It rises from the sea, a fortress of multicolored buildings.
The history of Vernazza is centered around its hook of a breakwater, and its geographic proximity to Genoa. Early 13th Century documents indicate that the townspeople swore allegiance to the authority of Genoa. In the mid-1500’s, to provide additional protection from pirates who plied their trade against all forms of merchant and private shipping, the town erected a large stone wall and fortress which still dominate the promontory above the harbor.
The Church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia (pictured to the left) has served as the duomo of Vernazza since the mid-thirteenth century. The bell tower that now dominates the village was completed in 1750.
There are no roads to Vernazza. In the late 1800’s its singular isolation was broken with the arrival of the rail line that now connects Genoa to La Spezia and, from there, to the entire Italian peninsula.
The sense of isolation still exists, though during the high season visitors fill the hotels and restaurants to capacity.
Still . . . of a warm summer evening, as I explore the many narrow “carruggi” alleyways and straight, steep stairways that lead to the sea, the sense of those who labored here for centuries comes easily.
As glasses and dinnerware clink in the sultry air, I already hope to return to the beautiful, historic and unforgettable town of Vernazza.
IF YOU GO:
For numerous reasons, accommodations in Vernazza are nearly non-existent. I recently had a client recommend the Inn – Villa Cinque Terre, but
note that it is 2.4 miles (app. 4 Km) above and away from the village itself.
Also, you can check accommodations in the relatively nearby villages of Levanto or Monterosso.
There are not many restaurants in Vernazza. Cafes offer prepared sandwiches and drinks – an easy picnic if you are so inclined. If you arrive early in the morning during a hike along the trails, you can enjoy espresso, cappuccino and fresh hand-made rolls in any of the towns small coffee bars.
Via Gavino, 36 – 19018 Vernazza – La Spezia – Italia
Via G. Guidoni, Vernazza, SP 19018 Italy