THE CHURCH OF SANTA MARGHERITA D'ANTIOCHIA
Legend has it that in ancient times, a small wooden box was found along the coast of Vernazza, containing the bones of a finger of Santa Margherita's hand. After shouting the miracle, the inhabitants decided to build a church in honor of the Saint in the district called Isolotto. A strong storm, however, dispersed the relic and it appeared only some time later, exactly where it was first found. The Vernazzesi then built the church there, overlooking the sea, where it is today.
More prosaically, the church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia was built in the 13th century in the Gothic-Ligurian style by the Antelami Masters on a pre-existing Romanesque building. Mentioned for the first time in 1318, it stands on a rock overlooking the sea. The octagonal tower, 40 meters high, is crowned by small arches and ends with an ogival dome. Between 1500 and 1600 the church was enlarged, extending the hall by two bells per nave, to the detriment of the original medieval façade which was destroyed. In 1750, new works on the church led to the covering of the Romanesque interior with Baroque style coverings, also replacing the wooden roof with vaults and raising the bell tower. In more recent times, in the years 1964-1970, the church was partially restored with the original internal structure and recovering the exposed wooden roof.
The church has two entrances: the main one is more hidden and less easy to reach, and a more comfortable one, in one of the apses overlooking the tree-lined square in front of the marina, opened during the 19th century. The interior with three naves is raised above the level of the square. It houses two 17th century canvases, the Baroque high altar from 1750, an 18th century processional chest and a wooden crucifix attributed to Anton Maria Maragliano.