Updated date:

Visiting Corniglia in Cinque Terre, Italy

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

Colorful Corniglia

Colorful Corniglia

Corniglia is one of the five villages that make up the beautiful Cinque Terre region of this rugged coastal area on the Italian Riviera. This stunning medieval community is the only one of the Cinque Terre villages that is not directly adjacent to the sea. In contrast, Corniglia sits high on a rocky outcropping approximately one hundred meters above the Ligurian Sea. With this enviable location, visitors enjoy amazing views up and down the coast.

Corniglia train station

Corniglia train station

Getting There

It is not recommended that you try to take a car into Corniglia as there is very limited parking and the roads are winding and narrow. To get here, you can take the local train from either Levanto in the north or La Spezia in the south. To reach Corniglia, visitors must either traverse the 377 steps from the railroad station below or take the shuttle bus up the hill (recommended when you arrive with luggage). While you’re here, you might as well earn your climbing merit badge and take the steps at least once. Hey, how many times are you going to get his opportunity?

The Steps, all 377 of them.

The Steps, all 377 of them.

A Change of Pace

Taking the shuttle bus up from the train station deposits you into the main piazza, which is the hub of activity for this small community. Locals sit under the trees in the square and greet visitors as they arrive practicing Il dolce far niente, or "the sweetness of doing nothing." In the morning, vendors are out selling their wares and making their deliveries. Corniglia is a hub of activity as the town awakens.

The pace here is easygoing and methodical. There are no famous attractions that you need to rush to see. The main attraction is the down-to-earth, truly authentic life that these people lead, and the beautiful scenery that surrounds them. Spend a day wandering the streets of Corniglia, or join the locals in the town square with a good book and you’ll have a pretty good day.

Discussing the days events?

Discussing the days events?

The quiet streets of Corniglia

The quiet streets of Corniglia

Time to Eat

If you’re here in Italy, then presumably you’re looking for some authentic Italian cuisine. Corniglia does not have a lot of restaurant/trattorias, but the ones they have are simply fantastic. It was here in Corniglia that I discovered Panna Cotta, my most favorite dessert in the world.

If you enjoy seafood, then it doesn't get any fresher than here on the Ligurian coast where fishing is the main occupation of the locals. This region of Italy is also credited as the birthplace of pesto, so be sure to give it a try at one of the local restaurants or trattorias. The dishes below are from our three nights in Corniglia and they were all terrific. You will not be disappointed with the food here in Corniglia.

Where to Stay

For accommodations, Corniglia does not have any fancy resort hotels. Everything here is pretty old although this is part of the charm and attraction of this community. There are, however, numerous small B&B’s and apartments that offer visitors a chance to stay in a beautifully restored building some centuries old.

For something a little more luxurious, you will have to head up the coast to possibly Monterosso al Mare, where there is a newer section of town with more modern accommodations. Our visit to Corniglia took us to Il Girasole, an apartment owned by Stefano and Libia Raso. Their apartments are clean, spacious, affordable, and located in the center of Corniglia. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.

A Hiker's Paradise

As the middle of the five villages, Corniglia is pretty much a stopping off point for hikers making their way up and down the coast. With only 240 permanent residents it is the smallest of the Cinque Terre communities and the least visited.

Corniglia makes a great base for hiking this area of Italy that was designated a National Park in 1999 and added as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.

The Cinque Terre is a hikers dream, and visitors can hike to all five of the villages via a network of trails. There are varying degrees of difficulty on these trails, so make sure you are up for the challenge before you head out on any of the longer more vertical hikes. Some incredible views are awaiting those who choose to hike.

There is also the local train that connects all five of the communities, and a ferry system that connects all of the communities except Corniglia due to its location.

On the trail heading to Manarola.

On the trail heading to Manarola.

The view from the trail heading out of Vernazza.

The view from the trail heading out of Vernazza.

Why Visit?

When most of us think about a visit to Italy, we envision seeing as much of this beautiful country as possible, and going to as many of its popular cities and attractions as we can get to. It's for a good reason, as Italy is a virtual treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. Why not plan a few days in the Cinque Terre region to break up the hustle and bustle of touring Italy and to recharge your batteries? For a unique opportunity to see the simple laid-back side of Italian life, spend a few days in Corniglia. It is a warm and hospitable community that will welcome you to a little slice of heaven.

Ciao for now.

Corniglia, Italy

© 2012 Bill De Giulio


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on June 30, 2018:

Thanks for stopping by Chris and Brittany. You will love Corniglia and the other villages of Cinque Terre. It really is a beautiful and special region of Italy.

