Like Riomaggiore and Manarola, Vernazza delights its visitors with a beautiful port, idyllically populated with fishing boats and colorful buildings. You can obtain the quintessential Vernazza shot from above by finding an entryway behind the Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church. Walk up a narrow path to the scenic viewpoint and a picture-perfect panorama awaits.
Of course, the village of Vernazza is also ideal for a leisurely afternoon amble.
Monterosso al Mare
If you’re looking for classic Italian beaches in Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare is your best bet. In fact, it’s pretty much your only bet, as it is the only one of the five cities with an easily accessible extended stretch of sand. Take a stroll up and down the promenade, laze under those signature orange-and-green umbrellas, and enjoy the Italian Riviera sea breeze.
One Monterosso attraction I especially wanted to see was the Il Gigante statue, sculpted into the cliffs at the northern end of the beach. Unfortunately, it was completely under scaffolding during my visit, and it appears to still be so.
On the south side of Monterosso’s beach, a pedestrian tunnel takes you to the older part of town where you can weave your way through the small streets and come upon nifty sights like the striped facade of the Church of San Giovanni Battista.
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