One of the Oldest village in Cinque Terre
Corniglia is the middle village situated on a promontory overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Corniglia encompasses the vibrancy and charm indicative of the villages in Cinque Terre, with one main distinction: It’s the only one of the five villages not reachable by boat. There’s a reason that the five colorful villages of the Cinque Terre have become a mecca for visitors from all corners of the world. Their tranquil aquamarine waters, bumpy vineyard cliffs and pastel-hued buildings that create a truly unique set of wines, all weave together to create a timeless evocation of those Italian summers.
According to legend, Corniglia was first rooted down by a Roman farmer who named it after his mother, Cornelia. From a historical point of view, the village was founded in Roman times and its name derive from the Gens Cornelia, the family to whom the land belonged. It is interesting to recall that during the excavations of Pompeii, a lot of wine amphorae bearing the inscription “Cornelia” were recovered; this may have led many locals to profess that “Cornelia’s son produced a wine so prominent that even vases found at Pompeii touted its virtues”. In the Middle Ages, the village was governed by several noble families, the Lavagna counts, the lords of Carpena, and the lords of Luni; in 1254, Pope Innocenzo IV yield Corniglia to Nicolò Fieschi, who ruled over the village until 1276, when the Republic of Genoa took possession of it. In order to protect Corniglia against the frequent Saracen attacks, the Genoese built many fortifications; unfortunately, very few remains of these buildings, except for the ruins of a stronghold situated not far from Largo Taragio. Similar to the other five Cinque Terre villages, Corniglia grew under Genoa and experienced a development that was mostly agricultural; even today wine remains the village’s lifeblood.
There’s no such thing as a hushed Cinque Terre village, but Corniglia is as close as you get. It’s set in the middle of the five villages and has managed to keep a more ease, local feel than the others by being the hardest to get to. The other villages have harbors and a boat service commute visitors from one to the next, but Corniglia is settled up on high with no sea access. So, the only way you can reach Corniglia is by foot or train. And even if you do catch the train, you’ve still got to climb a flight of 382 stairs to reach the village center from the train station.
Along the old village streets, you’ll discover tiny treasured churches including the 14th-century San Pietro, adorned with panels of paintings. Another religious place worth visiting is l’Oratorio dei Disciplinati di Santa Caterina (oratory of the flagellants of Saint Catherine). You’ll get a staggering view from its panoramic terrace.