Corniglia is unique among the villages of the Cinque Terre as it is the only one that is not at the base of the cliffs. Corniglia sits high on an outcropping of rock, its sides flanked with terraced vineyards, its base lapped by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.
The hiking trail into town is delineated by ancient stone walls. The walls hold back the terraced gardens that would otherwise tumble into the sea. Olive groves and lemon trees line the way into the village. This part of the hike is slightly easier than the section between Monterosso Al Mare and Vernazza. The trail is near the top of the cliffs and so is the village of Corniglia, so it is not necessary to descend all the way to sea level.
The village of Corniglia feels ancient. The streets are incredibly narrow and the buildings are several centuries old. One church is almost 1000 years old. Like all the villages of the Cinque Terre the buildings are brightly painted. This is a working fishing village so it is common to see residents going about their business, including hanging their laundry to dry from second floor windows.
Leaving the smallest of the five villages a hiker takes the trail once again down to the sea. But instead of a steep mountain path there are a set of switchback stairways that start the journey to Manarola.
While each story in this series can be read individually, the reader will gain more enjoyment and knowledge of the area if the series is read in order.