Vernazza of the Cinque Terre

"Hanging the sheets out to dry..."

“Hanging the sheets out to dry…”

Vernazza is a town and comune located in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, in northwestern Italy, along the banks of the Italian Riviera.  It is one of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre region, and the fourth town heading north along the Italian Riviera.

The history of Vernazza dates back as far back as the 11th century.  It was originally a small naval base of Obertenghi, a Italian family of nobility.  Over the next two centuries, Vernazza was vital in the republic of Genova’s conquest of the Ligurian province, providing port, fleet and soldiers.  Around the 1800’s, Vernazza experienced a revitalization of its economy thanks to a rail line connecting the towns in the Cinque Terre to the large seaport town of La Spezia, not to mention a new naval yard there which provided employment to the residents of this seafaring town.  Along with a boom in wine production and creating new terraced hillsides, Vernazza went from a long period of isolation to a population increase.

"Canucks, or Americans disguised as Canucks?"

“Canucks, or Americans disguised as Canucks?”

When I stepped off the train at the Vernazza train station, this town looked much larger than any of the other Cinque Terre towns I had visited previously.  For starters, the station was not on the edge of the sea or teetering on the side of a mountain, but elevated above the ground, like an L station in Chicago.  But based on the design, more like an Long Island Railroad station in Queens.  The town was brimming with excitement, but had another thing that usually kills the ambiance when I am visiting an exotic locale: tourists.  I couldn’t blame them for wanting to see such a beautiful place, but I wish they would keep it to a minimum; so many tourists in one location can really kill the mood.  Then again, tourism does count for a big part of Vernazza’s economy, so it is, in a way, a mixed-blessing.

"Row row row your boat, gently into Vernazza..."

“Row row row your boat, gently into Vernazza…”

"Beach Blanket Vernazza!"

“Beach Blanket Vernazza!”

The best part of Vernazza was when I walked to the end of the street, and I was introduced to one of the most beautiful beaches I’d ever seen.  A cute little cove, with colorful rowboats, surrounded by the familiar sight of colorful houses.  Oh, I was so tempted to take a swim, except for the fact that I was with a tour group at the time, and I wasn’t wearing a bathing suit. Oh, and who would hold my wallet?  I thought so.  Nonetheless, I just sat down on the sand, and watched the tide slowly come in.  For a few minutes, swim or no swim, I felt happy.  On my way back to the station, I passed by a little restaurant where I saw a man in a tank-top stacking produce and watching a soccer match in Italian on a little TV.  If I understood Italian better, I would’ve stayed for the entire match, just so I could be a spectator to the sport of watching Europeans watching soccer!

On October 25th, 2011, Vernazza was struck by torrential rains, massive flooding and mudslides that left the town buried in over 16 ft. of mud and debris, causing over 100 million euro worth of damage.  The town was evacuated and remained in a continued state of emergency.

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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