Founded around the year 1.000 by the inhabitants of a village in the surroundings of Reggio, Vernazza acquired in the course of the years strong and rooted maritime traditions. In 1276 it is handed over from the Fieschi to the Republic of Genoa. As Vernazza has the only natural port of the Cinque Terre, it lives a period of wealth during Genoa's domination.
This wealth is proved by the houses which add to the classic tower-form more elaborated architectonic forms, like open galleries, arcades and decorated doors.
Vernazza's architecture does not only prove a level of life and a period which are economically and socially superior to the ones of the other centers of the Cinque Terre, but it also causes that Vernazza is considered the most beautiful village of the Cinque Terre, and one of the most fascinating places of the whole Liguria.
The village covers the brook Vernazzola which constitutes the central thoroughfare, and which crosses the urban network consisting of an elevated number of side streets connected by steep stairs and short ways.
Going down the street you will arrive at the picturesque square next to the port: on one side an arcade-palace and mediaeval houses; on the other one the parish church S. Margherita d'Antiochia with the octagonal belfry of 40 meters.
Going up to the village's higher part, you see rests of Genoa's fortifications, which consist of town walls and two defending towers. You arrive at the Municipality's square, from where you will see the whole village.
- Santa Margherita di Antiochia - In 1318 the church in gothic Ligurian style (restructured between 1964 and 1970) was built on a rock in front of the sea on the rests of a construction of the 11th century in 1318. The main entrance is in the north, but because of the lack of place, you have to enter at the apse's side. The inside is divided in three ships, and is reached by going up various stairs. The characteristic impressive octagonal belfry with a height of 40 m is placed on four presbyterial pillars.
- Castle Doria - The castle dominates Vernazza on a rock of a height of more than seventy meters in the village's south. It was built at the middle of the 11th century during the Oberthengi's dominance, who understood immediately Vernazza's strategic importance as main port of the Cinque Terre.
- Church of the Friars - The church is collocated in the village's higher part in the north. It was built on request of the local population in order to offer hospitality to the friars "Minori Riformati" in the middle of the 17th century.
- To Madonna di Reggio - 354 m - path N. 8 - 1 hour In the village's north starts a pedestrian street which after having left behind the cemetery goes up between olive-trees to the Sanctuary, localized at Vernazza's original primitive center.
The building was probably constructed on the rests of an antique praying place in the 11th century. Rests of this place are under the flooring. In the course of the years the sanctuary has been restructured various times.
- To Monterosso - path N. 2 - have a look at the "blue path"
- To Corniglia - path N. 2 - have a look at the "blue path"