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Vernazza is a town and comune located in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, northwestern Italy. It is one of the five towns in the Cinque Terre region. Vernazza is the fourth town heading north into the Cinque Terre. It has no car traffic - it has a road that leads into a parking lot on the edge of the town and remains one the truest "fishing villages" on the Italian Riviera. Vernazza has the only proper harbor in the Cinque Terre and is a charming, small fishing village. Vernazza was founded about 1000 A.D. and was ruled by the Republic of Genoa starting in 1276. Vernazza's medieval castle, Belforte, was built in the mid-1500's, primarily to protect the village from pirates.
Some of the attractions of Vernazza are the Church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia, begun in 1318. It has a nave and two aisles with an octagonal bell tower rising from the apse area.
Doria Castle - built in the 15th century to protect the village from pirates.
The Shrine of Santuario di Nostra Signora di Reggio, about a half hour's steep walk above Vernazza. The wide path that leads up to the shrine is punctuated with the Stations of the Cross. Around the shrine is a large shady open area, expansive views of the water below, as well as the hillside vineyards, and various statues of Mary and Joseph.
The Beach is in the protected harbor on the northwestern side.
Vernazza is a quaint, tiny place, with a population of about 1,000. The entire Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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