"The littlest, middlest one" Top 5 Page for this destination Corniglia by goodfish

Corniglia Travel Guide: 85 reviews and 240 photos

It’s said that middle children are often contradictory in nature. Sandwiched between older and younger siblings, they are alternately aloof and outgoing, independent and conformative, secretive and straightforward.

Corniglia is the Cinque Terre’s classic middle child.

While proudly lording over her bookending sisters from a rugged promontory high above the sea, the heart of this smallest of the villages is often overlooked: she can be a little difficult to get to know. She has no harbor so the ferries pass her by; her train station is at the bottom of nearly 400 steps of switchbacking stairway; her access road, while less vertical, is a long, steep climb nonetheless; footpaths from neighboring Vernazza and Manarola are often closed to mudslides.

But with some sweat or just the patience to wait for the little green bus that buzzes up and down the hill, she'll reveal her all of her relaxed and easy charms. Corniglia is completely comfortable in her skin: no need to change her appearance for the hordes of tourists who overrun this region during high season. You won’t find fancy resorts with swimming pools and 5-star services nor a mecca of tchotchke shops and cafes but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t enjoy your company. Boxy pastel houses provide pleasant, unfussy rooms and self-catering flats with million-dollar views, and a few tiny piazzas dotted with colorful sunshades soothe the foot-weary with gelato and wine.

There isn’t much to do: no museums; no nightclubs; no posh boutiques. A stroll through the few narrow, medieval streets turns up a few churches, a smattering of shops, the crumbling ruin of an ancient castle, tiny gardens bursting with flowers, grapevines and vegetables. More adventurous (and less inhibited) types go in search of her racier side: a beach whose location may be clothed in secrecy...but whose sun-worshipers are not. :O)

We spent a sunny morning doing exactly the not-much-at-all one does here and enjoying every minute of it; the acquaintance of this quiet but confident, reserved yet very friendly middle daughter was well worth making.

Disclaimer: a vivid setting was used for most of my shots: colors of the structures are not as bright/intense in reality as they may appear here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Where visitors are least likely to stay; will be quiet at night
  • Cons:Maybe just slightly more difficult to access; its small size can easily be overwhelmed by high season crowds
  • Last visit to Corniglia: May 2012
  • Intro Updated Mar 7, 2014
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Reviews (6)

Comments (5)

  • mindcrime's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2014 at 7:55 AM

    what a beautiful place!

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Dec 8, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      Thank you so much for coming to "visit"!!!
      I loved this tiny Cinque Terre village best of the five. Besides being beautiful, it felt more un-tourisfied as compared to the others.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Nice idea to call Corniglia a 'middle child'.
    While reading your tips, I realized that I no can longer make a clear distinction about what is in which of the five villages. I don't even remember which one we stayed in at the time (long ago) but I do know we walked them all at one time or another.

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Beautiful photos and great tips! Especially love the main photo.

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Mar 7, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      Thanks Jim! That's humbling coming from our resident Pioneer Expert!

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Corniglia was too crowded when we visited (an afternon in June I think) - good to see it looking its best here. Love your photos and affectionate descriptions!

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Feb 18, 2013 at 8:08 AM

      We were there in the early morning so maybe that's why it wasn't very busy yet? I liked this one very much. :O)

  • riorich55's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    You had some sunny days. Ours was an overcast day, but overcast was much better for hiking!

    • leics's Profile Photo
      Feb 1, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      The tinkering was def worth it! :-)

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Feb 1, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Thanks, Leics. It doesn't allow for very much tinkering but at least lets me tone down overall glare: nice when the sun is directly overhead or shining right at you. And sharpen up a bit.


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