Manarola is probably the oldest village of Cinque Terre. It is also the second the smallest village of all Cinque Terre (just after Corniglia).
How to reach Manarola?
• by train – you get Manarola railway station; more details in the previous post and: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
• by car – you should take provincial road SP 32 from La Spezia. After about 20 minutes and after the third tunnel you have to turn right and follow the signs to Manarola. It is impossible to arrive at the village by car. You have to stop in the big parking place and then continue on foot or take an electric bus. The bus ticket is included in the Cinque Terre Card. Otherwise, a ticket costs 2,50€ if bought on bus and 1,50€ if you get in the tourist information centres of the National Park.
• by ferry – all details in the previous post. <In high season there are many ferries that stop in and go in every harbour of Cinque Terre. It is easy to confuse the ferry company. Pay attention to get the right one!>
The origins of the current village are dated back to the 12th century. In that period the population of Manarola started to grow due to immigration from the nearby village of Volastra. Manarola was ruled by the Lords of Carpena and by the Fieschi Family. In 1276 became the part of Republic of Genoa and after in 1861 the part of United Italy.
Things to see and do:
Chiesa di San Lorenzo (Church of St Lawrence)
The church was built in 1338. Its façade was designed in Ligurian gothic style with marble tracery rose window. Interiors are decorated in baroque style. In front of the church, there is located the 14th-century bell tower. It is interesting because originally it was used as a watchtower.
Was built to protect the village from the attacks of North African pirates. The castle was used to defend the village until the 18th century. In the following centuries, it lost its importance completely and became a private house. Nowadays it is still a house but you can notice it easily the building through the other houses of Manarola.
This small group of houses is located above Manarola. It is worth visiting because of a winery where very special, local vine Sciacchetrà DOC is produced. It is possible to taste and buy it. For entering you will need the Cinque Terre CARD.
When you are in the front of the harbour, you can turn right and go through via Belvedere. After 10 minutes walk you get the panoramic point. Almost all pictures of Manarola, found on the Internet, were made from that place. The view is really amazing.
Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Line)
Once there was a path possible to choose, Sentiero Azzurro. It led to the next Land of Cinque Terre, Corniglia. The walk took about 60 minutes and offered magnificent views on the Ligurian shore. Unfortunately was possible, because in 2011 an extended slide interrupted it. Now it is closed for the tourists. It is said that probably it will be reopened in 2023 … hopefully…
The same thing happened to a path that connects Manarola with Riomaggiore, the famous Via dell’Amore …
Via dell’Amore (Lovers Line)
It is the most famous part of the Sentiero Azzurro. Via dell’Amore it’s an easy 20-minute stroll along the waterfront. It offers the beautiful views of the Cinque Terre shore. Absolutely you should visit it …. however …. in September 2011 a rockslide closed the Via dell’Amore. During that slide, four Australian tourists were injured. After that incident path was closed for the tourist. Since that day some works were done and now only a little part of the trial is open (about 200 m from Manarola railway station to the Bar Via dell’Amore). It is expected that the whole path will be reopened in 2023 …
Since 1961 there has been the biggest Christmas crib in the world created. A local artist Mario Andreoli (retired railwayman) makes up over the hill the biblical characters. They are made of thousands of lights mounted on special patterns. It is really charming. It could be a reason for visiting Manarola during Christmas 😉
In Manarola, you can find numerous bakeries with all types of FOCACCIA. For sure it is the best snack when you get hungry ;)!
Let’s continue! Now we move to Corniglia, the smallest and the highest village of all Cinque Terre!