Vernazza, considered by many to be the most charming of the five Cinque Terre towns was documented for the first time in 1080. It is the second most northern of the Cinque Terre villages. You can reach it by boat, trails, or train.
The architecture, the extraordinary views, and the quiet way of life all make Vernazza a special place to visit. My friend, Rae, visited a couple summers ago and said, “It was the most magical city I have ever been to – that gorgeous blue color of the sea, the multicolored buildings, the warmest people. Every night the families would congregate in the square – from oldest to babies. There would be singing, dancing or music and so much laughter. The place is small, and intimate. The food is fabulous.It was like being in a movie. It is the one place I would return to, if I could for a visit or longer stay.”
Great architectural buildings like lodges, churches, casetorri and arcades have been there since Medieval times. Vernazza is dominated by the remains of the “castrum” a series of Medieval forts dating back to the XI century, with a cylindrical castle and tower. The most important historical monument is Santa Margherita di Antiochia (St. Margaret of Antioch), a Roman-Genovese style church, that dates back to the XIII century.
In his book, “Italy for the Gourmet Traveler”, author Fred Plotkin, describes Vernazza in this way: “the main street, Via Roma, as looking like a stage set for an opera. Shuttered windows can open to reveal family vignettes. People call across the narrow street from one window to to another. One afternoon in late October, he was sprawled on the slate rocks near the port basking in the warmth of the setting sun as middle-aged Englishwomen and young Swiss men braved the cold waters. Local fishermen sat at the dock mending nets and cutting bait for the next morning’s expedition.”
The houses are built on slopes, in a single central street reached by perpendicularly steep flights of steps called “arpaie”. It’s these steps and the cliffs that bring me to my usual advice–GET IN SHAPE–Walk, Climb hills and walk up and down steps NOW, so that you can enjoy everyday as we climb the stairways to heaven.
Have you been to Vernazza? Any tips?
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