Manarola in the Cinque Terre

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Manarola is one of the five villages in the Cinque Terre and one of the quietest, although it has a swimming area which attracts plenty of tourists especially during the summer months. Originally a fishing village like many of the coastal Cinque Terre towns, Manarola is also known for its locally produced white wines, Costa de Campu and Costa da Posa.

Terraced hillsides in Manarola Cinque Terre, ItalyI was there recently and it is easy to see why wines are produced there, since the hillsides surrounding the village of Manarola consist of many terraced vineyards. Looking at these it made me wonder how the people manage to work on these steep hillsides. The answer is narrow planks of wood or dirt paths which run alongside each terrace. I saw some of the locals tending their land as I was walking from the upper portion of Manarola to the lower end or centro storico.

Manarola - Cinque Terre ItalyManarola is beautiful and has the typical characteristic narrow steps and walkways like the other steep villages in the Cinque Terre. Manarola is the second village and the one at the end of the famous Via dell’Amore walk from Riomaggiore. From Manarola there is a hiking trail to the next village of Corniglia, but it has been closed for more than two years now due to a landslide.

Entrance to via dell'Amore - Cinque Terre ItalyManarola does have a train station and it is easy to reach Corniglia that way; however once there I had to either take a small bus to the hilltop town of Corniglia, which sits 100 meters above the sea. The other option is walking up the 382 steps, and then of course back down when it would be time to leave. No thank you.

Nativity scene in Manarola Cinque Terre, ItalyWandering around Manarola is enjoyable as there are a few shops with locally produced products such as ceramic and food items. The small family run restaurants are usually named after their owners and there are only two hotels in this small village.

Shop in Manarola - Cinque Terre ItalyOne of the oldest structures here is the 14th century   Baroque church, the Church of St Lawrence, from which I was able to enjoy a wonderful panorama view downward. I was not in Manarola during the winter months, but since 1997 there had been a tradition of the placement of an illuminated Nativity scene on the hillsides. In the town I did see what maybe was a part of that high on the walls.

The local people here are very friendly to tourists, despite the fact that we are traipsing through their lives and neighborhoods on a daily basis. The Cinque Terre is a beautiful part of Italy and Manarola is not to be missed.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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