Vernazza is certainly a most charming little village. You can see it at it’s best early in the morning, when there’s mostly locals up and about, rather than the hordes of tourists who flock there during the day.
The main square, Piazza Marconi, is a meeting place for locals and tourists alike. Just off the piazza is Chiesa di Santa Margherita dÁntiochia, or Santa Margherita church. Originally built in 1318, the Romanesque Genovese-style church was constructed out of stone quarried at nearby Punta Mesco. In the 16th century, the building was extended using grey stone.
The church’s octagonal clock tower (or campanile) dominates the village skyline, and it’s clock strikes to remind locals and visitors of the time. A bell tower sits to the left of the clock tower.
Inside the church, the main source of light is the three arched windows which face the harbour. The interior walls are dark stone, so it can take a minute or so for your eyes to adjust to be able to see properly. There’s a distinctly medieval feel about this church, which is quite refreshing, as it’s been kept that way on purpose.
With it’s stone interior, the church is extremely plain in comparison to many other Italian Catholic churches. The altar is off limits to tourists. Flowers are refreshed daily by the dedicated church community. Freshly grown flowers are plentiful along the Cinque Terre coastline.
It’s customary to light a candle and say a prayer in silence. As my Dad’s passing had been part of the reason I went on my trip to Italy, I lit a candle in many churches and said a quiet prayer for him. Hope he was listening! 🙂
Beneath the church, there’s an ancient cave, where the young people gather in the evenings to chat, laugh and drink. The red and grey building above the church is the village primary school.
If you don’t mind climbing stairs, there’s plenty of different viewpoints where you can see the church from a different angle.
This church is definitely worth a visit when you travel to Vernazza.
The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!
Read more posts in this fascinating series here:
Linking up with My Brown Paper Packages for #WednesdayWanderlust