On the Streets of Vernazza
I was wearing:
Dress: Market of Vernazza
Shades: Ray Ban
Photographed by Alicia Y./ Edited by me.
I’ve been hearing beautiful things about Cinque Terre for a long time before I actually went there last week. “It’s just like Amalfi, even better” I heard people saying about the 5 picturesque villages laying within a national park, not far from La Spezia. ‘Cinque Terre’, the name already got me from the beginning…
It was a lucky coincidence that my mother just bought a beetle cabriolet and was talking about heading to Italy for a little road trip. So the three of us, my mother, my sister were talking and discussing for a while and finally decided on a route. We were headed for Ticino first, followed by Milan, Cinque Terre and last but not least, Florence.
For today, I’d like to focus on Cinque Terre, where we shot those beautiful pictures. I’ve been checking out Cinque Terre online to aquire a little information on the different villages. Before heading anywhere actually, I love checking out travel or lifestyle blogs. I find it more personal than travel journals or anything I’d find on tripadvisor, especially if it’s a local writing the article. I know, I’m not a local with regards to Italy, but it might be interesting for you guys anyhow. To warn you, I had high expectations of Cinque Terre, some of them were met, some of them weren’t. Here’s my opinion:
First things first, if you ever venture for Cinque Terre by car, know that the roads are a nightmare. I definitely recommend visiting by train (this is one aspect the post I read was totally missing, we had no clue the roads were this narrow and rocky). If you are travelling by car, better stay in La Spezia, you can visit the villages easily by train. You can’t drive within them anyhow, they’re pretty much the size of a shoe box.
Cinque Terre’s most northern and biggest village is Monterosso, then comes Vernazza, Corniglia, Manorola and Riomaggiore. I didn’t visit Monterosso and neither did I visit Riomaggiore, it just wasn’t possible. Monterosso is the largest village of all and to me the least attractive to visit. It’s not built on the hill like the other villages and from the pictures I’ve seen it doens’t look as charming. Riomaggiore would’ve been nice, I guess, it’s supposedly the smallest of the 5.
We stayed in Vernazza for 3 nights, and to me, Vernazza was definitely killing it compared to Corniglia and Manorola. It’s a village with just one street, but there are many hidden corners to explore, too. There’s a church, a tiny port, a castle up the hill as well as a daily vegetable and fruit market. It’s full of beautiful little shops where you can buy local foods like handmade pasta, olive oils and more. There’s no beach but everyone’s swimming at the port and from the castle up the hill you have a beautiful view all over Vernazza. The food we ate was amazing, especially the fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits were a delicacy. Not to mention the homemade icecream, especially the mascarpone-fig flavor, it’s a sin!
Corniglia and Manorola are beautiful, too. However Corniglia’s on a hill, so you can’t swim there and Manorola just isn’t as pretty to me as Vernazza is. I don’t have much to say about them, except for the fact that you can easily venture for the neighbouring villages by a connecting train like I said, which brings me to my next point. I guess I woulnd’t recommend staying for more than 1 or 2 nights in Cinque Terre. You have to book a long time ahead or you’ll end up paying tons of money for almost nothing in return (as we did…). Another fact that bothered me and which I didn’t expect was the large amounts of daily visiting tourists. I was told that Vernazza only counts about 4000 tourists a day. Usually the crowds arrive around 11 am, walk around, ate lunch and leave around 5 pm, meaning that the villages are packed during that time. If you’re only visitng for a couple of hours, visit in the early morning or evening. The atmosphere is a lot calmer when the crowd’s are gone.
In conclusion, Cinque Terre is a very beautiful place that offers some delicious italian food and a lot of local charm. However, that’s also why it’s pretty packed with tourists. Apart from the fact that the little street’s of Cinque Terre are loaded, I also felt that the Italians are a little spoiled when it comes to tourists, which is why I didn’t feel very welcomed as a guest. I’d say it’s proabably best visiting during spring or autumn. Stay a night or two and make sure you come by train. I’m sure you’ll have a beautiful time there, and don’t forget your camera!