Chris and Brittany on June 29, 2018:

Great info! My wife and I are very excited to visit Corniglia July.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 10, 2018:

Hi Debbie. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great trip, sounds like you are visiting some wonderful destinations. Good luck with the family roots in Cuggiano. You are finishing up your trip in a beautiful place. It’s quiet, especially at night, but very old school Italy. Don’t laugh about meeting the pope. On Wednesday’s they do a Papal Audience that you can get tickets to. You wouldn’t be the first person to shake hands with him.

Debbie Bollenbach on April 10, 2018:

My father was born in Cuggiano, and I am going to search out my roots there. Then we plan to see Switzerland for a day then to Venice to see the island of Moreno. From there we head to Rome. to shake hands with the pope ha ha. Anyways we will arrive in this cute village is the last stop of our trip and I can't wait.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on August 26, 2012:

Hi mizjo. Corniglia and the entire CT coast are just stunning. If you get the opportunity make a visit, I think you'll enjoy it. Many thanks again for stopping by to read. Have a great day.

mizjo from New York City, NY on August 26, 2012:

A-m-a-z-i-n-g pictures, Bill, and a wonderfully written hub. I'm a very visual person and could imagine myself in each segment you wrote about.

I passed the Cinque Terre region a couple of years ago but unfortunately did not stop. I won't miss it the next time, it is too beautiful.

Thanks for the follow.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on June 05, 2012:

Hi 2uesday. Thank you for reading and commenting. Glad that this brought back some pleasant memories for you. Corniglia is a beautiful place, maybe someday you'll stroll its streets. Ciao.

2uesday on June 05, 2012:

This is a part of Italy that I have not visited, but some of the photos look so much like my memories. The ladies talking together reminded me of 'zia' when she would talk to the lady in the fruit shop near her home. She was my Italian aunt by marriage but she introduced me to how great Italian home cooked meals can be.

The houses in the photo they too reminded me of the ones overlooking the river in the place we use to stay. Thank you.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 22, 2012:

Hi Suzie. We share a favorite subject don't we? If you ever get to Cinque Terre be sure to roam the streets of Corniglia. What a beautiful place and the food here is just wonderful. Thanks so much for reading and the nice comments. I do appreciate it. Ciao.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 22, 2012:

Hi KDuBarry03. Thanks for visiting Corniglia with me. I can tell you that Italy is absolutely wonderful. Hopefully you will get to experience it in the near future. Thanks for reading.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on May 22, 2012:

Another gem of a hub on my favourite subject . . Italy!!

Photos are fantastic, info excellent and i will definitely be ear marking this area as a must see spot.I'm more familiar with the south so love finding nuggets like your article on Corniglio.Well done Bill and well done on all your great work!!

KDuBarry03 on May 22, 2012:

What great pictures! I have always wanted to go and visit Italy. Great information

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 17, 2012:

Thanks Peggy. Really appreciate the nice comments . Corniglia is one of those places that when you discover it you just never want to leave. We enjoyed this part of Italy so much that we might return in a few years, it's that beautiful. This area just might have the best seafood in all of Italy, just fantastic. Thanks again for stopping by.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 17, 2012:

Hi Bill,

As we comment back and forth on each other's hubs, I am truly enjoying your segments of visiting Italy. This Cinque Terre region was shown on a Rick Steve's TV segment...and I must say...your photos and descriptions are just as good. Corniglia looks beautiful! What a nice respite to get to soak up some natural beauty in a small scenic town and dine on all of that amazing food. You will certainly be enticing more people to go and visit these smaller towns and sites in Italy! Many up buttons being pushed and SHARING this with my followers.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 25, 2012:

Thank You Lenzy. Appreciate the comments. Corniglia is a beautiful place and every time I look at the pictures I want to go back.

Lenzy from Arlington, Texas on March 24, 2012:

Beautiful, Bdegiulio. Your photos were stunning and the content was excellent. You make me want to travel to every place you write about. I will have to add this to my list of places to see. Lenzy

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 24, 2012:

Thank You Kalmlya. Hopefully you will get there some day soon. It is a very special place.

Kalmiya from North America on March 24, 2012:

Voted up! We were in France and Italy some years back and didn't get a chance to visit this area though we heard much about the Cinque Terre from other travelers. Now I know what we missed! Thanks for your great photos!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 23, 2012:

Thank you Thundermama, the food is to die for in Italy and particularly in the Cinque Terre region. If you get the chance to go someday do it, you will not regret it.

Catherine Taylor from Canada on March 23, 2012:

Wonderful hub, the pictures of food made my mouth water. I have always wanted to travel in Italy and have now added Corniglia to my list. Voted up!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 22, 2012:

Thank you theclevecat. Certainly is a beautiful place. Hope to return someday.

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on March 22, 2012:

Wonderful pics! Pretty much takes me there! Voted up and beautiful.

Related Articles