Corniglia trip planner
The Cinque Terre town of Corniglia
The Cinque Terre village of Corniglia perched atop its cliff, with Guvano (nude) beach in the foreground below. (Photo courtesy of dalem.)Corniglia guide
Planning FAQUnlike its four neighbors, the Cinque Terre's central town of Corniglia does not snuggle down in a cove by the seaside but rather perches atop a ridge jutting proudly into the Thyrrhenian, offering some commanding coastal panoramas (best from the end of the narrow main street).
The major disadvantage of arriving at Corniglia from the south (by trail or on the train, which lets you off down by the waters) is that the only way to reach the village is via a set of 365 brick stairs that suicide-switchback their way straight up the ridgeside.
Just look at it as an excuse to reward yourself with a gelato and maybe glass of wine on the tiny main piazza.
Perhaps because of these intimidating steps, or because it's not right down by the water, it's the least touristy of the bunch, offering a glimpse of what the Cinque Terre were like before they became popular.
Stretching south of the Corniglia train station, below the trail to Manarola, is a long beach of the area's typical, small boulders (picture Fred Flintstone's bowling ball, only darker).
Just north of Corniglia is the most famous of the coast's little beaches, Guvano. At an abandoned train station, walk through the spooky tunnel to the metal gate. Ring the bell and you'll be buzzed in by a guy who will want €5 to cross his property to get to the Cinque Terre's only nude beach.
(Note #1: In the "fair warning" department, you should know that the nude beach is full mostly of naked men—men who are, for the most part, very happy that it's full of naked men. If this describes you, have a great time; if not, you might want to try a different beach.)
(Note #2: Deaths are rare on the Cinque Terre trails, but most of those that do occur happen right above Guvano, as would-be peeping Tomassos get a little too close to the edge and slip over on the loose gravel.)
Corniglia rental rooms and apartments
Contact Il Carugio di Corniglia (tel. +39-0187-812-293 or +39-335-175-7946; www.ilcarugiodicorniglia.com) to look into one of its seven modern and relatively spacious apartments and studios with kitchens or kitchenettes (they also have two rooms to rent, without cooking corner) spread over three houses in town. Some have balconies and sea views. The apartments go for €60–€70.
There are more rooms to rent listed at www.parconazionale5terre.it.
- Planning your time: Corniglia has absolutely nothing to see—which is part of what makes it so wonderful. If you came from the south—and had to take all those stairs—you'll want to stop at a cafe on the pocket-sized piazza to reward yourself (and catch your breath) with the aid of a gelato or glass of sweet sciacchetrà wine.
- Admission to the trails: They now have the chutzpah to charge you to hike the old goat paths between the villages. This ticket is called the Cinque Terre Card, and you can get one valid for 1 day (€5), 2 days (€8), 3 days (€10), or 7 days (€20). It includes admission to the trails, use of the (frankly superfluous) tiny buses in some towns, the occasional elevator, and entry to a few tiny museums (local history in Riomaggiore, wine in Manarola, and in Monterosso an aquarium and a museum of anchovy salting—no, seriously).
There are also versions of the Cinque Terre Card that include unlimited train rides or unlimited ferry rides. Unless you're planning to take more than two train rides during your visit, don't bother. A standard train ticket between any of the towns costs just €1.60 to €1.80, while the train version of the card costs roughly €3.50 to €16.50 more per day (meaning you'd have to ride the rails at least three times a day or more to make it worthwhile). And, while nifty, you're unlikely to ride the less-frequent ferry more than once as a sort of mini-cruise.
- How to get to Corniglia: Corniglia is on the regional Cinque Terre rail line, passing Riomaggiore (6–12 min.) Manarola (3 min.), Vernazza (3–7 min.), and Monterosso al Mare (8 min.).
Corniglia is also 14–24 min. by train from La Spezia, where you can change for trains throughout Italy (sometimes you change at nearby Sarzana), including Pisa (1:30–2 hr. total), Lucca (1:45–2:25 hr., often with another change at Viareggio), Florence (2:30–4 hr., sometimes with another change at Pisa), and Rome (4:30–6 hr.).
- Take a tour from Florence: Our partners at Viator.com offer a well-regarded Cinque Terre hiking day trip out of Florence. It's a long (13 hours), but comprehensive tour, and leaves from the Florence train station at 7:30am. It includes bus transportation, rail travel between villages, hikes, a box breakfast, and lunch. Don't want to hike it? There's also a bus tour from Florence version that lets you walk the first, easy trail (Via dell'Amore), and also gives you time to wander four of the five villages (all save Monterosso; no great loss).
- Hiking the Cinque Terre
- How to get around the Cinque Terre
- Hotels in the Cinque Terre (all the towns on one page)
- Other Cinque Terre towns: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare
- Cinque Terre homepage
This material was last updated March 2011. All information was accurate at the time.
about | contact | faq
» THE REIDSITALY.COM DIFFERENCE «
Copyright © 2008–2012 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett