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Corniglia to Monterosso al Mare
Tuesday, September 8
courtesy RHanel
View from Apartment
Happily, another beautifully sunny morning dawned for the second day of our trek north along the Cinque Terre. Today we would be completing our journey, departing from Corniglia and continuing to Vernazza, and then finally to the northernmost of the CT towns, Monterosso al Mare.
Start of third day
Much like the day before, we were fully ready and walking out the door shortly after 9 a.m. After filling up our water at the fountain located a few steps up the laneway, we began our walk through the town streets to the intersection with the coastal pathway. Unlike yesterday, where we first had to transport ourselves by train down to Riomaggiore, today we only needed to locate the path through town and start walking north.

Unlike the first two segments (Riomaggiore-Manarola and Manarola-Corniglia), the main coastal path (#592, Sentiero Azzurro) was open between Corniglia and Vernazza. Therefore, that was the route we planned on following today - no alternate higher route was required.
courtesy JInnes
Our next slopes
Morning in Corniglia
Vineyard Tram
courtesy JInnes
Tram Rail
After walking up through town, we soon came to the intersection with the start of the northbound leg of 592 from Corniglia (only a hundred or so metres below where our car was parked). Starting off along the trail, we immediately crossed a deep shady creekbed on an old bridge and began winding up along very narrow stone corridors through an olive grove. Soon we left the farmyards behind and the trail climbed up through forested land, mostly in the shade.
courtesy RHanel
courtesy RHanel
To Vernazza
Distance Chart
Crossing Corniglia's stream
courtesy JInnes
592 to Vernazza
Narrow Vineyard Path
Narrow Vineyard Path
More Stone Bridges
Ten minutes of walking upwards through forest land brought us to a couple of limited viewpoints above the coast and back towards Corniglia. The landscape seemed more undisturbed along this stretch: just coastline and maquis (Mediterranean scrubland) slopes, with not much sign of cultivation or settlement.

The path turned a corner and continued traversing along forested slopes, contouring along on a slight upward grade as it followed the ins and outs of the terrain.
courtesy RHanel
Safety info
Northern Cinque Terre Coast
Coastline north of Corniglia
Well-fenced path
There was quite a lot of hiker traffic along this stretch of trail - more, in fact, than we had seen so far since starting out from Riomaggiore the day before. Perhaps, we thought, this was because we were actually on the main sentiero azzurro now, rather than on a bypass route.
courtesy JInnes
Slopes between Corniglia and Vernazza
View back to Corniglia
Corniglia Zoomed
A few more views back to Corniglia became available as the trail contoured back out towards the sea. There were a few minor steep uphill steps, but other than that, the grade was a constant gentle up. You could tell that this was a more arterial path than the ones from the previous day: progress and emergency help signs were posted every few hundred metres, and there was extensive trailside fencing. And, of course, the aforementioned hiker traffic, which continued unabated.
Beautiful cobbled path
Steep Stair stretch
Roland hikes the Cinque Terre
courtesy JInnes
Corniglia and Manarola
The trail from Corniglia to Vernazza soon reached its apex, at a height of about 700 feet ASL (210m). At this point, the trail came out of the trees and provided yet more nice views over the sea and back to Corniglia. It also ran directly through a compact cluster of buildings (known as "Prevo") housing a small bar, rooms for rent, and (presumably) some residences. Within seconds your walk through these buildings is complete (unless, of course, you wish to stop for a coffee, a cold drink, or a snack), and one is back onto the intermittently-forested slopes. The trail gradually started descending (in the northerly direction) from this point.
courtesy RHanel
Farm Traffic
Prevo Terrace
Mid-trail stop
Coming from Corniglia
Continuing north, the walking was easy: a gradual descent across mostly forested slopes, maquis (Mediterranean scrubland), and olive groves, occasionally with limited sea views. Most of Vernazza was still invisible to us, hidden behind a forested rib of land. For a while, all we could see of the town was the short grey tower of its castello.
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
Surveying Path
Olive Grove
Final two towns
Descent towards Vernazza
Again, well-fenced
Trail repairs
An easy half-hour of additional downhill walking and we were nearing Vernazza. We could now see the outermost part of the town, attractively perched on a rocky rib jutting out into the sea.

We soon arrived at a small trailside kiosk, manned by a park employee and surrounded by hikers. This was a toll booth, and fares were being collected for users of the stretch of sentiero Azzurro between Vernazza and Corniglia. We had our cinque terre park passes, and upon showing them to the park lady, we were allowed to pass without any additional fees.
Pleasant Walking
Approaching Vernazza
507 junction
Approaching toll station
Toll Station
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