Around Vernazza Cinque Terre
Vernazza and its territory offer to the tourist both a wonderful marine landscape and numerous ideas for a day in the middle of an unspoiled nature
You can decide to walk along the paths leaving from the town towards the other villages of Cinque Terre, or visiting the enchanting hinterland, rich in history, culture, traditions and unforgettable sights.
- In the hills behind Vernazza we can find the Sanctuary of Madonna di Reggio (310 Metres above sea level): the sanctuary was built in 11th Century, almost certainly on a preexistent building: under the church pavement there is in fact a crypt with has nothing in common with the current sanctuary structure.
The Madonna di Reggio is a Byzantine Icon, which the tradition assumes to saint Luke.
Inside the Sanctuary it is possible to admire a lot of ex-voto with the shape of a vessel or a ship, witnessing the travels all over the sea made by the Cinque Terre inhabitants.
Worth seeing are the tomb of a crusader on the church courtyard and a marble sarcophagus which nowadays collects the water from a marble gargoyle, which was accidentally found after the collapse of a tree.
The vast church courtyard offers a great spot all over the coast, and from here you can enjoy a wonderful panorama.
- In the hinterland of Vernazza, in the middle of chestnut woods, there is the village of Pignone, whose territory divides the Cinque Terre from the famous Val di Vara, better known as the “valley of the round villages”. The town has very ancient origins: some archaeological finds dating back to the Bonze age were found here.
The village reached its greatest importance during the Middle Ages, the Loggia in the old town dates back to that times. In this period it passed from the domination of the Family Malaspina to the Bishops of Luni, and after that to the family Fieschi and to the Republic of Genoa.
Worth a visit is the church of Santa Maria Assunta, located in the main square, and the typical small church of Madonna del Buon Consiglio, better known as Madonna del Ponte. The name (Madonna of the bridge) comes from the ancient Roman bridge collapsed in 1966. This church dates back to 1640: during the month of May, Pignone inhabitants walk in procession until the church to carry the Image of the Madonna del Buon Consiglio until its original church.
Near Pignone we can find the small medieval village of Casale, which is also worth visiting. The whole area is characterized by Karst phenomena, like the Grotta Grande in Pignone, as well as manganese and copper mines in the hamlets of Villa and Faggiona.
- Another very important Sanctuary, considered one of the oldest in Italy and certainly the oldest in Liguria is the one dedicated to the Madonna di Soviore (470 metres above sea level) located in the inland of Monterosso. This church is one of the most visited in the Cinque Terre, especially during the celebrations of the 15th August.
The tradition tells that, during a not specified period of the 7th Century the inhabitants of the ancient Etruscan village of Albareto, under the menace of barbarian invasions, fled after hiding underground a figure of the Madonna, in the area where the sanctuary stands nowadays. Almost one hundred years later the image was found again, and the inhabitants of the area decide to build a sanctuary there to commemorate the discovery.
The current structure of the church dates back to 1300 and it was readapted during the 19th Century, although recent excavations brought to light the remains of a smaller church below dating back to the 8th Century.
In 1974 the Madonna di Soviore was declared Patron Saint of the dioceses of La Spezia, Brugnato and Sarzana, fact that increased the already great importance.