Vernazza is one of the five magical small towns in Cinque Terre nature reserve, which owes part of its charm and value to the people who since the dawn of time have built the area up with interesting houses and terraces with their bare hands. The towns are like small beads along the Ligurian coast, and are connected by train, hiking trails and during the mild weather, by boat.
Vernazza is known as the city of artists: because of its location, the light, the angle of the town's light in particular in relation to the four cardinal points and how the architecture differs significantly from the other four Cinque Terre towns. Many artists have over the years chosen to settle here, and that is why Vernazza has retained the creative reputation as an artist colony.
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One of the benefits of Vernazza is that the train runs somewhat behind the town and therefore there is less noise and it also doesn't interrupt the view from the town's piazza. Although the town is small, there is a fine selection of shops, a grocery store and many restaurants that will tempt you with everything from seafood to a pizza ai quattro formaggi (four cheeses).
If you climb up the steep but narrow stairs from the beach you will arrive at the top of Castello dei Doria, from where there are amazing views of both the town and the coast. You will be sure to want to swim when you see the water here so bring your costume! There is also a second beach behind the town's boat Harbour which is very shallow and child-friendly. If you prefer the more open sea you can dive straight in from the pier and swim to the rocks. There are outdoor showers on the beach and pier so you can wash off the sand. The pier is used by many people as a sun terrace.
You can't bring your car into the town which is a good thing as it is free from the noise and pollution of traffic. However, you must park above the town and pay. Arrive early to find a space as there are not that many and the town is very popular. There is a bus from the parking area to the town if you don't feel like walking.
There is a small playground above the train station for children to play and from where there is also a great view for parents to appreciate whilst the children play.