After Vernazza, Manarola was the village I desired to visit the most. I had seen a picture of it just before the sunset and I thought “I want to spend a night there!”. Perched on a craggy promontory of dark rock, with its small port enclosed by two rocky boulders, Manarola is an unique scenery and it will take your breath away 😍!
Manarola looks like a miniature village: the town develops around the main road that traces the course of the stream Groppo, which is no longer visible but still there (if you go for a swim you’ll feel the cold current in some points). The main square of the village, Piazza Innocenzo IV, is curiously high above the rest of the town. On this square there are several important buildings to visit: the bell tower, the church of San Lorenzo and the Oratorio dei Disciplinati.
The lower part of Manarola goes down towards the port and it is one of the most panoramic points to admire the village. It is also a perfect spot for a swim or a refreshing dip. Manarola offers the best deep-water swimming in the Cinque Terre region, if you are a snorkeling lover you will love to spend time at the marina.
To visit in Manarola:
- Via Belvedere offers a picturesque viewpoint where you can take photos and enjoy a unique view. It’s a real balcony overlooking the sea and the village. To reach it you have to go to the lower part of the village and once you are close to the port, go up to Piazza Eugenio Montale.
- The Church of San Lorenzo and a freestanding campanile built on the ruins of a preexisting watchtower. This church is dedicated to the patron saint, whose feast is celebrated in the town on August 10.
The construction of the church began in 1338, it is in Gothic style outside and Baroque inside. The bell tower of the Church is separated from its structure, it was used as a lookout to observe the sea and possible attacks.
- Besides for its beauty, Manarola is also known for its sweet wine Sciacchetrà that is produced in the surrounding area. A whole side of the village of Manarola is covered by terraces cultivated with vines. Through this part of the village you can join the Sentiero Azzurro in the path towards the land of Corniglia, but this stretch is currently closed. Coming up on these terraces, reachable from the upper part of the village of Manarola, you have a beautiful view of the whole city built on the rock.
Don’t forget to order a glass of Sciacchetrà at the end of your meal, it maches perfectly with a dessert.
💡 Interesting to know:
If you visit the citadel in December or January you can admire the largest nativity scene in the world. In 1976 a citizen began to cover with his illuminations all the hill of Manarola and after 30 years he eventually created what is now a Guinness Nativity.
- Nearby Manarola
Manarola is the perfect destination for those who want to practice hiking to enjoy magnificent views and, at the same time, get an idea of what the Cinque Terre are really like: many of the trails will lead you directly through the local vineyards and olive groves.
This small village located about a kilometer from Manarola, whose name derives from the homonymous river that flows towards the sea, can be reached on foot, by bus or by car from the main road. Particularly rich in charm and especially not crowded because it is not very well known, it is a perfect example of the classic “carugi”, a system of narrow and dark stone streets that connect the houses and the steep staircases.
Volastra is one of the oldest villages in the Cinque Terre National Park, whose origins date back to the Etruscan era; it was built on the Roman Via Aurelia, which runs along the coast. The name derives from “Vicus Oleaster”, or the land of olive trees, and represents, perhaps, one of the most fascinating and enchanting places of the Cinque Terre that still boasts its original terraces with dry walls for the cultivation of vines and olive trees.
Discover the other villages of Cinque Terre: