I spent nearly a month in Italy, saving Corniglia, Cinque Terre for the last 4 days of my trip. While saying that I “saved the best for last” has never been more applicable, I was so sad I didn’t get to spend more time in this incredible place. The food was staggeringly fresh and well prepared, the hosts of the bed and breakfast super welcoming, and the views altogether awe-inspiring.
I arrived too late my first day to really do anything, so I left my things in the room and went exploring. All the streets and stairs are cobblestone, and nearly all of the buildings are brilliantly coloured. Corniglia sits high on a cliff, so getting a bird’s eye view of everything below is easy. I noticed that the various squares in the town (which actually were more like large cul de sacs with restaurants and residences surrounding them) were fairly empty during even the early evening hours. Having spent some time in Italy, I had found that this is pretty common, as the locals don’t typically start dining and socializing until around 9 – 10 p.m.
The next day, I took a hike, which lead me past huge, sweeping vineyards to ocean views and new discoveries in other little towns. Definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had to date.
If you’re looking to avoid tourist-y areas, Corniglia is great. Vernazza, however, is definitely not. Super developed and obviously accustomed to catering to tourists.