Many tourists are invading Cinque Terre recently, they are writing a lot of articles about these places and posting innumerable photos on Instagram or Facebook showing the colorful town overlooking the sea. Everyone thinks it is like a paradise, that they would like to come and visit but bear in mind, it is not that paradise you are thinking of! You must remember a few information that could be useful during your stay in Cinque Terre and since I am a local, I know a lot about this area. I had already written an article about the best way to travel here but now I am going to write more about every town with some history and advices that could come into use.
Some Information About Corniglia
Corniglia is the least known among the Cinque Terre, I do not know why, but for example the ferry ride does not stop here and the tourists themselves see this place just as a stopover. According to me Corniglia is quite underestimated both by the locals and tourists. It is a lovely village, the only one out of the five that is not located directly near the sea but, instead, it overhangs the sea. The town of Corniglia dates back to Roman time as the name itself comes from Gens Cornelia, probably a Roman family. Another proof that corroborates more this theory is that in Pompeii they digged out some wine amphoraes on which there is written “Cornelia“.
How To Reach Corniglia
There are many ways to reach here: by car it is quite hard because the road is narrow and bumpy (and during summer, it is always under renovation). The best way, as I have already said, is using the train but here there is a big problem. Corniglia is not like other Cinque Terre towns because it is located on a cliff and once you get off the train, you do not find yourself in the town centre but in the middle of nowhere. In order to go up, you either walk up a steep and an endless stairway or you just wait for the bus, which comes every ten minutes. The bus stop is just outside the train station. For further information about train tickets and how to move around, just check my previous post Cinque Terre Tips.
Corniglia town centre is very lovely: it is made up of narrow alleyways and small shops selling typical food or clothes. There are a lot of nice alleyways that are waiting to be discovered and explored. It is divided into two parts: the right part and the left part. The biggest part of the town is on the right side where you can find good ice-cream shops and some nice views over the sea. You can also notice how some houses in Corniglia are crumbling down in the town centre, a sight that can be rarely seen in other places in Cinque Terre.
A beautiful place I fell in love with is the big balcony overlooking the sea located at the end of the village where you can have a fantastic view over the other Cinque Terre towns. There is also a small bar that offers a special aperitivo. I highly advice to have a look here if you are searching for a quiet and scenic place with good food. But the best thing to do is to just get lost in the innumerable alleyways that make up the town of Corniglia: they are narrow, suggestive, built entirely in stone with colorful flowers hanged everywhere.
There is a place that is often avoided by tourists because it is located on the other side of Corniglia town. Here you can come across a ligurian gothic church named San Pietro built in the 14th century by a group of workers that came from Como. The church is perfect if you are searching for picturesque photos because in front of it, there is a house whose owner always hangs outside her blankets ahah On the right, there is a path leading to a narrow alleyway surrounded by houses and walls, from here you can have a beautiful glimpse of the town (but only if you climb the wall, it is not too tall though).
…And The Sea
Cinque Terre towns do not have decent beaches expect Monterosso, we mainly have rocky beaches that for some people can be quite uncomfortable. Corniglia is among the rocky beaches but it is still quite good because the power of the sea shaped the rocks and made them smaller and circular. It is the least crowded that you can find in the area, unlike the beach in Riomaggiore or the various beaches in Monterosso, all packed with people. But finding Corniglia beach is quite hard and could discourage you. It is located just outside the train station, you need to find the stairways that bring you down to a place that can be described as sewers.
Then, you pass through an old and crumbled summer village, which was used during the 60s until 90s, but now it is abandoned. The scene is very sad: these half destroyed and burned down houses all arranged in a row with trash thrown everywhere, this is a shame. The locals tried to do something but it is rumoured to be owned by a private that wants a resort to be built there even though the locals are opposing it with all their strength…so now everything is stuck.
There are two routes to reach the beach; one is proceeding walking on the same path where the old houses are located until you find a stairway whose final part is made of wood. If you are an adventurous type, I higly advice you to use this path but if you are not, just stop halfway and you will find another route to reach the beach, less dangerous but it is inacessable if the sea is too wavy.
For any other questions about this village or Cinque Terre in general, just make a comment below, I would be pleased to help you all 🙂