Vernazza Is Poetry in Motion Along Northern Italy’s Cinque Terre

Sun-drenched shores and an ever-welcoming culture whispered an unforgettable story during my four days in Vernazza.

By: Judy Schumaker, La Nostra Voce

A simple “thank you, Vernazza” is not enough for all you have given me.

From your first train station village views, your daily “Buongiorno” from all who crossed my path, your sunrises and sunsets, and the last sounds of the Ligurian Sea—my heart is full.

I did not visit Vernazza for a couple of hours, or for a day, but for four glorious, amazing days.

I experienced kindness, respect, Italian conversation, smiles, laughter, handmade goods and the flavors of the region through food, local wines and my daily gelato tasting.

A street side view of the colorful houses on a sunny September day In Vernazza, Italy.

Your nightlife is all part of “La Passeggiata,” walking, connecting with friends and discussing the goings on of the day.

The first act was the crescendo of the sunsets over the Ligurian Sea. I have never seen sunsets this artistic. The sky is painted in pinks, blues and oranges. The pink was criss-crossed lines on a blue background with orange accents. They are different every night. There are short walls to sit on and lean against, and large boulders from which to watch the performance. The musical accompaniment is the concert of the sea’s waves lapping the shore.

The second act is the decrescendo of the glorious, large moon and vibrant stars that light the night sky quietly and beautifully (bellisima). All of this is reflected in the Ligurian Sea, the moon as a large, softened, shining light, and the multitudes of stars as a glistening and sparking path out to sea.

Under the stars in Cinque Terre (“Five Lands”).

The finale is when I have climbed up the sloping street and my 60 steps, plus one with the mountain; each step uneven and uniquely shaped take me up to my lodging. Once back in my room that faces the Main Street, I am lulled to sleep by the sounds of the many conversations, the singing in the street and the dogs barking. I can hear the street life of Vernazza through my window with no screen, and partially open shutters.

Stone stairs carved through narrow passageways make every step feel like a journey.

You operate like olive oil: pure, simple and uncomplicated. It was magical and transforming to wake up each day.

You begin each morning with daily restaurant food deliveries, fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to shops, trash/recycle pickup, and magazine and newspaper deliveries.

This article first appeared in La Nostra Voce, ISDA’s 28-page monthly newspaper, which chronicles Italian-American culture, traditions and travel. Subscribe today.

The shop canopies open as you wake up. The smells of fresh marmellata (horns stuffed with apricot preserves), spinach pies, focaccia bread with different toppings, pizza, vegetable tarts, meat, cheese and vegetable sandwiches, cookies and other sweets. No breakfast is complete without a fresh made espresso.

Smiles, laughs, songs and conversations abound. The train noise signals the start of each new day full of adventure. The church bells peal and say, “Buongiorno.” The waves gently smashing the beach and rocks are pure music to my earsI am always ready early to create memories in the villages of Cinque Terre through people, sights, food, experiences and surprises.

Vernazza fishing village in Five Lands and Mediterranean Sea, Cinque Terre National Park, Liguria, Italy.

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