Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

Exploring the Cinque Terre: Vernazza

Thanks so much to those of you who left kind comments on my previous post. It’s immeasurably nice to know there are people in the universe sending good vibes my family’s way. The funeral is next week and I’m hopeful of obtaining some closure (ugh at that word but I can think of none better) and discovering a new ‘normal’ after that.

It’s a cliché to say it but the last thing my Grandad would want would be for any of us to be sad so I’m trying to re-focus my energy on grabbing hold of life and squeezing everything I can from it! That of course includes more travel, which leads me nicely on to the next installment of my Italy travel diary.

Unlike our previous stop you’re likely to have seen Vernazza all over Pinterest. The epitome of picturesque, this Cinque Terre village doesn’t only host a harbour, a beach, and the obligatory multi-coloured houses, there’s also a clifftop castle known as the the Doria – but we’ll get to that.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza main street, Cinque Terre, Italy

After hiking from Corniglia we meandered down through the town, enjoying gorgeous views over the rooftops and the bay. We were desperate for a shower and M was pretty keen to lose our bag so first stop was the apartment we’d rented for the night; it was small and basic but well-located on the main street.

Main street of Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyNarrow streets of Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza harbour, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza main square, Cinque Terre, Italy

Feeling fresher, we went back out to explore. It has to be said, pretty though it is, Vernazza is over-run with a) tourists, and b) crappy shops catering to tourists. I know, but still.

M referred to it as “Italian Disney land” and I’d say that’s apt: it looks as if Pixar have computer-generated a dilapidated old Italian coastal village – in both the good way and the bad.

Vernazza beach, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza beach sunset, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza harbour sunset, Cinque Terre, Italy

The pebble beach is only accessible via a path underneath a precarious-looking rock arch. As we picked our way through the sun started to set, the sea breeze picked up, and the chill set in, so we took a couple of snaps and went for a (fantastic) seafood dinner at a restaurant by the harbour. This was of course accompanied by copious amounts of red wine and followed with the obligatory gelato.

Italian café breakfast, Vernazza, Cinque TerreVernazza harbour, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza harbour, Cinque Terre, ItalyStairs to the castle, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

The next morning we had apple pie for breakfast. After the previous few hours’ indulgence it was time for more calorie-burning wandering. Like the rest of of the Cinque Terre, Vernazza is a warren of winding, narrow passages that look like they’ve been carved straight out of the rock but it’s actually surprisingly hard to get lost because it’s all so teeny.

View from Doria, Vernazza, ItalyView from the castle, Vernazza, ItalyView from Vernazza's Doria, Cinque Terre, ItalyView from Vernazza's castle, Cinque Terre, Italy

Time to explore the castle! The Doria was built in the 15th century as a lookout for pirates. So cool.

It’s basically just a big round stone tower so once you’ve climbed up (and up and up) there isn’t much to do – but the views are stunning, with the beach and open sea on one side and the town and harbour to the other. If i remember rightly, the entrance fee (in 2013) was just 1€.

Italian architecture, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyVernazza 2011 storm damage, Cinque Terre, Italy

With Vernazza explored it was time to collect our rucksack and start on the road to Monterosso; we were hiking again, a distance of about 4km.

On the way out of town you encounter a couple of homes irreparably damaged by the storm and resulting landslide that almost destroyed the entire village in October 2011 (you can even see neatly-pressed trousers still hanging in the wardrobe). Luckily, glorious views over the village leave you with a more positive lasting impression as you wave “ciao” to Vernazza.


11 thoughts on “Exploring the Cinque Terre: Vernazza”

  1. Sadly my grandad won’t be with us for much longer, he’s one of my favourite people in the world so I’m trying to spend as much time with him as possible while I can! I hope the funeral service is nice, I think going to my nan’s funeral helped with the grieving process.

    As for Italy, gosh. You make me want to turn my honeymoon plans upside down. i genuinely don’t know what to do anymore haha!

    Sending you lots of virtual love. Xx


    1. I’m so sorry to hear that. I was able to say goodbye to mine too, which I’m incredibly grateful for but it is still the hardest thing in the world to do. The most important thing is that we were lucky enough to have them. The pain of losing them is worth it, even if it is heartbreaking xx


  2. So sorry you’ve suffered a sad loss in your family recently. I hope the funeral goes as smoothly as possible.

    Your photos are just gorgeous! I can image it is very touristy, but still, what a magical looking place! Your seafood supper just sounds perfect. xxx


  3. Your photos – jeez, I can’t cope any more, they are just so colourful and make me want to explore and go on holiday. It’s like a little adventure. It’s sad about the landslide but I am fascinated with the still in tact wardrobe and the things that are hanging inside – amazing!

    PS – So sorry to read about your granddad – hope you and your family are ok xxxx


  4. You’re photos are making me want to pack up my bags and fly to Italy right now. One of my favourite places in Europe that I’ve been to is the coast of Italy.

    Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful images!

    Hope you’ll visit my newly launched website and let me know your thoughts.

    Helen xx


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