We love Italy and me and my husband have decided to explore each town of Italy before we die. From breathtaking architecture, food, and picturesque views, Italy has a lot to offer to its visitors. So, for my birthday we decided to visit the Vernazza, which is a small fishing village with lovely houses clinging on the hills and breathtaking views of the harbour. We had been planning to visit this for a very long time and due to massive floods in 2011, the town was evacuated and was closed for tourist. However, the moment we got to know about the reopening of village for tourist, we instantly booked our tickets to this lovely place.
Vernazza is considered to be one of the most beautiful looking towns of Cinque Terre in Italy. There are many things to see in this lovely town, especially its very popular medieval castle. The town is surrounded by extensive olive groves that are supposed to produce the finest olive oil in the country. This town is quite, away from hustle and bustle and only a home to around 1000 natives. There is no car traffic and is a true fishing village.
We booked our room in one of the vacation rentals for 4 nights 5 days and were pretty excited about leaving the work chaos and going to a completely secluded, less crowded small town of Italy. So here I am to tell you about how we both spent and loved our Vernazza vacation.
We reached the place at around 1:00 Pm in the noon and after having a scrumptious meal at the hotel, we headed straight towards to see the Santa Margherita of Antiochia church. This church looked magnificent between the mildly coloured houses of Vernazza. We were truly mesmerised by the beauty and magnificence of this church, constructed in the gothic style in year 1318. The church was constructed on the rock just opposite to the sea having a pointed shape dome. During its construction, it had three isles, which were then widened in the 14th and 15th century. The history of the church is very interesting, which said that this church was built because the inhabitants found a large box with the bones of Saint Margaret on the beach. Therefore, they built a church at a different place, which got ruined because of the strong sea storm. After few years, the church appeared again at its original position and the natives built a new church where it stands now.
After exploring the lovely church, we headed towards the Doria’s castle. Doria’s castle is located on a hill top which overlooks the beautiful town of Vernazza. From there we enjoyed a large view of the coast and clicked many pictures of the coast. This castle was built in 15th century with a purpose to protect the Vernazza from pirates raiding in.
After checking out these two popular attractions, we came back meeting the lovely people of this small town, enjoying the fresh air, walking down the streets and enjoying the beautiful sight of the colourful houses. We had our dinner at one of the popular Italian restaurants of the Vernazza, and came back to our hotel relaxed and refreshed.
The next morning, we wanted to check out the tower Belforte. We headed towards the tower and believe me, we had an amazing time here. The tower belforte is rustic, and offers incredible view of the sea. The tower has a restaurant offers food menu to the visitors and we had a lavish food and spent quiet and quality time with each other over authentic Italian food.
The same day, while we talked to the natives about more things to see, we were recommended to check out the Shrine of our Lady of Reggio. This Shrine is located in the province of La Spezia, in the locality of Vernazza and we reached this shrine by moving through the paved path, which is 2 km long, beginning from train station to the church square. The church square itself is a beautiful sight as it is bounded by very old prehistoric trees. While moving through the path, we enjoyed the string of many chapels on the path. The path was hard, but it was really worth it. After visiting the shrine, we headed towards the Fontana Vecchia.
Fontana Vecchia is named after a fountain and as per the old natives, this place the all the women of the town coming to do washing. And, the lane from here, goes directly to the cemetery.
In the evening, we went to the Vernazza’s Business Center, having many wine shops, souvenir shops, Marlin Bar, which is Vernazzas’ very popular night spot. It also has a small chapel of Santa Marta. We walked through the business center and reached further down into the street with a grocery, pharmacy, bakery, and gelataria. This was the best way to enjoy the local culture of the place as we bought many things for ourselves and ate at the economical food joints. Moving down further, the street became narrow and we reached the Harbour square and Breakwater. This place is the natural harbour which was used to pick up the local wines from the boats. The harborfront’s church is popular for its unique entrance, which opens from the altar’s side to bring prosperity and peace in the 16th century.
The third day, we had planned to visit the beach that offers plenty of sunnig rocks and showers because of the breakwater. We went deep into the water through the ladder that provides easy access to the visitors into the deep water. We sunbathed on the sunbathing lane just under the church. After enjoying the sun, water, and sand, we rented a boat and visited the lovely small acqua pendent, a waterfall between the Monterosso and Vernazaa. The boat ride was exhilarating and waterfall was indeed magical and mesmerising.
To enjoy the town more, we decided to take a shuttle bus joyride, which offers a very economical and scenic joyride for few bucks and is available most of the times from the park office.
We came back early from the Joyride and had kept the rest of the evening in enjoying the nightlife of Vernazza. The night life is not very lively because of the less population and all the restaurants and clubs close by 24:00 hours. We hopped couple of restaurants and bars, tasting one glass of wine and a snack. Some of the restaurants and bars we visited were Burgus Wine Bar, Blue Marlin Bar, and II Pirata Delle Cinque Terre.
The last day had come and we kept on the enjoying the beautiful streets by revisiting them, eating out again at the restaurant on the tower and enjoying the breath taking views of the sea. Not just that, we were also gifted a wine bottle and a bottle of olive oil by our restaurant owner. The trip was very refreshing, very peaceful and rejuvenating. All that we could say now to the readers is that if you would like to go to a small Italian town to taste the culture, food, and history keeping away from the city chaos, head straight to the Vernazza. It is indeed a very beautiful, less crowded town in Italy.