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Thanks Tim, Charlie and Ray for your comments.
What I left out of the description is that we were on a 5 or 6 mile hike along the trail that connects the 5 towns. From Vernazza south we saw Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, all different and amazing. Corniglia is the only one that does not connect directly with the ocean.
That is interesting you say that Charlie, and I totally agree. I find myself going horizontal in a narrow space quite a bit (deny the vertical!), but I spent a lot of time in Italy embracing the vertical.