Fun things to do in Manarola

  • Padlocks on the Via dell'Amore
    Padlocks on the Via dell'Amore
    by toonsarah
  • Things to Do
    by goodfish
  • Things to Do
    by goodfish

Most Viewed Things to Do in Manarola

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    The Harbor

    by goodfish Written Feb 7, 2013

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    Shutterbugs, this is where you’re going to go snap-happy. Walkways heading off from the right of the harbor to lead the best vantage point for those iconic shots of Manarola. Along the way you’ll pass a local swimming hole, and you can follow the paths to the village cemetery on Punta Bonfiglio, and a small park.

    Bonus: you can “walk” Via Birolli and the lower path below the cemetery on google maps!

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    Downside

    by goodfish Updated Feb 7, 2013

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    The other end of Via Discovolo tilts downhill towards the harbor and eventually turns into Via Rentao Birolli. This area is where the bulk of the crowds will be as most of the ristorantes and shops are along here. Via Birolli is also an overflow parking lot of sorts for little fishing boats. Potter your way towards the water, being sure to look for clever applications of trompe l’oeil that may decorate the upper stories of some of the buildings

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    Upside

    by goodfish Updated Feb 7, 2013

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    The inland end of Manarola is an uphill trudge from the train station or Via dell’Amore and so is largely ignored by couch potatoes - which is exactly why you should hoof it up here. And besides fleeing the mass of humanity that can clog lower Via Discovolo (main street) there are some nice overlooks of the village and an old church to poke your nose into.

    Outside, San Lorenzo e Nativita di Maria (whew, long name) could be a cousin to Corniglia’s St Pete’s but once inside, that’s where any family resemblance ends. Both were built at around the same time (14th century) of the same style (Ligurian Gothic) and share the same three-aisle layout but St. Larry’s arches and walls are almost entirely without decoration and the vault painting is badly damaged. No matter: scattered about are a few nice 15th-century triptychs and baptismal font plus an odd basin that’s thought to have been some sort of measuring device way back when Manarola was under Genoa’s thumb. I’ve no idea why it's here but I'm sure they have their reasons.

    Not far from the church is the Oratory of the Order of Penitents (which was closed for a special event) and 14th-century watchtower: pirates were once a big annoyance here.

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    Vineyard Walk

    by basstbn Written Nov 19, 2011

    We walked a couple of paths outside of Manarola for a ways, one of those being a marked path recommended by Rick Steves in his invaluable guidebook. Even though it was late September, and the year's grapes had been harvested, we found it relaxing to be surrounded by so much green. The photos shown are from both of the pathways.

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    Manarola Cemetery

    by basstbn Updated Nov 19, 2011

    This was the first of two cemeteries we visited in Cinque Terre. Nancy and I found them to fascinating, especially when compared to those in the wide open spaces of middle-America. Cemeteries are not places of eternal rest for the remains of those buried here, but a temporary vault. After a generation or so, the bones are removed and placed in a communal ossuary (sort of a bone yard) in the middle of the chapel floor.

    During Napolean's reign as king of Italy, it was believed that cemeteries were unhealthy places, so he ordered that they be located outside of the cities. Such is the case with Ligurian cemeteries today. Sure makes for some serene, sometimes scenic settings.

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    Take the Hillside Walk to the Park & Cemetery

    by basstbn Written Nov 19, 2011

    The most engaging and spectacular views we saw of Manarola were from the hillside path up the Punta Bonfiglio. At the top of this promontory is the city cemetery, to be covered in a separate tip. Surrounding the cemetery, including below it, is a park with picnic areas, playground, benches, and a WC. We also discovered a park bench at the tip of the point from which we enjoyed an amazing view up the coastline in the direction of Vernazza and Monterosso.

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    The Harbor

    by basstbn Written Nov 19, 2011

    Manarola's harbor is tiny, but picturesque, especially when seen from the pathway winding its way up the hillside to the city cemetery. On the day of our visit, there was little boating action, probably due to the frequent rain and wind squalls. Although Manarola does not have a sandy beach, there is a deep-water swimming hole just below the harbor. Not for everybody.

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    Town Center

    by basstbn Written Nov 19, 2011

    Again we found ourselves strolling about town, not shopping, but watching folks go about their daily lives. One elderly woman in particular caught my attention as she watched the goings on in the street from her balcony. I wondered what changes she had seen here in her lifetime, even if she was old enough to remember WWII, Mussolini, German troops marching through town, etc.

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    The Oratory of the Disciplinati of Manarola

    by ruki Written May 24, 2010

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    It is located on the same square of the church San Lorenzo. This oratory is from XV century and it is bell tower of the Santissima Annunziata or of the Azzurri. There is the ancient hospital of San Rocco.

