Vernazza, rough and brackish pearl
Vernazza , the pearl of the Cinque Terre. So at least you will find written on the tourist sign, which prepares you just outside the station for information to know about the beach, what to see, about restaurants and hotels, about the paths for Corniglia and Monterosso. A slogan repeated with pride on the shirts, cheeky and who do not want to hide any truth. Vernazza is as straight as a shot, it doesn't give you time to acclimate it, the power to digest it. There is no chance to savor it slowly.
The station catapults you into its gut, which you feel as if you are walking through it even before you go down the steps to leave the platform. Bum, and with the hatch that closes behind us the shell of the shell breaks, leaving us in our hands this precious stone of houses, alleys, churches, aromatic plants and the sea. Lots of sea.
Vernazza, together with Manarola, is perhaps the most quintessential of the Cinque Terre. It is the one that best encloses the soul of Liguria, the sea and the greenery of its terraces and vineyards, which they too almost touch the station. So you turn one way, towards the mountains, and it's all cultivated, which seems to be in Chianti. You turn away and there is this snake of houses that swallows you and delivers you to the beach, small, sandy, a tongue that does just the job of a tongue, puts the sea in your body, with its flavors, its smells, its taste sensations.
So it doesn't take much to understand Vernazza, who does not want pleasantries, who does not like to be said good morning and does not like to hide things. Tourists seem to appreciate this frankness, no doubt about it, and they mix and go up and down to find the most photographic corner, the tastiest focaccia, the most artisanal ice cream, the freshest beer. Of all the Cinque Terre, Vernazza is the port. Its section at sea, in fact, is the most convenient for boats, since here are the only natural moorings that can be found in this corner of the world that starts from Punta Mesco and ends with the Sanctuary of Montenero.o.
The small port of Vernazza immediately reminds us of that of Camogli, identical also for access: it is accessed under a portico that reveals a raised pier to protect yourself from the waves and on which - of course - you will have to walk to take the most "social" photograph possible. Here it is of course also possible to rent a boat, and set off on an adventure for small customized tours at sunset. Obviously, the small port of Vernazza is also the stop of the boat that goes back and forth as well as to the other Cinque Terre also to Levanto and Portovenere.
Therefore, the Vernazza beach it is only one and is located next to the marina, protected by the church on one side and the tiny promenade on the other. In addition to the ritual bath, it is also used to accommodate some fishing boats, making it truly a show when you meet it at the right time and with a calm sea. Nothing better to enjoy the Ligurian sea to the nth degree, even if it will probably only be for a few hours of relaxation.
The water of the Vernazza beach is very clean and crystalline, with the sea of that intense emerald color that the Cinque Terre love to give generously. The sand is fine, a rarity in these parts, and in short, it will give great satisfaction especially to those who can experience it in moments of calm and in the low season. At other times, of course, it is always crowded.
Vernazza beach we said is one but in reality there are two , with the second located at the back of the village and which could be accessed through a natural cave that you meet on the left going down Via Roma, the main street of the town. Let's say it could because access is currently blocked, and in any case, the second of the beaches of Vernazza is all stones and pebbles, therefore not very comfortable. Even if very well exposed at sunset.o.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the third, and most obvious option on where to swim in Vernazza, which is that of use the rocks around the pier , or the pier itself, or again, place slippers and a towel right under the embankment of the Church on some stone. After all, we Ligurians have always lived the sea like this, in small doses, in our spare time, on a lunch break from work, but always with great taste.
Vernazza what to see
The what to see in Vernazza mainly includes theDoria Castle and theChurch of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia.
- The Doria castle, whose majestic cylindrical tower is perhaps the true icon of Vernazza, towers over the town on the cliff just above the beach and the marina. It can be reached by following the signpost from Via Roma that indicates the path to Corniglia, and it will immediately be an apotheosis of stairs and steps. The climb is steep and immediate, and step by step, one approaches the sea higher and higher until the moment in which the beautiful figure of the castle tower appears, which dates back to around 1100, and which with alternating fortunes has followed the whole history of the dominations that accompanied the history of Vernazza, including an anti-aircraft defense role during the Second World War.
- All tourists will then know that the Church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia is the other great thing to see in Vernazza. What a thrill to climb those steps immediately after entering, and find yourself in this sacred place from the windows overlooking the sea! It is one of the most particular churches in Liguria, certainly due to its contact with the sea, with beautiful Romanesque-Baroque overlaps. There is also a rear access to a wonderful terrace that brings our visit even closer, if possible, to the mysticism and transcendence that we must necessarily recover to give meaning to our naked life so elusive in these difficult times.
- Finally, what to see in Vernazza inevitably includes Via Roma, the main street and fulcrum of the town. Via Roma, which guards below it the bed of the stream that crosses Vernazza and which has created the valley that hosts it. A street that is swarming with Italy and Liguria.Colorful facades, balconies, hanging sheets, bars and restaurant signs. There is everything in this world that at the same time still manages to be stubbornly authentic but dramatically hyper-touristy. In Vernazza, in Via Roma, there are all the contradictions of our time, our desperate need to update our past. So here's the Hawaiian pesto pesto, here's the old onesbass of fishermen converted into sportswear and trail running shops, here are Americans and La Spezia people who meet, study each other, and perhaps who knows, learn something from each other.
