Cruising in Corniglia – Cinque Terre

Crusie ship La SpeziaAs I drove through La Spezia, the city on route to the Cinque Terre, I caught sight of the cruise shop docked and my heart sank. Worse still when I heard there were 2 cruise ships in the following day!

This is now a regular pattern but I am slowly developing a rejection of the crowds, the invasion into my space and the deterioration of the villages as they become submersed by the masses. The season is in full swing.View of Corniglia and Manarola

Looking down on it all from my hideaway haunt, does not make it any easier as my village is so quiet and peaceful that I could spend all day just savouring the breathtaking view.

But the warm weather and the idea of a first swim enticed me out of my laziness to walk the trail down to Corniglia in the hope the masses had not yet discovered the quiet Marina of Corniglia. Or at least if they had, most would be put off by the 380 steps down to it, so it should be a safe bet. In fact I was not disappointed.

On the way down my favourite Enoteca was waking up tourists with a coffee reminding them to log out of Wifi and tune into Nature.

Others were having breakfast in the shade in the Main piazza while some were already into their first gelati for the day. The local gelataria boasts a new flavour of basil and lemon which is very refreshing.

Morning at Corniglia MarinaBut I was on a mission down to the Marina, to find a space and indulge for the day. The place was a hive of activity as locals were returning from early morning fishing trips, one man empty handed and grumbling when he saw the first teenager pull out 4 tuna fish and a satisfied grin. Quickly followed up by 3 youngsters throwing their catch of 15 tuna onto the quay with even more satisfied grins and chests puffed out, ready to brag about their morning catch. Posing for photos was obligatory as they boasted how they couldn’t get the rod back in fast enough….an impressive loot!

Fun for us all to hear the details of the catch and watch as the boys diligently gutted Tuna catch of the dayand cleaned their fish, boat and gear and took their haul up to the village to be shared amongst family and friends. I could not have wished for a more local atmosphere.

Some tourists joined us later in the day but their was space for all and  as the sun warmed our bodies the tempting water lured us in. The boys returned to climb the rock face leaping recklessly into the deep Tarzan style, while the rest of us bobbed about in crystal clear water, lulled occasionally by waves from the passing ferries.

After a satisfying first, second and third swim between tanning on the quay, I packed Corniglia Main streetup my gear and hiked up the 380 steps ( ufff ), dreaming of a basil and lemon gelati to keep me going on the trail home. On passing through the village I thought this is definitely going to be my prime spot this Summer. It still has a local feel, is not as overrun by the masses and has some creative handcraft souvenir shops if ever in need of a little gift. Corniglia souvenir shop




The most is made out of every spare inch of space, and the apparent shambolic décor of even the new cafes has its own attractiveness.

I will be back and besides there’s no bunnies in Corniglia!


6 thoughts on “Cruising in Corniglia – Cinque Terre

  1. How sad that it is deep enough for cruise ships. Very easy for the travel agents now days that they don’t have to organise beds each night. How sad that everyone wants to be herded!

    • Cannot agree more Barb, not just in the Cinque Terre. Cruising now has become cheap and there can be nothing else but herding. So good to be able to really savour and understand a new place rather than skim through

  2. This is where our painting group met you Sue in May 2015. I had painted your village at the top as my demonstration to the group and it was the most perfect day and we enjoyed meeting you. Such a tranquil and beautiful spot and I’d love to savour that scrumptious basil ice cream again too. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • I remember the day well Regina. Not often there’s a group of Aussies here! Hope the painting and travel workshops have taken you to some other beautiful places. If you are ever back again let me know Regards Sue

  3. Sad that you have so many people visiting now, good for the shops but not for the people living there.
    I love the spot I want name it – where you live.
    I don’t think I will go to Europe again however I treasure the memories.
    You wrote to me that you worked with well known artists I know them or of them.
    Robert Wade is a wonderful Watercolourist.
    I work in oils. We have a few Aussies teaching in Italy over the summer period, mainly in Q. T and Venice.Ciao, Chris

    • Hi Chris, I think it’s a world wide problem in fragile tourist areas. Not usually good for the shops as cruise people come with their packet lunch and a not real shoppers…think it brings in more money docking and other Govt/National Park who have shortsighted vision! I first came to 5 Terre in 1985 so you can imagine the changes I have seen. If there’s anything I can help with the artist groups don’t hesitate to contact

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