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A brief history of Vernazza & 5 Terre


Well known all over the world, is now a top tourist destination.

It's a World Heritage Unesco Site from 1997, and belongs to the National Park and Marine Sanctuary of the Cinque Terre created in 1999.

The whole village is the result of centuries of hard work of the peasants who tranform the steep sides ot the hills in terraces where to grow olive trees , vinyard, and vegetables.

The houses , the so called "case - torre " ( i.e. tower-houses ) were built one beside the other all along the narrow and steep little valley of the Vernazzola Stream ( now covered ) and goes down till the Main Sq. thats open over the little natural harbour .

Back in the Medieval times, around 1200 a.d., the village became part of the Genoa Republic. They built defensive fortifications against the the raids of the Saraceni pirates.

One can still spot the architectural legacy of that everywere in the village , among them check - out the Doria Castle and the lookout Towers.

The Genovesi take advantage of the unique little harbour to built the Galee , a kind of galeon war ships , that they used in the war against Pisa.

Fast forward to more recent times, during the early years of 1800, a railroad connecting Genova to La Spezia was built, and this help to break the isolation of the village.

About a century later, in 1928 this railroad was updated.

A couple of decades after War, during the '60 , a period still remember in Italy as " the economic - boom " , the Cinque Terre were "discovered " as a tourist destination, and keep on flourish more and more by the years.


The Church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia ( 1318 ) was built on a giant boulder on the right side of the harbour. It's architectural style is the ligurian -gothic , very well restored in 1964/70 .

On the other side the Castello dei Doria is located , with it's cilindrical lookout Tower called Belforte.

It can be visited for a fee ,that for sure whorth the wonderful view of the whole village and the coast from there.


In about 1h time , following Path nr. 8 trough the olive trees terraces , you'll reach his site dates back to the XI Century. Located up in the hill at about 310 meters above the sea level , where the original settlement of Vernazza were.

Needless to say, that the view is breathtaking !!


Large part of the Cinque Terre's tourist success is due to their paths and walks which curve round the coast or reach the sanctuaries above each village.
The most famous of them all is for sure " La Via dell'Amore" ( i.e. The Path of Love ) .

It runs from Riomaggiore to Manarola for about 1km, or 50 minutes walk.

It's story is interesting to know.

It was build for a practical purpose in the early '20 of the last century.

Back then they decided to improve and update the railway connection between Genoa and La Spezia.

A place was needed to store all the mines to be used for the job. A narrow path was cut on the side of the hill , just above the sea level.

After the job was done, the locals didn't miss the opportunity to make a good use of the now enlarged path, known as " La Strada Nuova " (i.e. the New Road ) for their business.

In the early '60 it was discovered by tourists and renamed with the more evocative name of " The Path of Love " .

In the '80 thanks to the economic help from the E.U. was restored and refurbish to properly welcome the always increasing numbers of people who came here from around the world to enjoy it.

Needless to say that the view is breathtaking and the walk is suitable for anyone. Minimun equipment is needed: walking shoes , long tousers, some water, an hat during the summer, a sport jacket in autumn .

These , and all of the other paths can also be a kind of .. " one way paths "..... one can always come back from these walks using public transportation , like the train, the boat or the bus...... after all....you're on vacation here !!!

Planning to stay a little longer ?? Click here for more suggestions !!!

Want to know more about the " Sentieri " ? Click here !!

Please remember that the Cinque Terre is a Natural Park, and a Marine Protected Area.

Download here the Park Rules to follow if you're sailing along the coast .


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