Corniglia is the central village of the Cinque Terre, located on a rocky spur between Vernazza, of which it belongs administratively and Manarola. Surrounded by terraces planted with vines, it is the only seaside village in the Cinque Terre that does not have direct access to the sea, high on the top of a promontory of about ninety meters.
Probably of Roman origins, Corniglia is named after a family that owned the territory at the time, the Gens Cornelia. It was famous in ancient times for its wine, as evidenced by some amphorae found in Pompeii, on which the name of "Cornelia" was present. The medieval writer Boccaccio also remembers Corniglia for this reason in his Decameron. In medieval times it was part of the territories of the counts of Lavagna, the lords of Carpena and Luni, until it passed to Nicolò Fieschi in 1254 and then definitively to Genoa in 1276. Evidence of that era can be found in the main alley, Via Fieschi, and in the small square that opens in the middle of the alley, Largo Taragio, where the oratory of Santa Caterina stand. Nearby we find a tower, a ruin of an ancient defensive building of the sixteenth century.
What to see
The village therefore develops along a main street from the church of San Pietro to the terrace of Santa Maria, where there was a small church that fell into the sea in the mid-nineteenth century. On the right you can see the Marina di Corniglia below, reachable by a staircase that starts from Largo Taragio, where there is a small port with a pier attached to the steep promontory of the Tre Croci.
The church of San Pietro is a splendid example of Gothic-Ligurian architecture of the fourteenth century, later remodeled with baroque features inside. On June 29 the patron saint is celebrated with a procession that goes from the church to the terrace of Santa Maria and tastes the typical dish of Corniglia, the rice cake. Instead on September 8 the sanctuary of San Bernardino is celebrated, dedicated to Our Lady of Grace, from which you can enjoy a unique panorama.
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Where to sleep
You are plenty of choice for your stay in Corniglia. The tourist facilities are almost all in the village itself, mainly rooms and bed and breakfasts. The choice of farmhouses is limited, while there are no hotels in Corniglia.
Where to eat
There are many ideas for lunch, dinner or a snack in Corniglia. From restaurants, trattorias, inns in Corniglia, where to stop for a while and take it easy, to the bars, wine bars, focaccerie, pizza by the slice and ice creams so as not to waste a minute between the alleys of Corniglia and the search for the sea.
In addition to the Marina di Corniglia, the other beaches stretch in the distance: the Spiaggione towards Manarola and the Guvano beach towards Vernazza. The Spiaggione was formed following the unloading of materials from the construction of the new railway line. It can be reached by exiting the train station, taking to the right and passing the old Europa Village. In the original idea, it was to be a tourist village, today in ruins, built in the 1960s with forty bungalows. It was abandoned after the erosion of the beach and never condoned. The Guvano beach, on the other hand, a famous nudist beach, surmounted by the railroad wall is now accessible only by sea, due to the closure of the old railway tunnel from which it was accessed and also due to the impracticability of the path that reaches it from San Bernardino.
Find out in detail where to swim in Corniglia.
In fact, numerous trekking routes wind and pass from the village, including the 2b of the Blue Trail, from the Corniglia station to Manarola; the 2c, always on the Blue Tral, which climbs from Corniglia to San Bernardino; path 7 which leads to high path 1, from which you can deviate towards Volastra and Manarola taking path 6d. .
How to get to Corniglia
The recommended means of transport is the train, which shuttles between La Spezia and Levanto and with numerous daily trips. Once at the station, it is possible to go up to Corniglia from the Lardarina, a long staircase of 377 steps.
By car is not recommended, both for the conditions of the road, which is very narrow and for the limited number of parking spaces. In fact there is only one small parking about 1 km from the village.