Corniglia – one of the five pearls in Cinque Terre

Corniglia is a town for billy goats. If your feet hurt just thinking about climbing 382 steps don’t get off at the train station.


This year, we met a sweet couple with a pram getting off the train in Vernazza. The father looked at me inquiringly “Have you been here? Are there a lot of steps?” “There are about 40 steps down to the village from the platform.”  I said looking skeptically at their large and unwieldy wagon. Hesitant relief filled his eyes “Oh that’s no problem, but is this town like Corniglia?” “No, no, it’s almost flat in comparison.” A look of joy filled his face.  That is how great it is to not be in this city with a heavy, lumpy pram. Wait until the kids can walk a few miles before you visit Cinque Terre as a family vacation. It will be more fulfilling for everyone.

Here are the steps up to the city center, do you see that little brown trail below and to the right of the houses, that is where you go back and forth until you reach the top. There is nothing at the bottom of the hill, not a espresso bar or a bench to sit on, so you better get going. If you are looking for great photos on the climb, you might get a few but the horribly ugly train tracks dominate the view on this side of the city. Head down, keep walking and save your shutter finger for the village.


From the train station there is about a 750 meter walk to the stairs.

Pretty flowers cheer up the stairway to the city.

The reward!

Notice::  the sign welcomes English speaking tourists but not the German, I don’t think that was unintentional.

These amazing asparagus like cacti pepper the entire coastline, popping up from cracks in the cliffs and jutting 50 or so feet up in the air.

Not for people afraid of heights. Last year, we stopped at the only outdoor trattoria we found. Their restaurant covered no less than 3 stories and tables filled one of the few piazzas we found in the village. You know you are getting old when all you can think about is the waitress running up and down two flights of stairs with our lunch in flip-flops. She is going to regret not having taken better care of her feet.

Hubby opted for a hearty ravioli con ragu.

I enjoyed a wonderful linguine ai frutti di mare.

After lunch, wandered around for a bit of sightseeing and of course a little gelato before we started our descent to the train station. You will never find a green bus when you need it, I think it is a little trick they play on the tourists.

Here you can see why the coastal trail to Corniglia from Manarola is closed. A giant boulder rolled down and took the railing with it. Let’s hope that the italian government wins the EU lottery and repairs the coastal trails so the tourists can get out of the villages and train stations and enjoy the nature in these beautiful marine park.

If you are walking the high trails this is what some of the paths look like, best to have hiking boots and long pants and not the sandals and shorts. We met several groups of young girls with nasty scratches and bandaged ankles in town so don’t be like Cheryl Strayed author of Wild on the Cinque Terre Trails. Be prepared and have the right gear. If you don’t you can always get new stuff from a Cinque Terre Trekking in Manarola. They even speak Minnesota, which is documented as the most understandable of all American dialects.

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