CORNIGLIA, Corniglia

Audio File length: 2.46
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Marcy, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the Wonders of the World: Corniglia.

Corniglia is the only village of the Cinque Terre that is not right on the coastline. It sits atop a rocky spike of some 100 meters, and it is the oldest of the five.

The name Corniglia is of Roman origin, and derives from the Gens Cornelia, one of the most noble Roman families: during the excavations in Pompeii, amphorae for wine were found with the name Cornelia written on them.

However you reach Corniglia, you’ll arrive in Piazza Ciapara, which looks out over the hills and is in the center of Via Fieschi, the long street that runs through the village. In one direction, the street leads to the splendid Gothic church of San Pietro, built by the locals in 1350 and well worth a visit.

In the other direction, the street climbs up to Largo Taragio, dominated by the centuries-old Oratory of Santa Caterina and once the heart of village life. Corniglia has today just 150 residents, but the population once reached a thousand or so.

From Largo Taragio, I suggest you climb up the two towers known as il Fosso. These ancient Genoese fortifications, dating to 1556, offer marvelous views of Manarola.

Once you come back down, continue along Via Fieschi, which will take you into the most characteristic part of the village.

Despite the rich variety of colorful tower houses in Corniglia, until the mid-1900s the village was made up almost exclusively of the buildings with plain stone walls that have remained in this part. The street comes to an end at the Santa Maria terrace, where you can admire the landscape as far as the promontory of Monterosso.

This terrace was once the yard of a church that fell into the sea in the mid-19th century. Unfortunately, the edge of the little headland has crumbled away on numerous occasions: documents from 1276 mention the presence here of a castle, which also collapsed into the sea.

You can reach Vernazza from Corniglia along an old path that offers incredible views over the unspoilt bays and beaches in the area.


Let me leave you with an interesting fact: the village’s wine was renowned as far back as the time of Boccaccio, who mentions the vernaccia di Corniglia in a novella of his work Decameron.

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