Italy - Vernazza

Leaving Vernazza

We left Vernazza after two nights thinking we had seen all we wanted to see and would find some where to stay between Vernazza and Modena. We decided to not take the autostrada and drive by old roads which is a lot slower but we were not in a hurry.

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We thought that about 1/2 way to Modena would be good and we could find somewhere to stay the night. We drove for about two hours working our way up the mountains until the top of a mountain pass at 1100 meters. The weather was closing in and as we got to the top there was thick mist covering the mountain.

There was a shop and a bar with accommodation so we got out and had a coffee and asked about the room. The room was 35 EURO per night and we asked to see it.

We took the room, it was cold and were told the heating would take 20 minutes to heat the room up. Pam then decided that she hated the room and had a little sulk. So I has to go back to the lady who spoke almost no English and told here we no longer wanted the room and we left the mountain. I quite liked the idea of waking up at the top of a mountain, but it was not to be.

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We drove down the mountain and there was nothing that looked like accommodation at all close by. We kept driving and at about 80 km to Modena we decided we needed to find something soon,  so we entered HOTELS in the TOMTOM and followed its route.

We found the village but there was no parking signs everywhere and it was raining quite hard by then. We flagged that one after trying to find how to drive there with the TOMTOM wanting us to drive down footpaths. I guess they are called “via something” which translates to “something road” hence why it was wanting us to drive down there.  We left that town and kept on driving. We drove past a B&B sign on the main road 400 meters so we looked for that and could not find an entrance, so we did a u-turn and drove back and found a bridge about 400 meters before the sign. The sign said 400 meters both ways – da!  We drove over the bridge and followed the track for ages, up very windy hills. We never found the B&B and turned around after about 3 KM.

We then selected another name in the TOMTOM and drove there. Up a small windy road, and then up a very steep drive way but it was closed. We pulled another from the TOMTOM and drove to it, but it did not exist. This went on for ages, we found one in a village that Pam said looked nice, but it was closed on Mondays.

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We then gave up and phoned the place where we were going to be staying (Ca Penelope) for the next 6 nights and asked if we could come 1 day earlier – they said yes so we at least had somewhere to go.

The rain was very very hard, and the roads entering Modena were very very busy with people probably going home, the visibility was bad.

The roads into Modena also gave me a bad feeling about this place in that it is just a large city, something I can’t be bothered with. We drove off towards Maranello which also looked like a major city and found the farm where we are staying – right on the edge of town. The rain kept coming down, and we drove in and got out of the car.

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I did something like 6 hours driving when I was only planning on 2 hours, I was very buggered after the drive.

We checked in and were shown the apartment, really a room with a small kitchenette. It was clean and inviting. Pam cooked some pasta with the small amount of ingredients we had and we opened a wine out of a milk carton – 1 EURO 39 cents – it was crap but we had to see what it was like.

A pretty quiet night and out like a light.

Free parking in Levanto

We heard on the Internet that there was free parking available in Levanto. Depending on where you park you can be charged 9 EURO for 24 hours, the problem being that if you are keen to pay your 9 EURO you must return each day to buy another 24 hour ticket.

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The blue circle in the map above the the car park next to the train station and costs 9 EURO per 24 hours.

The red circle is where we parked. It is about 500 meters or so from the train station – a 10 minute walk.

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Exit the train station and look for the big church (above), and then walk past it and down past the super market. When you get to the road about that is a round about (see below) where we parked next to the white building after the rubbish bins. (we were in the black car). We left it there for 2 days with no problems.

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The area where we parked had no signs and there was a white strip which means Free Parking area.

Legend on parking colours:

  • White Area
    Free Parking
  • Yellow Area
    Residents Parking (Residents have a large yellow card in the windscreen saying they are a resident of Levanto)
  • Blue Strip
    Pay Parking

Vernazza

From the track to Montorosso

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From the track to Corniglia

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Vernazza – the view from the other side of town

These pictures were take from the track which takes you to Corniglia, they were taken just before the toll station for the track which is a few hundred meters up the track from town.

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A walk around the Vernazza hills

Pam was taking a rest – I had a couple of gins after the drive from Triora and took to the walking track to Montorosso.

Normally you pay for this but since it was after 5pm I assume it is free – well the little booth on the track was closed and I was only interested in taking photos of Vernazza so I was not going to walk the track to Montorosso.

Along the track there were two good points to view Vernazza, one about 5 minutes from the town, and one about 12 minutes from the town (up hills all the way)

There was a lot of clouds so the sunset was not going to be spectacular and in deed it was quite ordinary and in fact I did not wait until it was fully set since the sun went behind clouds.

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Triora to Vernazza

We left Triora today at about 10am – I was quite sad to go as I really loved being there, Pam had even started to get use to the steep paths. Another week or two and she may have become a mountain goat on the paths but alas we had to leave.

We said goodbye to Carl and told him how much we loved staying there. If we were closer we would go back but at 25,000+ KM from home it is probably a once in a life time trip to Triora. Normally I am quite happy to move onto the next place to visit and explore but this time I would like to have had another week.

We left Triora and headed down the mountain and stopped in a town called Bardaluco

We went to an ATM and tried to get 500 EURO but it told us the bank had declined it so we tried 250 EURO – that was OK, we then did another 250 EURO and that was OK we so got out 500 EURO in cash.

We went to the local bar and got a coffee (0.90 cents each) which was very nice so we had another, used their toilet, and then bought two faccaccia sandwiches one with tomato and mozzarella and the other with an egg and spinach omelette – 1.5 EURO each. We also got two pieces of desert, one was apple and custard, the other a red fruit tart – 1 EURO each.

We headed back to the car and then left the mountains and hit the autostrada soon after. We got on the autostrada at Taggia and left at the exit for levanto about 3 hours later. Most of the roads are 130 kph, except around Genoa which was 80 (not that anyone took any notice), and generally after Genoa it was 110 kph.

We did not stop once we hit the autostrada since there really was not anywhere to stop, there were petrol stations, and SOS points but none seemed an option.

Pam counted (I know counted) 122 tunnels from Taggia to Levanto. The tunnels ranged from 100-200 meters to 2.8km in length, so taking 200 meters on average we drove more than 20km in tunnels.

We drove down the road to Levanto which was quite good quality, and drove to the centre of town. We could see signs around about no parking 24 hours per day, others 1 hour free, some 9 EURO per 24 hours. Motor homes – 10 Euro for 12 hours and 15 EURO for 24 hours.

We had read on the Internet that you could drive past the church about 500 meters and park for free. We decided to check this option out and went down a road, but it was a bit off the main road and did not feel safe. We then came across a place next to the roundabout that had a white parking border (free parking) and decided to park our car there. We are still not sure if the car will be there when we get back in 2 or 3 days.

Cinque Terre Region

Here is a small map of the Cinque Terra region
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The 5 Cinque Terra towns are:

  • Monterosso Al Mare
  • Vernazza
  • Norniglia
  • Manarola
  • RioMaggiore

Copyright © Chris & Pam - 2020