Vernazza & Montorosso Al Mare

Cinque Terre – Vernazza and Monterosso Al Mare

I left the last two villages on the Cinque Terre until last. It was far more important to get Portovenere done properly rather than run out of time& not have amazing images from there at all.

The first stop was Vernazza. A stunning little village & community formed towards the year 1000 around the chapel. Vernazza is the only village on the Cinque Terre to have a harbor; this is known to have been in use in antiquity. The port has made Vernazza the richest village in the area while the combination of the surroundings & architectural grace also make it one of the prettiest in my opinion. In ancient times in order to combat the assaults by the Saracen pirates who were punishing the Ligurian coast, Castle Doria was build. It was build around the 11th century on the rocky spur that dominates the village. All that remains of this old base is the fort & the ruins of some of the towers. Proud of their Vernazzan heritage, the town’s 500 residents like to brag: “Vernazza is locally owned. Portofino (a nearby commercial village) has sold out.” Families are tight & go back centuries; several generations stay together. There is much leisure time here for the locals & they call it “vita pigra di Vernazza”…the lazy life of Vernazza.

The last village was Monterosso Al Mare which comprises of the Old & New villages. Unfortunately as time sped away I couldn’t get to the Old town, but nonetheless I was more captivated by the New village & especially the statue of the Giant (Il Gigante), which was carved out of concrete & set into the cliff face over looking the sea. A few decades ago a violent storm hit the coastline & the Giant lost a few of his limbs. The locals have left him that way, as they believe that even a “broken man” can protect their coastline & bless the fishermen & people with sea food! It is an amazing piece of sculpturing & dominates the area. Monterosso is the largest village in Cinque Terre & the most popular with tourists. This village has very few cars & loads of hotels, rentable beach umbrellas, crowds & a thriving nightlife. Monterosso is the only village to have been build on flat land. Unfortunately due to the amount of tourists in this town a decision was made to get back to the beautiful Portovenere to take images at night of the village’s harbor, St Pietro’s Church from as high up as the old upper castle & to also enjoy the last dinner before heading back to Florence in the morning.