I started looking in March for a room in Vernazza for 3 nights at the end of September. I knew that 6-7 months ahead could be late to reserve a room in Vernazza if I had specific dates in mind, and it was. After multiple email inquiries to various proprietors I was able to secure the apartment owned by Armanda. Armanda and her son Giambautista (called Giamba) own a few places including the hotel La Mala (which we could not get into), the apartment we stayed in, and they have a single room as well for rent.
I could only find one contribution on Trip Advisor about the apartment, and that was in the Forum section I believe. I contacted the contributor directly through Trip Advisor with additional questions since the situation in Vernazza is so casual and I felt unsure. After we got back I did find a reference to an Armanda property under “Vernazza Specialty Lodging” although I do not think it is the same property as it lists the address as Piazza Marconi 15 and the address of Armanda’s apartment is Piazza Marconi 2.
Armanda has a website (www.armanda.it) that shows pictures of the apartment and the room. The pictures do a good job of showing what the apartment is like. It is updated, very clean and comfortable. The windows do a great job of soundproofing. There is one bedroom with a queen sized bed and apparently the very nice leather sofa in the living area turns into a bed although we did not need to check that out as there were only 2 of us. The bed good enough and the pillows are flat but it was all OK. The large, open kitchen area has some basic equipment, there is a living area with a flat screen and a good-sized bathroom that also holds a small washing machine. We wanted badly to use the washer but we had rainy weather on and off and clothes need to be line dried. It was chilly when we arrived and the heating system in the apartment worked quickly.
There is also a link to email Armanda on her website. Communication is just adequate. She will confirm the reservation and will take a credit card number to hold the apartment. I did email back twice over the ensuing months with questions and received no response. About 60 days before we left I emailed to confirm our arrival and they did email back with confirmation they expected us. We again called when we arrived in Rome to let them know we would be arriving in a few days.
We paid E150/night (payment in cash at the end) but accommodations can certainly be had in Vernazza for less. But we loved the location (facing the square and the harbor) and loved having the space. There is only one flight of stairs (15 steps) to the apartment. Many of the accommodations in Vernazza have some challenging sets of stairs which can be difficult for some especially with luggage.
We had a driver take us to Vernazza from Florence. He called ahead to Giamba and he met us in the parking lot to carry our bags down to the harbor. Giamba made sure we arrived and departed Vernazza with ease. We did not travel lightly and he managed the 2 heaviest suitcases. I heard many stories from visitors staying in the Cinque Terre about how they received no assistance with luggage from the owners of the properties they stayed at, even if they had to climb up 100 steps.
Leaving Vernazza to go back to the parking lot is uphill all the way – and if it is raining, windy or hot, having to drag your luggage would not be fun. If coming and going by train, the train station is about half the distance of the parking lot. Giamba will meet you there as well of course.
We had to call Giamba once during our stay for more towels and he was there in 10 minutes. His English is quite good. We never met Armanda but I did speak with her on the phone while we were staying there. We had a few things to discuss and her English is limited - but she was delightful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Closed due to damage suffered in the October 2011 mudslide. ... more less
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