Vernazza Cinque Terre is considered one of the most characteristic and beautiful of all of the Cinque Terre villages as well as the only one with a natural port. Its
origins date all the way back to around 1000 A.D. as a fortified village and efficient maritime base of the Marchesi Obertenghi family.
The village is surrounded by very steeply-terraced olive groves and was developed up the rocky face of a cliff which efficiently hides the view of its multicoloured houses from those approaching it from the sea.
CLICK on the image below for a 'Virtual Walk' around Vernazza
The village's natural port
Vernazza's tower-houses facing the Port
Vernazza Cinque Terre
It has an intricate layout with its narrow “carruggi” alleyways and straight, steep stairways that descend and meet at the main square facing the charming small port of Vernazza where you can see moored small to mid-sized boats.
The main street descending to Vernazza's port
Vernazza Cinque Terre
Take the time to walking through the narrow, steep alleyways of the town and marvel at the elaborate architectural elements that you will come along the way – from the open galleries and refined arcades to the elaborate porches.
They are all a reminder that Vernazza was economically and socially more prosperous as compared to the remaining towns of the Cinque Terre.
The landscape of the village of Vernazza Cinque Terre is very much dominated by the remains of a series of medieval fortifications dating from the eleventh century as well as its medieval Belforte Castle and cylindrical
One of the many fortifications around the village
Vernazza's Belforte Castle
The Belforte Castle was built in the mid-1500's, primarily to protect the village from pirates’ attacks. Nowadays, it is very well preserved and offers spectacular views over the town and the small port, as well as a break taking panorama of the sea. To get to the forte, just follow the sign from the main square, and keep climbing up!
And its cylindrical tower
Another important historical moment in Vernazza Cinque Terre is the church
dedicated to the patron of the town Santa Margherita di Antiochia. It was built in 1318, in a typical Genoese Romanesque-style and what is most peculiar is that is has its foundations in the sea. It still remains intact and in the inside you can marvel at three well-preserved wide naves and an unspoilt altar.
Vernazza's Church Santa Margherita di Antiochia
Vernazza Church Santa Margherita di Antiochia
If you are in Vernazza on July 20th, you will be able to join in the celebrations of the traditional Feast of Santa Margherita di Antiochia. During the day you can taste the town’s specialities provided on stalls installed along the main street of the village, while in the evening you can enjoy the spectacular fireworks display.
The buzz of Vernazza's main street
Similar to the other towns of Cinque Terre, Vernazza offers incredible hiking trails with breathtaking views of the surrounding terraced hills, cliffs and seascape.
The hiking trail to the north-west linking Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare is 3.5km long and takes about 90 minutes. The trail starts on the north side of the main street between the train station and the port.
The beginning of the Vernazza-Monterosso hiking trail
This hiking trail requires a purchase of a Cinque Terre Card in order to access the path. So make sure you purchase yours in advance. There is a check point about 100 meters after its start.
The Vernazza-Monterosso hiking trail
It is perhaps the most demanding stretch of the Blue Path n°2 as it involves some climbing of about 250 meters. However, as the path winds its way among the olive groves ranges and cultivated fields, your effort will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas over the sea that will stay with you for a long while.
Views of the Castle from the Vernazza-Monterosso hiking trail
Another unforgettable hiking trail is the path to the magnificent Romanesque Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio (Our Lady of Reggio). The Sanctuary is located above Vernazza at some 325 meters above sea level and dates back to 1248.
The path leading you to the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio
The path from town starts close to the train station and affords spectacular views over the surround terraced hills as well as the seascape...
View from the hiking trail leading to the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio
View over Vernazza from the hiking trail leading to theSanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio
The agricultural terraces surrounding Vernazza
The hiking trail ends at the forecourt of the sanctuary with a streaming spring and welcomed shadows from the surrounding trees.
Thank you for visiting our guide… we look forward to welcoming you to Liguria and hope you will love it as much as we do !
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