This is the article, which is part of the Cinque Terre series: here I will talk about the second village, whose name is Manarola. I visited Manarola at the end of October, hoping that there would be less people visiting Cinque Terre, but it was not like this at all! I thought I came back in summer for the great amount of people walking around. I wanted to relax looking at the sea but the truth was that there was not even a free bench xD
Some Information About Manarola
The village of Manarola was founded when the people from Vara Valley emigrated to the sea to exploit its resources like fishing and its strategic position by joining commercial trades. Manarola hosts a very nice festival during Christmas: they make a bright nativity scene on the hill that towers over the village, using the fields where they grow grapes.
Manarola Proper Village
If you are a tourist and you are travelling by train, you will surely avoid this part of the village because the train station is located near the sea cutting out this part. If you are travelling by car, you will have to walk for 10 minutes before reaching the city centre and you can pass through the small alleyways and houses that make up the upper part of the village, which is normally left out by the tourists. At the top of the village you can stumble upon a nice church and a square overlooking the whole village allowing you to have a nice glimpse over Manarola from above. Just go ahead and try to venture into the small alleyways nestled between the crumbling and colorful houses and you will be rewarded.
Nestled between the houses, we found a small square overlooking the sea and the train station with some locals working in their cellars, I could still smell the wine and grapes that remained inside after the september harvest. There the atmsophere was surreal, no more the crowded and hot Cinque Terre that you might expect when you come in summer but everything was slow and authentic. Furthermore the crystalline water was calling out to me telling me to bathe! So clear and so warm, I really wanted to give it a try ahah
This street is quite long and leads you through narrow alleyways until you reach a beautiful place overlooking the sea and part of the village with a curious crucifix made by the locals. Just proceed down the steep stairways and you will find yourself in the city center again. At the end of the alleyway you can find a small plaque where it is written a part of Montale’s poem. Other verses by him can be found in La Marina.
When you get off from the train, your just need to go straight and you already find yourself near the sea. Manarola is the only Cinque Terre villages that does not have a beach, not even a rocky one, this is the reason why in summer I rarely come here. Although this lack of beach, the beauty of Manarola lies on the view from the port over the cute village with its colorful houses all near each other. This view will repay your trip here even though you were expecting to bathe.
My favourite place whole Manarola is the park on the cliff overlooking the village and the port. You just need to go on straight until you reach a park for children equipped with different kinds of games and run by local volunteers. From there you can have a nice glimpse over Manarola itself but also over the other Cinque Terre village, Corniglia, and cliffs. Up there you can relax and enjoy the weather but only if there are not many people and this usually happens in winter. Just above the park there is a huge cemetery with a writing on it: it is part of the poem “Liguria” written by the poet Cardarelli.
Have you ever been to Manarola? What did you like about the town? Did you try local food? Let me know your opinion in the comments below ?