Pint-sized Corniglia might be the smallest of Italy’s Cinque Terre seaside villages, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in dramatic scenery and rustic beauty. Climb the dizzying 365 steps to the clifftop hamlet and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over the neighboring villages and a cluster of charming shops, cafés, and restaurants.
Corniglia’s tiny size means it’s best suited for a day trip rather than as a base for exploring the region. Day tours to Corniglia run from La Spezia, Florence, and Milan, and typically include visits to the neighboring villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, and Manarola, as well as a stop in nearby Portovenere. It’s a popular stop for hikers exploring Cinque Terre National Park, which encompasses all five Cinque Terre towns.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Corniglia can get busy in peak summer season, so book tours and accommodations in advance.
- Day trips from Florence to the Cinque Terre can last upwards of 12 hours, so prepare for a long day.
- Bring comfortable, sturdy walking shoes, as the village roads are steep and often uneven.
- While some hotels and tourist attractions in Corniglia are wheelchair and stroller accessible, the village’s steep and narrow lanes can be challenging for those with mobility issues to navigate.
How to Get There
Located in Cinque Terre National Park, between Vernazza and Manarola along the Italian Riviera, Corniglia is a 2.5-hour drive from Florence or 50-minute drive from La Spezia. Parking is very limited in Corniglia, so unless you are staying in town overnight, it’s best to join a tour or arrive by train from La Spezia (a 15-minute ride). On arrival at the train station, it’s a steep walk or short shuttle bus ride to reach the cliff-top village. Corniglia is the only one of the five Cinque Terre towns not accessible by ferry.
When to Get There
Corniglia and Cinque Terre see the most visitors and the highest temperatures—upwards up 100°F (40°C)—during the summer. Hikers should aim to visit in May or September to avoid the peak heat, while budget-minded travelers might want to skip August, when hotel prices skyrocket. Visiting in winter is possible, but some hiking trails may be inaccessible in inclement weather.
Corniglia’s Most Stunning Viewpoints
When it comes to Corniglia’s sweeping views, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Climb the 365-step Scalinata Lardarina up to the village for the most impressive vistas, then make your way to the oceanfront terrace at the top for a panoramic view along Cinque Terre and watch the sunset from Bar Terza Terra. Alternatively, hike the coastal road to Vernazza or Manarola, enjoying expansive looks over the Mediterranean Sea.