Travel Guide to Liguria Region

Town of Vernazza | Cinque Terre

Village of Vernazza in Cinque Terre

Secluded along the coastline of Liguria, the Cinque Terre offers enchanting pastel colored tower homes, rocky beaches and quiet trails among the terraces covered in vineyards, olive trees and private gardens. Vernazza is perhaps the crowning jewel among the five, named as one of the most beautiful towns of Italy, it is a traffic free village with architecture characteristic of the area, shops and monuments. The fortified town is mentioned in documents starting a early as the 1080 and served as a military/naval base for marchesi Obertenghi as they worked to defend the coast from the Saracen pirates raids which often devastated the small towns to the left and right. For the next two hundred years, Vernazza was key to Genova's conquest of Liguria, providing port, fleet, and soldiers till they were eventually consumed by Pisa.

What to See in Vernazza

Church of Santa Margherita d'AntiochiaThe octagonal tower of 40 meters and the entrance, located in the apse side rather than in the facade side makes this church stand out for its exceptional simplicity and beauty and it also makes the choice for the brides in the area. St. Marguerite is the patron saint, and legend tells of a treasure chest containing the bones of her hand beached on the shore of Vernazza, lost and then found again the people of Vernazza saw it as a sign to build the church on the same spot where the bones were found.The church is mentioned for the first time 1318, however there is some debate as to its actual construction since the materials and mode of construction could place its origins earlier, some time in the 12th century. The Feast of Santa Margherita is the 20 of July where the town celebrates with a festival and fireworks.   CastelloThe Doria castle contains one of the few of the original watch towers that protected Vernazza and its people during the reign of the Republic of Genoa. The Sanctuary of our Lady of RegioLocated two kilometers above the train station, the sanctuary sits where is is once thought to be the site of the first town, before it moved closer to the coast. There is a path which you can follow to the 11th century sanctuary to view the Madonna di Reggio, a black-skinned Madonna which many call the "l'Africana." This image was apparently brought here to Vernazza at the time of the crusades, is venerated by many. The feast of the Madonna di Reggio is celebrated on the first of August. City Walls and ConventThe Convent of the Reformed Fathers of St. Francis, is now the government headquarters in Vernazza. Nestled within the city walls it is possible to view a tower (once one of the city watch towers), a cloister and a church which is no longer in use. This exceptionally beautiful convent was newly restored bring to life 14 marble covered tombs with latin inscriptions underneath the church floor. BeachesThere are two possible beaches in Vernazza. The first and easiest to get to is near the harbor, with a small sandy beach and another one (a bit larger) which can be reached from the main square of the city.

Where to Stay in Vernazza Cinque Terre

Not a lot of selections for hotels but there are several B and B's. we prefer to stay outside the park unless you are hiking through and just happen to end your day in the village.

Where to Eat in Vernazza Cinque Terre

In Vernazza, you will find the typical Italian piazza where the locals would gather to "gossip" or spend time together. In local dialect, it is known as "u cantu de musse", and is one of the more characteristic corners of town. Here there are plenty of bars and eatery's, we suggest the smaller street food stands. 

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How to Get To Vernazza Cinque Terre

You can arrive by car if you have based your holidays in Tuscany or the Lunigiana area close to La Spezia, even if it is highly discouraged due to limited parking. Take the A12 and exit at Santo Stefano di Magra in direction La Spezia. Then follow signs for Portovenere, on the Litoranea. Use the exit for Corniglia. Access & parking is really reserved for residents only, Approximately one kilometer from town is a paid parking lot, where tourist may leave their cars The best way to get to Vernazza is by taking the train from La Spezia or from Levanto. From Vernazza you can head south to visit Corniglia or you can head north to visit Monterosso. Or you could take a ferry boat from Monterosso or Riomaggiore to appreciate the beauty of this town from the sea.

Places around Vernazza Cinque Terre

Trails to and from Vernazza 592-3 Corniglia - Vernazza There is the possibility to get a beautiful panoramic view overlooking the Cinque Terre Riviera, Corniglia and a small hamlet of San BernardinoDifficulty: easy 592-4 Vernazza - Monterosso It crosses the Riolo Valley, the Costa Messorano and winds it way through vineyards, olive grove and citrus trees.Difficulty Level: Easy 508 Vernazza - Foce Drignana Historical mule track linking Vernazza with the villages situated all over the uplands, and the Nostra Signora di Reggio Sanctuary. The route is traditionally used for the religious procession of the Way of the CrossDifficulty Level: Easy

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SARZANA | LIGURIA REGION

sarzana liguria

Sarzana, 15 km of La Spezia to the east of the Magra river, is the main center in Lunigiana, the area that takes its name from the ancient town of Luni. Apart from its rich historical past, and the wealth of monuments and art, Sarzana is also a modern town, a lively business and industrial center, famous for its glass-bottle factories.

