If we had to do it over, we we'd absolutely stay at least two nights in Vernazza – one of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre (“five lands”) near La Spezia, Italy. We wanted to find a place somewhere between Nice and Rome, and settled on Vernazza after we received several recommendations to visit Cinque Terre. But with the recommendations, also came a warning: it will be tough with kids. It kind of was, but we bumbled through.
Getting there was rough. First, the drive along the edge of cliffs in roads that at times were so narrow only one car could pass in either direction was beautiful and daunting. Then, we had to park about a kilometer outside of town. We couldn’t figure out the shuttle situation, so we walked it with our gear and the kids.
But the payoff was immediate and abundant – a beautiful, tiny, seaside all-pedestrian town with narrow cobblestone walkways. And what a sunset! Orange and purples slowly fading away behind the horizon and the towering cliffs that shot up from the sea.
The owner of the Vernazza Room we rented met us and escorted us to our spacious room – more than enough for our one-night stay.
We had tangy pesto pasta for dinner at one of the waterfront cafes. For a relatively low-key plate, it was superb.
Apart from walking around town, there wasn’t much for the kids to see or do, so this gets chalked up as a stop for the parents. What we also did not do are the hikes to the other four towns, which is the big draw of Cinque Terre. Perhaps, when the kids are older.
After Cinque Terre, we stopped in Pisa. The kids were star struck with the leaning tower. For months in preparation for the trip, Deniz had showed Aylin and Emilio photos of the most iconic monuments they would be visiting. So seeing the tower was a highlight for them.
Vernazza and Pisa proved to be the calm before the storm that was Rome.
Vernazza and Pisa in photos (Click link or photo below to see ALL photos):