Vernazza, Italy

by Larry A. Burns, Jr.
Contributing writer

The quaint fishing village of Vernazza, Italy, promises its visitors an adventure that they will remember for the rest of their life.

Vernazza is one of five villages located upon the crown of Italy’s Le Cinque Terre coastline. Le Cinque Terre translates to “the five lands” and is named after the five cities located in the region: Monterossa Al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, all of which are astonishing.

I traveled to the Le Cinque Terre region three times last year and still haven’t had enough. The high mountains are striped with hundreds of thousands of rows of grapevines and beautiful, picturesque villages are nestled at the feet of the steep cliff sides. It will make you feel as though you have been transported back into the Middle Ages when the villages in Le Cinque Terre were first established.

The trip to Vernazza should take approximately nine hours by car from the KMC.
However, for a more scenic route, my recommendation is to drive to the Italian city of Genova, also spelled Genoa, and go south along the coast on the SP1.

Taking this route will tack on approximately two hours to the drive, but is well worth it. It will take you through Portofino and Santa Margherita.

Santa Margherita is home to one of my favorite cafes, and is the place where I had the best cappuccino I’ve ever tasted. If you ever travel to Santa Margherita, the name of the cafe is Reve Cafe & Restaurant.

Taking this route makes the trip to Vernazza much more exciting. However, if you want to take a more direct route, you can travel the A12 from Genova. This is the route that your GPS will take you.

Once you arrive at Vernazza, you can park your car and walk down into the village. Parking costs about €20 per day.

There are many hotels in Vernazza. You can find accomodations for as little as €70 per night. Many of the hotels don’t just have rooms, they have apartments.

Vernazza has a wide variety of food and drink. You must try the focaccia bread, local parmesan cheese and prosciutto for breakfast with a cappuccino. There is a great little cafe that opens at 7 a.m. called The Blue Marlin where you can get this exact meal.

For dinner, try the steamed mussels, a pasta dish or the salted anchovy appetizers. My two recommendations for dinner are Il Baretto and Gianni Franzi, which is also a great hotel. For dessert, try the local gelato.

If you are a wine buff or just like to sample good wine, Vernazza is definitely the place to do it. The specialty dessert wine, which is made locally, is called Sciacchertra and it is absolutely amazing. You can try it at a little place called Bargus on the town square.

During warm months, Vernazza is a great place for swimming and snorkeling. If you don’t have your own gear, gear is available for purchase at a few small markets.

Additionally, there is a castle towering above the city. Tours are available.
I recommend that you do your coastal traveling during the day. The sites are amazing and the photo ops endless.