Vernazza - Cinque Terre - Italy
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Vernazza

The 4th town that makes up Cinque Terre, Vernazza is my favorite. I know I'm not alone in that, because every time I've visited, it is quite full of happy travelers mingling with the locals.

There are lots of things about Vernazza that make it known as "the jewel of Cinque Terre", and probably the first thing would be the beach. It is the only town in the Cinque Terre that has the closest thing to a natural harbor and offers superb swimming - safe for kids too.

The town has 500 residents - all very proud of their Vernazzan heritage and you may hear some bragging about the fact that it is "locally owned - not like Portofino who sold out..." Basically, this means the residents got busy and stopped construction of a major road into the town and region.

Visiting the Cinque Terre is like visiting a living history. Families are very close-knit and go back a few centuries. Generations tend to stick together and homes owned are passed down within the family.

What do the Vernazzan's do for passing the time? Simple. Passeggiata, or in plain English, strolling slowly up and down the main street. It is a slower paced-life than most of us are used to and a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

My favorite thing to do when visiting this lovely town, is to sit on one of the benches overlooking the harbor, people watch and eat gelato. the small town square right there at the harbor, know as Piazza Marconi is a painting waiting to happen. With it's multi-colored table umbrellas surrounded by old, tall, pastel painted buildings and the surrounding hills, you feel very cozy and at the same time far, far away from city life. Here, you can learn and live the phrase, "vita pigra di Vernazza" or the lazy life of Vernazza.

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