Vernazza is the fourth town of the five in the Cinque Terre (which means Five Lands). Still a true fishing village, it boasts a long maritime tradition; twinkly lights from tiny fishing boats can still be seen bobbing off shore just before dawn. Established in 1000 A.D., this town has had its share of invaders and pirate raids. Today, the only invaders to be seen are modern marauders: tourists.
We spent the remainder of the day reacquainting ourselves with this precious place, rambling up and down its tiny stone alleys, called carugi here instead of vicoli as in other parts of Italia.
At the Blue Marlin Bar, we entered to see if our old favorite haunt had changed any. It had. It offers three internet computers now instead of one, and the bar has expanded into the adjoining room where there once had been a self-service laundromat.
When we were here in 2000 we ran into Rick Steves who was in town filming for one of his television episodes. As we were sipping on glasses of wine at the Blue Marlin Bar, he popped in and chatted with us a few minutes before returning outside where a crowd of appreciative tourists was gathering.
Now, in 2009, Gino had a beer while I checked email on one of the upgraded computers. The Blue Marlin is a great place to simply hang out and relax. They serve breakfasts, snacks, and any drink you can think of. It also has an extensive cd collection.
The first time we were there we couldn’t believe our ears when we heard Little Charlie and the Night Cats blaring from the speakers. Little Charlie is a well-known band in Northern California, but to hear them in faraway Vernazza was a cultural jolt. After we returned home from that first trip, we sent the owner a Coco Montoya cd to add to his collection of blues. If you go to the Blue Marlin Bar, be sure to tell Massimo hello.
Later, as the sun set and the dinner hour arrived, we claimed one of the last outdoor tables of Trattoria Gianni Franzi. It was refreshing sitting at the outskirts of the piazza under big colorful umbrellas. We finished our meal with a glass of Sciacchetra’, that signature sweet dessert wine I’d been pining for. Yummmm! And thanks to our taxi driver, I remembered to pronounce the accent at the end.
As we finished our meal, the rain started pelting the umbrellas so rather than lingering, we scurried back to our rooms. From the safety of our open windows, we watched the tourists make a hasty run for it as sheets of water assaulted the piazza. No TV was needed for entertainment — we had the windows.