The strategical position at the entrance to the valley of the Magra river, the boundary between Etruria and Liguria in Roman times, gave it military importance in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages it was mentioned in 983, and again in 1202 when the episcopal see was transferred here from the ancient Luni, 5 km southeast.

A branch of the Cadolingi di Borgonuovo family, lords of Fucecchio in Tuscany, which had acquired the name of Bonaparte, settled near Sarzana before 1264. In 1512 a member of the family moved to Ajaccio, and it seems he was the ancestor of Napoleon Buonaparte. Sarzana belonged first to Pisa, then to Florence, then to the Banco di San Giorgio of Genoa and from 1572 to the Republic of Genoa. In 1814 it was assigned to the Kingdom of Sardinia.

WHAT TO SEE IN SARZANA

  • The cathedral of white marble in the Gothic style, dating from 1355 but completed in 1474, contains two sculptured altars.
  • The Citadel, built by the Pisans, a massive fortress, demolished and rebuilt by Lorenzo de Medici, also known as Firmafede.
  • The castle of Sarzanello, built by condottiere Castruccio Castracani, whose tomb by the Pisan Giovanni di Balducci is in the church of San Francesco.
  • The Palazzo del Capitano originally designed by Giuliano da Maiano (1472), but later largely modified.

La Spezia Province,, Cinque Terre,

RIOMAGGIORE | LIGURIA REGION

riomaggiore la spezia

Riomaggiore, situated in a small valley in the Riviera di Levante region, is the first of the Cinque Terre places one meets coming from La Spezia (the other four being Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, all of them a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its shoreline on the Gulf of Genoa, with a small beach and a wharf framed by tower houses.

Riomaggiore is the most southern town of the five Cinque Terre, all connected by rail or walking paths. The water and mountainside have been declared national parks (parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre). The town, dating from the late 12th century, is known for its historic character and its wine, produced by the local vineyards. The Via dell'Amore is a path connecting Riomaggiore to Manarola.

Manarola, administratively belonging to Riomaggiore, is the second town in the Cinque Terre from La Spezia. In the summer months, as in all the Cinque Terre, there is a dramatic increase in tourism. Manarola is the oldest of the Cinque terre, with a cornerstone of the church dating from 1160. There are other written references from roman times, that exalt the qualities of the fine wine from the region.

La Spezia Province,, Cinque Terre,

Italiaoutdoors Travel Guide to Italy

Places to Visit | La Spezia Province, Liguria

Dove Visitare nelle Province di La Spezia

PLACES TO VISIT IN THE PROVINCE OF LA SPEZIA, LIGURIA Towns and locations to visit during your vacation in the La Spezia Province of the Liguria Region. A Ameglia | Liguria Region C Exploring Cinque Terre Italy L La Spezia | Liguria Region Lerici | Liguria Region Levanto | Liguria Region P Pignone | Liguria Region Portovenere | Liguria Region R Riomaggiore | Liguria Region S Sarzana | Liguria Region V Vernazza | Liguria Region

Read more: PLACES TO VISIT IN THE LA SPEZIA PROVINCE

PORTOVENERE | LIGURIA REGION

portovenere la spezia

Portovenere, with the Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto isles, and the towns of the Cinque Terre, belongs to an area of great beauty and uncontaminated landscapes which in 1997 was declared a UNESCO World heritage site.

The Palmaria island belongs to the comune of Portovenere, from which it is separated by a narrow strait "Le Bocche". On the island was a monastery in the early Middle Ages, where for a time stayed San venerio, the Gulf's patron; today it is a environmental oasis with rich Mediterranean vegetation and steep cliffs, connected to Portovenere by ferry.

WHAT TO SEE

  • The church of San Pietro, built in the ealy Christian centuries over the remains of a temple to Venus (the goddess that gives name to the place) rebuilt in 1256 by the Genoese as a reward for the help received in conquering Lerici.
  • The romanesque church of San Lorenzo, built by the Magistri Antelami in the early 12th century, in three naves, with arches supported by black marble columns.
  • The Palmaria island, which can be visited taking a ferry or boat, a paradise of Mediterranean vegetation, with fine grottos, ancient fortifications, quarries of Portoro marble (black with golden stripes), and crowded populations of royal gulls.
  • The Tino island, with remains of buildings of the 11th century AD, and the chapel built in the 7th century on the spot where the body of San venerio, born in Palmaria and a hermit on this island, was found. The island is a Military Area, and it is possible to visit only on the Saint's day, 13 september.
  • The Tinetto islet, with remains of an ancient oratorium of the 6th century AD and a larger monastery, destroyed in the 11th century by a Saracen raid. The island is also hope to a lizard that can be found only here, the pordacis muralis tinettoi.

La Spezia Province,, Cinque Terre,