And then, in Vernazza there are the artifacts related to agriculture. Walking in Vernazza, in fact, as in all the Cinque Terre, means passing by about 7 thousand km of dry stone walls (!!), lemon trees, Vernaccia and Sciacchetrà vines. The cogwheel trains that go up row by row when it is September. The work of the fields, the labor of the farmers, is for us the juice that we should bring home from a trip to Vernazza. In the era of the digitization of lives, the sense that is felt when the doors of the train are closed is that of wanting to return to the earth, to simple things, and to the link with the territory. Blessed are the Vernazzolese who have understood this, and who still hold the keys to this sweaty and handed down paradise in their hands.
How to get to Vernazza
Almost everyone chooses to get to Vernazza by train, but an equally good option is the boat, which however does not run in winter, when the car once again becomes an acceptable way to visit Vernazza.
- The train is therefore the number one choice for those who want to arrive in Vernazza, stop for a few hours and continue their visit to the other Cinque Terre. Vernazza station is extremely convenient: more in the center than this would be impossible. Taking La Spezia as the starting point, Vernazza is the fourth stop and from here it takes about 25 minutes to travel. To reach Vernazza it is good to remember that there are no direct trains from the largest Italian cities, a change is almost always necessary, and it is almost always done in Levanto,Sestri Levante or La Spezia.
- The second way we would like to promote to get to Vernazza is the famous ferry, managed by the Compagnia di Navigazione del Golfo dei poeti. Their comfortable and characteristic boats go back and forth from Portovenere (some times a day even La Spezia) to Monterosso (but some races continue beyond going as far as Levanto, Deiva Marina and Moneglia). Then, in season, there are also races for Genoa, via Recco, and even for Versilia, to be precise Viareggio, Marina di Massa and Marina di Carrara.
- Finally, Vernazza is not out of this world: in fact, Vernazza can also be reached by car, via the A12 motorway and exiting at Brugnato. From here, then, there is all the wildness of the Ligurian hinterland, through woods and vegetable gardens, passing through the wonderful village of Pignone down to the village. There is a very small parking lot, and then a bus that goes down to the town but we can well say that of all the Cinque Terre, Vernazza is perhaps the most problematic and complicated to reach by car.
Where to park
We were therefore saying that Vernazza doesn't really turn out to be a bijoux when looking for a parking space. But still, it is information that is useful to know. There are two private car parks where you can park in Vernazza , both about 1km from the center. Both offer a free shuttle to get off at the village, at set times when there is a lot of traffic, or at the necessary time when traffic is low. The costs are more than acceptable for both, given the scarcity of parking and the preciousness of the service offered. It starts from about 2 per hour up to a daily flat rate of 15. There are also multi-regional reductions, which will not drain our pockets too much.e.
Like all the Cinque Terre, each town has now become a large widespread hotel. The locals who persistently continue to live in the town are few, and almost all of them have chosen to transform their home into a holiday home orairbnb for tourists.
Looking for a hotel in Vernazza therefore means trying to live as the locals once did , among the magical stairways and the high and narrow alleys, between the spread sheets and the typical colorful and fragrant creuze of prickly pears and rosemary plants. At This is Liguria we have chosen the best ones, the ones where we would like to spend the holiday. You will soon be able to book them on this page, in real time and divided by type!a!
In Vernazza there are at least a dozen restaurants , almost all concentrated along Via Roma, in the short stretch from the station down to the beach. Needless to say, the menus to deal with are the classic ones of the Ligurian territory. Focaccias, but above all anchovies in all forms, and then lasagna with pesto, stuffed vegetables, octopus salads and seafood salami, to finish perhaps with thea monteroxin cake as dessert. We, for example, try to never miss a taste of basil ice cream ..
The paths of Vernazza
The main paths of Vernazza are those that connect it to the neighboring lands: Monterosso and Corniglia. Both are about 4 km long and are a riot of terraces, olive groves, lemon trees, prickly pears, agaves, glimpses of the sea. There is work to do for the legs, so much to get on and off. Having good shoes is a necessity, but the effort will pay off with every inch of the path.ro. In high season they are paid and you need the Cinque Terre Card to be able to travel them.
In addition to these two most famous paths there are many others less known and less frequented, such as those that lead from Vernazza to the Sanctuary of San Bernardino or to the Madonna di Reggio and which always allow you to make a loop with detours. The trails of Vernazza allow fantastic excursions in all seasons, but they offer the best in spring and autumn, away from the crowds and scorching summer temperatures.
Here is the weather forecast in Vernazza (Cinque Terre) for the next 7 daysVERNAZZA forecasts 7 days
The views of Andrea and Katerina
Vernazza is truly the pearl of the Cinque Terre. In many ways, we agree. Above all because if the binomial Cinque Terre = sea is true (and it is true), the images of its beach, the marina, and the row of colored houses that embrace them in Liguria are perhaps second only to Portofino..
Vernazza is a breathtaking postcard.
The rest, however, is subjective and depends on who we are, what your personality is. Andrea and Katerina prefer Vernazza to the glamor of Manarola, even if it lacks a part of the vivacity of Riomaggiore. Vernazza is more Ligurian, rougher, and that's why we continue to frequent it.