Known as the 3rd town of the "five lands" of Cinque Terre - connected by train and trail, Corniglia is a frazione (the Italian word for fraction) of the hamlet of Vernazza. (Found in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, Italy - what a mouthful!). It's considered to be the "quiet" town - particularly since it doesn't have the glamor of an accessible beach front.
Perched high above the sea, Corniglia is surrounded on three sides by many picturesque vineyards and terraces, while the fourth side hurtles steeply down to the Ligurian waters below.
To reach Corniglia, one needs to climb the Lardarina, a long flight of steps made from brick. A little interresting tidbit: the climb is not for the faint of heart. It is composed of 33 flights of stairs, with nearly 400 steps. If you don't like walking up stairs, the alternative is to follow a road that, from the train station, takes you to the village.
Corniglia, along with the other 4 towns (Riomaggiore, Manarolo, Vernazza, and Monterosso) are connected by train and trail. The train is a small "milk train" that makes stops daily in each of the towns. If you are more adventuresome, take the trail known as the Sentiero no. 2 or Sentiero Azzuro. Sentiero in Italian means - you guessed it - trail. This trial is 11 kilometers long and if the whole trail is open, it takes about 5 hours to walk it in its entirety. One thing to keep in mind - the total elevation difference between the highest and lowest points of the trail is 500 meters, which makes for some vigorous hiking.
This tiny village of only 240 people has houses stretching along the main road, Via Fieschi. You'll see colorful homes - some facing the road and the others facing the sea.
Part of the charm of Corniglia is that it isn't as frequented by tourists as much as the other small fishing villages that make up Cinque Terre and it is characterized by it's winding, narrow roads and finely crafted terraces. It's a little bit cooler in climate than the other towns, it has a few restaurants and always seems to have an abundance of rooms for rent (affita camera).
Although each of the 5 towns have similiarities, Corniglia's town planning structure differs from the others in that you'll notice the houses are set lower and until recent times, were never built as high as ones that you'd find in Manarola or Riomaggiore.
One of the nice things about visiting this particular town in the Cinque Terre is you can sit in the town square all day and read a book, hike the nearby trails, taste the local wines and food, or sit at a cafe in the sunshine watching the local kids - if they are not in school. Whatever you choose to do here, you can be assured that you'll be participating in the secret that many Italians in this part of Italy have discovered, Il dolce far niente, "the sweetness of doing nothing."
More about Corniglia
Corniglia Points of Interest
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