BootsnAll Travel Network

Vernazza, Italy

October 6, 2010 – Vernazza was our first stop on our Italian holiday (we actually flew into Florence – but that will be covered later after we spend some more time there). Vernazza, one of the 5 villages in the Cinque Terra, is idyllic in many ways – in other ways it is another example of rampant tourism.

Geographically it is gorgeous – the town is built up on the steep cliffs that surround the harbor. Pastel colored houses, small windy alleys decorated with potted plants, laundry hung out to dry from green-shuttered windows. A small fort on the harbor. It is a walker’s delight, each alley seems to bring yet another beautiful view on the town and harbor. A photographer’s dream, Vernazza is ideal, picture-perfect Italy.

The problem is that it is far from being undiscovered – there are TONS of tourists, especially on weekends, but also on weekdays when daytrippers come in. Only on weekday evenings do you get a sense of what Vernazza was like before mass tourism. Forget about trying to find a room last minute – I booked 3 months in advance and even then I had many rejections before finding something. Restaurants and bars are jam packed at mid-day with daytrippers, you may even have to make a reservation to sit down for lunch.

The worst thing about all these tourists is that it has led to “tourist fatigue”. Lissette and I were both reminded of Ko Phi Phi in Thailand where over-tourism has changed the people. Ko Phi Phi is no longer Thai, its people no longer the warm, hospitable, smiling people they used to be. They bear the tourists and count the money. The same has happened in Vernazza – the locals working in the tourism industry tend to be surly and snappy, they rarely look you in the eye when talking to you and I haven’t received a mere hint of a smile from anyone in the restaurant industry in Vernazza. Restaurant food is drab and uninventive – tourist food. From that point of view Vernazza was a disappointment – the destination is what takes you somewhere, but in the end it is the people that bring you back.

Anyway, forgetting about the less than friendly locals (and we did after a few days, realizing it was nothing personal) we still really enjoyed Vernazza. It is beautiful spot. We climbed a lot of steps, took tons of photos, and drank beer / wine / expressos while people-gazing. The gelatos were also great. Vernazza was still many of the things I expected coming here.


We were lucky to get a great room in Vernazza at 70 Euros/night. If someone is interested they can contact me, otherwise I’ll keep it a secret considering the scarcity of accommodation.

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