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Vernazza and Monterosso, Italy – Travel Guide by CoziNest

I fell in love with Cinque Terre and the villages of Vernazza and Monterosso. “Cinque Terre” is Italian for “5 Lands”. 007 and I were fortunate enough to see 3 of the 5 villages on our recent trip. The villages are located on the Ligurian coast in north western Italy which is often referred to as the Italian Riviera. Join me as I reminisce about two of these beautiful pastel towns.

Vernazza and Monterosso

Vernazza and MonterossoIn addition, the capital of the region is Genoa. You may recall that the little kingdom of Genovia in The Princess Diaries was complete fantasy in the movie. However, this delightfully charming region, could easily serve as home to a princess. Many times, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was really there.

Map of Cinque Terre

From Manorola to Vernazza

After our visit to Manorola, we enjoyed our train trip from Manorola to Vernazza. It was a very cool way to travel.Trenitalia

The off season in Vernazza was very busy! I can only imagine what it is like in high season. It is such a charming little village. It was smaller than other villages we visited, but people were friendly, the food delicious and sites breathtaking. In fact, Vernazza made us both feel like we were extras in a European movie.

Vernazza in Off Season

There was no mistaking that this began as a sleepy little fishing village. There were boats everywhere, on sidewalks, on shore, and offshore. We loved that there were no cars. Local travel was by foot, bicycle or boat.Boats

I’ve always thought of sidewalk cafés as French, but they were everywhere along the coast of Italy. Sidewalk Cafe in Vernazza

The piazza (town square) was a lovely meeting place. I wonder what it was like to live in a town where people gathered regularly to enjoy each other’s company. Do you have a piazza where you live?

Vernazza church tower

We had a lovely snack in Vernazza overlooking the piazza. We had delightful conversations with other tourists as well as our waiter at the small sidewalk cafe near the natural pier.Wine fruit and peanuts

This old town walkway led to the natural pier and our water taxi.Walkway to Natural Pier Vernazza

We had our own cozy corner at a local cafe in Vernazza.A cozy corner

From Vernazza to Monterosso

Then we took a water taxi from Vernazza to Monterosso. It was a short ride, only 10 minutes or less, but the coastline was gorgeous.Water taxi

View from the Water Taxi

View of the castle in Monterosso from the water taxi. Fortress

Serena, our local tour guide in Cinque Terre. We both loved hearing her describe the area.  She seemed to sing her words as she spoke. Tour Guide Serena

Boats in the harbor of Monterosso.Two Boats of Cinque Terre

The coast and landscape were breathtaking.Harbor

In Monterosso we found a couple of souvenirs to add to our collection.  Souvenir

OLD TOWN Monterosso coastline is the largest of the 5 lands.Rocky Shore

Certainly, there are many church towers throughout Europe. The history in each one is something I love learning. Italy has many ancient churches and cathedrals. This is the ancient tower of the Genoa guards. The tower is part of the San Giovanni Battista church.Rock Clock Tower

Just like Vernazza, traffic was either by foot, bicycle or boat. This blue bike was leaning near the Pizzeria del Ely.

blue bicycle

007 and I had a delicious lunch at the Pizzeria da Ely Ristorante. Our meal included ravioli with pesto, not traditional red sauce, bread and olive oil dip and the house wine. Not only was the meal wonderful, but the bread and olive oil were the best of the trip. One word of caution though. There are smokers everywhere in Europe and Monterosso was no exception. There are not “smoking sections”, but people smoke anywhere they like. We were lucky enough to sit in a corner by ourselves without smokers.Pizzeria da Ely

The cafe sign right outside our little “tent.”pizzeria da ely ristorante

And lastly, we visited the public beach in the NEW part of Monterosso. Old Town Monerosso

Coupled with the scenery, it was fun seeing locals enjoying the beach in the new section of Monterosso. Beach of Monerosso

Our local guide to Monterosso was Enrico. He was hilarious, friendly and very knowledgeable. He told us to tell our friends that it’s best to visit Cinque Terre in off seasons. “During ah high seasons, it’s a nightamara to get around.” However, don’t let that hinder your visit to Vernazza and Monterosso. It’s a must see!

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