Wednesday, June  19, 2019
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Beyond the kiosk, the trail began morphing into one of Vernazza's laneways. We began to walk past furnished terraces, bars, house entrances. The laneway wound down around an old-looking tower (festooned with comms equipment), descending steeply and with an excellent view of Vernazza, which was now completely visible from upper tip down to the harbour. Soon we descended down into the main mass of buildings, standing shoulder-to-shoulder (the buildings, not us).
Vernazza comes more into view
Tourist Traffic
Turning into a laneway
courtesy RHanel
Town of Towers
Typical alleyway transport
Rooftops of Vernazza
courtesy RHanel
Winding Descent
Sea-themed shrine
Start of 592 to Corniglia
Trail 592 crosses the upper reaches of Vernazza and continues on its way north to Monterosso. However, we wanted to stop and explore the town, so upon reaching the first major laneway (called the via carattino), we turned off 592 and descended left, roughly towards the center of town but staying above it.
courtesy JInnes
Worn Door Knocker
Via Carattino
Incredibly thin house
The wander down through the town was as quaint, colorful, and scenic as we had come to expect from Cinque Terre town exploration. Similarly to our back-way walk into downtown Manarola yesterday, we found that our choice of an off-the-beaten path yielded a quiet, tourist-free (well, except for us, of course) experience.

We soon bottomed out at sea level and emerged along the wide Via Roma, Vernazza's main throughfare. As might be expected, visitor traffic was substantial here, as were many little shops, restaurants, gelaterias, and other sorts of spots you would expect in a locale like this. We wandered up the main drag and on to the town's northern slopes, before making our way back down, arriving finally at the harbour area. Vernazza's harbour was quite scenic and spacious - in fact, the nicest harbour of the Cinque Terre towns thus far.
Quiet Backstreet
Vernazza main drag
Via Roma
courtesy RHanel
Old Trail Schematic
Via Roma
Vernazza Vegetable Stand
courtesy JInnes
courtesy RHanel
Flowers, Vernazza
Inter-building supports
Piazza Marconi
Piazza Marconi
Vernazza Boat Ramp
Roland had visited Vernazza before, and he recommended that we visit the town's old castello, perched on the point of land jutting out into the sea and which sported the distinctive dark grey tower visible from up and down the coast. We followed his recommendation, and climbed up through narrow streets to the castle's entrance (minor entrance fee required).
To the Castello
The word "castle" is a bit of an excessive word to use when describing the old castello (more specifically called the castello Doria). It is actually quite small, and was more of a strategic defense point and lookout than actual full-blown castle. The oldest parts of the construction dates to the thirteenth century, including the old watchtower, which is pretty much the only structure of significance remaining. Both the open courtyard around the tower and the top of the tower itself (which we ascended) offered excellent views of the coast. Even better, though, are the views of Vernazza, spread out below.
courtesy JInnes
Clear Turquoise Waters
Castello Doria
Exploring Castle Nooks
Castle View of Vernazza
South from Castello
courtesy JInnes
North from Castello
Colorful Boats at Anchor
Tower staircase
After enjoying the view from the castle's tower, we descended back to Vernazza's harbour, where we had a quick lunch at a pizzeria in the neighboring Piazza Marconi (where a very chatty American military IT guy sat next to us along with his family and Dutch girlfriend).

After lunch, we spent a few more minutes checking out Vernazza's picturesque waterfront. After examining the 13th century harbourside Church of Santa Margherita, we walked out along the modern pier. Extending out into the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the harbour, it offered yet another beautiful perspective on the town.
Seaside storefronts
Chiesa S. Margherita
Vernazza Harbour
Vernazza Gelateria
Vernazza from the Pier
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