Posted: 2009-10-05


Corniglia (pronounced “cor-nee-lee-uh”) is the middle village of the 5 coastal villages in The Cinque Terre.  It is also the only one without a marina.  Instead, it is located at the top of a hill overlooking the sea which means that you have to walk up 382 steps from the train station to get to the village.  (You can also take shuttle bus, but that’s cheating.)  Because it is the smallest town and is not directly on the water, it attracts fewer tourists.  This is one of the reasons why we like it so much.

The sign at the bottom of the 382 stairs shows the village on top of the hill with a “you are here” red dot at the bottom

A view of the steps with the train tracks way down below

Corniglia is just as cute as Riomaggiore and Manarola with its narrow lanes, pastel-colored buildings tumbling down the hillside, and vineyards.  Even though the village is small, I heard 3 sets of church bells every hour.  I found 2 of the churches but not the third.  I also found the cemetery which was a typical Cinque Terre cemetery with all of the tombs above ground (see photos below).  The post office is open 3 mornings a week - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Life just moves a little slower here.

A typical street in Corniglia

A small lane in the village - there are private vegetable gardens on the other side of the stone walls

Love this little stone house

One of the churches in the village

The other church is perched above the main square

The interior of the church on the main square - the church is so small that I was standing in the front door to take this photo

In the cemeteries in Cinque Terre, the coffins are inserted into walls like these, end first - I’m guessing it’s because you can’t dig deep enough into the ground due to the rock below

We like Corniglia because it has fewer tourists, but we also like it because this is where The Holy Triumvirate is located.  This is our nickname for an enoteca (wine bar), a restaurant and a gelateria (ice cream store) that are grouped together on the main street in town, and they are all fantastic.  A perfect evening in Corniglia starts with a glass of Vermentino (a Cinque Terre white wine) at Enoteca Il Pirun.  Then you head to A Cantina de Mananan for dinner.  Afterwards, if you have room, you get a gelato at Gelateria Zico.  Actually, if you’re smart, you get a gelato as an afternoon snack earlier in the day, just in case you get too full on dinner.  We discovered this lovely gastronomical trio two years ago, and we have been talking about it ever since.  This is why we decided to stay 4 nights in Corniglia this year.

The main street with Il Pirun and Mananan on the left and the gelateria on the right

Enoteca Il Pirun with various wares on display

Me inside A Cantina de Mananan with daily menus on chalkboards and guest sketches on yellow paper framed and hung on the walls

The wine list at Mananan - yes, it is wine bottles on shelves with the name and price written in chalk

My favorite flavors at the gelateria include cinnamon, red grapefruit, honey, and dark chocolate

Once again, our apartment was great.  A narrow road passes through the village, and our apartment was on the far side.  We could look out and see the village center on the hill and the sea beyond.  We had a relatively large place with a nice kitchen and a balcony.  There were grapevines outside our bedroom window. 

A view of the dining/living room

The kitchen

Our balcony

Looking into the bedroom

-Julia Abbott



It sounds and looks wonderful! I want to go there someday before I die and go to the other heaven!

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