Vernazza: on the waterfront

Vernazza is the only tiny port in the stretch of coastline between Portovenere and Monterosso: a rocky outcrop, on which a part of the houses of the village were founded and the long pier that stretches into the sea until it almost reaches the other side of the bay, protecting this small stretch of sea from the waves, allowing the inhabitants to safely moor the typical Ligurian goiters, which are hoisted to the ground and positioned in the main square of the town, only in the presence of exceptional storms.

The first news of Vernazza dates back to 1080 and since the Middle Ages it was famous because Sciacchetrà was shipped here, an exquisite local raisin wine that was also exported across the border. The town lived on trade related to the port and became an important arsenal for the construction and repair of typical Ligurian boats.

The main fortification of the village is the castle dating back to the 11th century, built on a spur of rock 70 meters above sea level; from its walls stands the Doria tower, a sighting point of the time and a great panoramic view of this spectacular stretch of coastline of the Cinque Terre National Park.

From the tower you can admire Vernazza in all its splendor: the houses with typical Ligurian colours widen amphitheatrically around the marina, the narrow alleys, the steep stairways, the mountain that looms over the slate roofs and embraces the village, almost hide it for those who watch from the sea.

The most evocative monument is the church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia, dating back to 1318, founded on the rocks overlooking the port, which for centuries has supported the shocks of the waves of the Ligurian sea, symbol of the tenacity of the inhabitants of these places, in eternal struggle with nature for one’s survival.

In October 2011 Vernazza was hit together with Monterosso, by a terrible flood that brought tons of dirt and stones to the first floor of the houses on the streets of the village, even creating a new beach on the east coast of the village where before there were only very deep rocks and depths.

Certainly Vernazza is one of the pearls of the Cinque Terre and therefore we recommend you to visit it by sea with the boat service that connects all the Cinque Terre, by rail with the comfortable regional trains or even better by land with the splendid trail network coming from Corniglia or from Monterosso.

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