get there
As for all the other Cinque Terre, for get to Corniglia we can't get enough of recommending thetrain. Corniglia obviously does not have direct trains to the big cities, it is connected without changes only to Genoa and La Spezia. Often, it will be convenient to change trains to reach it faster, choosing a first part in intercity and interregional, and then changing up to Corniglia with the Cinque Terre Express or a regional one that stops there. For this reason, excellent exchange stops areLevantoAndSestri Levante, sometimes even Monterosso, which all have direct trains to both Milan and Turin.
Once at the station, we remind you once again that the shuttle goes up to the center, so as to avoid those who have suitcases and perhaps want to stop in a b & b from going up to the village with their luggage via the Lardarina staircase: it's okay to be sporty , but 400 steps is a lot!
And the boat. Nothing to do. TO Corniglia ferries do not stop who travel the routePortovenere- Levanto stopping in all the other Cinque Terre. There would be no space for them to stop, and for passengers to get on and off safely. A small lack that in our eyes only increases the old-fashioned charm of Corniglia!
For those who still wantget to Corniglia by car, there is a road that reaches it from Vernazza. It is an experience, however: compared to the motorway, Corniglia is the most isolated and the furthest of all: to reach it it takes almost 50 minutes from the Brugnato motorway exit on the A12: and to think that it is just 30 km of road, all curves !
Same distance and same time it takesget to Corniglia by car from La Spezia, along the SP51 which first passes through Riomaggiore, continues to Manarola, and after having bypassed hills and mountains, arrives in Vernazza and returns back to Corniglia. An adventure from the past!
For what concern parking in Corniglia Obviously, the very few parking spaces available are reserved for residents, we foreigners have to park outside the town, gradually further away, along the road and being careful not to get fines by carefully observing the signs. The fighters, you know, in small villages are waiting for nothing but to catch us in the wrong!
The hotel in Corniglia they are all b & bs, holiday homes and apartments for rent that once belonged to local families. They have romantic names like the plants of the Mediterranean scrub, they know from the Middle Ages, they recall pirate towers and sieges. Sleeping here makes a lot of sense for all those who seek peace, harmony, and love starry nights and evenings at the table chatting until you feel too tired. Perfect for a romantic weekend as well as for an escape from the city without the confusion that is found around the other villages of the Cinque Terre.
Corniglia Vernazza: the blue path
The stretch of blue path that connects Corniglia and Vernazza it is one of the most popular treks in all of the Cinque Terre. It is a rather simple walk, not trivial but also suitable for the less trained, if they are aware that they will have to stay on the path to walk for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, and more or less 3.5 km away. The route is paid in high season, and has a low altitude difference, about 200 meters of ascent and immediate descent. As always in these parts, the magic happens in a fraction of meters: land, fields, vineyards leave room for the sea without even realizing it: so much so that more than walking, sometimes it really feels like swimming in a dream of a panorama.
There are two paths that connect Corniglia and Vernazza, one of which is longer, which climbs higher and passes through the hamlet of San Bernardino. The main path, number 2, is well marked and equipped with fences and trail markers, and rest benches to take breaks when necessary. Step by step, meter by meter, immersed in the Mediterranean scrub and stunned by the scents of flowers, you arrive at your destination. The only advice, especially in summer, is to avoid the hottest hours, as there is no water along the path and the shade is just as scarce.
The views of Andrea and Katerina
Luckily there is Corniglia