During our stay in the beautiful village of Vernazza on the CInque Terre, we were captivated by the landmark structure high on the rocky outcrop above town – Castello di Vernazza, the Castle of Vernazza.

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Castello di Vernazza

The building is more of a watch tower than an actual castle, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you have the time to spare during your Cinque Terre walk, which is the most common reason people visit this area.

The original tower is thought to date back to the 11th Century, when it was used to guard the village and surrounding areas against pirates.

During World War Two, the tower was used by the Nazis as an anti-aircraft station, and then bombed by the British. After the war, the tower was completely rebuilt.

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Stairs leading up to houses in Vernazza

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The back streets of Vernazza, on the way up to the castello

To visit the tower, you have to be prepared to climb stairs, lots of stairs! There are steps up through the village to ascend to the top of the hill, then steps up to the base of the tower, where you can enjoy a lovely view…. then a narrow circular staircase which winds upward inside the tower. It’s so narrow, only one person at a time can climb, and if someone comes the other way, one of you has to back up or down – which we found quite amusing on the way up, but it was a little frustrating when we wanted to get down again. You just have to allow a bit of time. The main issue is the there is limited space at the top of the tower, so most people give way to those coming down, as the space needs to be cleared for more people to go up.

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Walking up the very narrow spiral staircase to the top of the castello

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The view from the base of the castello

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Seize the day project, Besties do Italy

View from the top of the castello

The small round viewing platform at the top of the tower is the ideal place to take in the views along the beautiful Ligurian coastline and the village of Vernazza itself.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Seize the day project, Besties do Italy

Westerly view from the base of the castello

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Seize the day project, Besties do Italy

A view of the town from the base of the castello – Santa Margherita Ligure church is in the centre, right on the harbour

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Papa tending his grapevines just beneath the castello

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Seize the day project, Besties do Italy

Vernazza from the water, with the castello to the right on top of the rock outcrop

Have you been to the Cinque Terre? Did you visit Vernazza – or venture up to the Castello?

Linking up with A Brit & A Southerner for #WeekendWanderlust Weekend-Wanderlust-Logo-V21

 

The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend Jane ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!

Read related posts in this fascinating series here:

The journey to Cinque Terre: When things didn’t go according to plan – Walking the Cinque Terre trail from Vernazza to Monterosso – Charming Vernazza –  Santa Margherita Church, Vernazza