Vernazza used to be fishermen village, its structure and the port clearly indicating about it, but to me it seems that the profession is gone long ago. I was born in the fishing village and I know what I'm talking about, the smell of fish which is so specific is strongly missing here. This scent is drawn into every pore, every street or house and the whole place exudes it.
Repairing the boat, fishing spear or net left around, serve only as a tourist attraction.
The tiny stone chapel of Santa Marta, which is along main street (Via Roma), celebrating mass on special sundays only. I guess that local fishermen used to pray in it before going to sea.
Steep slopes above Vernazza are used to cultivate wine. The slope is exposed to a strong sunlight which makes grapes to be extremelly rich with a sugar and suitable for making dessert wines. The most famous local brand of wines is Sciacchetra. It is sweet white "passito", a wine made from dried grapes with strong flavour. Concentration of natural sugars reaches potential alcohol level of at least 17%.
Sciacchetra wine is one which has been aged for three full years prior to commercial release.
It was beautiful sunny day and pretty hot, almost ideal for drying laundry, not surprising that local housewives took advantage of it for washing. Almost every building had something to show up.
The Cinque Terre is a national park and listed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List. If you want to walk the Cinque Terre Path, you have to buy a ticket either in one of the Tourist Information Offices or just at the beginning of the paths.
In 2004 a day ticket for the paths cost 3 Euro. The money is said to be used to save the Cinque Terre from decline.
Many of the steep slopes of the Cinque Terre are used to cultivate wine.
The most famous wine of this region is the Sciacchetra which is a sort of white and sweet dessert wine with a higher alcoholic content. It has to be served well chilled.
I am espresso addicted type, must take at least two coffees in the mornings before lunch time. No need to tell how good espresso Italians have and the quality is unified in all bars, doesn't matter if Milano, Rome, Vernazza or any small village on the road.
Right now the price for espresso in one euro in the city bars while tourist resorts could have higher prices. In Vernazza espresso cost 1,5 euros but the guy have charge us one euro only.
This tip could have been included on any of my Cinque Terre pages, but as Vernazza is the only place where we sampled any different beers I am putting it here. Almost everywhere we went the beer on offer was the ubiquitous, and pleasantly refreshing, Birra Moretti, but here at the Pizzeria Vulnetia we were given the equally pleasant and refreshing Theresianer. To be honest I found it hard to distinguish between the two but Chris, who drank more beer on this trip than I did (my preference at most meals was for the local wine) had a slight preference for the Moretti.
Right at the corner of the main street and Via Carrattino there was this flower pot with little left of any sort of plant.... No need to, either, because this one cat had chosen this very pot as her favourite spot! It must not have been very comfortable, but sure enough - she was there every day!!!
To overcome the inclinations of these really small alleys and steps (especially when having to transport something, the people of Vernazza came up with a pretty clever solution: they are using a crawler type vehicle that can manage both inclination and steps!
Despite the fact that Vernazza (and the rest of the Cinque Terre) have only very limited space, there is still room for winegrowing. All over the place you will see terraces with grapevines and when we were there in September, you could see lots of people harvesting.
And the result - don't miss to try it!
How do they buid or renovate houses, homes, residences in Cinque Terre towns? Steep and narrow streets and stairs, high houses, hills?
We saw workers pushing mini "carriages-tracked tractors" with buckets full of building materials. Those vechicles were able to go up the steep stairs!
They also use helicopters to bring the materials up the hills.
The hills of the Cinque Terre are covered with grape vines, baking in the Ligurian sunshine and waiting to be harvested each autumn and made into the delicious wine that we love to drink on our visits there.
Due to the precarious way that the grapes are grown - on steep cliffs, an ingenious Monorail network has been built to carry the grapes once picked.
It is big enough to carry the driver and containers of precious cargo (aka grapes).
So after a long day hiking past the vineyards, whilst you are sipping a chilled glass of vino bianco, look to the hills and amaze over the ingenious Monorail!
These kitties seem to be associated with the Vernazza Internet Cafe - they just hang around outside, looking cute, and will even crawl into your lap for a nice nap if you let them.