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    San Lorenzo Church

    by ruki Updated May 24, 2010

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    San Lorenzo Church dates from 1338 and it is patron of the village. It was built in Gothic style by the Maestri Antelami. The pointed arch portal is decorated with a bas-relief representing the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence. In the XIV century squared bell tower was an ancient defensive building.

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    Manarola’s harbour

    by toonsarah Updated Aug 8, 2009

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    The harbour in Manarola is, like Riomaggiore’s to the south, a small and rocky cleft between two spurs of hill. There is no beach, and little space for traditional seaside activities such as sun-bathing and swimming, but that doesn’t stop people doing either. The slipway when we visited was packed with sun-worshippers, seemingly undeterred by its hard surface and unbothered by the stares of ourselves and others peering down from the path above them (see photo 2). For swimmers, a ladder provides access to the sea, and although we didn’t join them, I have to say the water looked very tempting – clear, clean and a beautiful shade of deep blue-green.

    The ferry leaves from a jetty on the south side (left as you arrive here from the village) and tickets are sold from a small booth nearby. Or if you’re leaving on foot for Corniglia, the path climbs up to the north, past the bougainvillea you can just see in my photo. A little way up this path we saw an intriguing pink arch (photo 3) but I’ve not been able to find out anything about this.

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    At the top of the village

    by toonsarah Updated Aug 8, 2009

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    Relatively few visitors seemed to take the trouble to climb the main street, Via Discovolo, to the church and piazza at the top. This is a shame, as not only are they missing a chance to see the large and ancient mill wheel or magna roea, thought to have given the village its name, on the way up, but also a number of worthwhile sights at journey’s end.

    The road widens into a piazza, a sizeable one given the small scale of the village. This is the Piazzale Papa Innocenzo IV, at the centre of which is the church of San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence), built in 1338. We weren’t able to go inside as it was Sunday and a Mass was in progress, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a description of the interior, but I imagine it is similar the others in the region – certainly the exterior is. Unusually though for this region, the church’s bell tower, or campanile is detached and sits opposite it on the other side of the piazza (photo 3). The likely reason for this is that in the past this tower was used not only for its religious purposes but also as a post to watch for potential pirate raids.

    Walk behind the tower to the edge of the piazza for a wonderful view of the rooftops of Manarola and the vineyards and sea beyond (see photo 2, which is a panorama so needs to be opened up if the view is to be properly appreciated).

    At the top of the square the road continues, past an old water pump, to a stretch where the River Groppo, which once ran right through the town, can still be seen. You will probably have heard this river as you walk, but until now not been able to see it. Long ago this river would have been at the heart of village life – a place to fetch water, wash clothes and gossip with the neighbours. Indeed, this would have been the case in Riomaggiore too, but whereas there the river has been covered up and made into the road, in Manarola a little of that past scene can still be imagined here in the upper part of the village where the Groppo still flows.

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    Via de Mezza

    by toonsarah Written Aug 8, 2009

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    Below the Piazza Capellini, Via Discovolo becomes Via de Mezza and continues its descent to the harbour. This has to be one of the most unusual village streets I have seen. Not in terms of its buildings, which are, as you would expect in such a picturesque tourist destination, a mix of restaurants, gift shops and a few more practical shops too. No, I refer to the parking in front of these premises – not cars as you might suppose, but boats. The harbour here is too small for the number of local boat owners and fishermen, so many boats have to be hauled up the main street to be “parked” on either side of it in front of these restaurants and shops. With the brightly painted buildings and clothes hanging from every balcony, it makes for an unusual and colourful scene, especially when viewed from the Piazza Capellini just above.

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    Piazza Capellini

    by toonsarah Written Aug 8, 2009

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    Just below the turning that leads to the station and to the Via del’Amore the main street is interrupted by another piazza, the Piazza Capellini. This was built in 2004 and provides a lovely spot for that age-old pastime of people watching. The older locals sit on the benches here while children play and tourists pause to take in the view. At its furthest side you can lean on the railings to look down on the continuation of the main street drawing you on to the harbour beyond. But before you continue your walk spend a little time here admiring the colourful mosaic of fish, gulls and other ocean motifs set into the centre of the square (photo 2), and the unusual modern fountain (photo 3) on one side. I also liked the cheerful sun on one of the nearby buildings (photo 4).

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    The port

    by xaver Written Nov 17, 2008

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    The best way to anjoy the view of Manarola is going to the port and then following to "punta Bonfiglio" which is the trail next to the mountain at the right side of the port.
    It is a 5 minuts long walk from the station and it gives you the view of the all town "handing" on the rocks.

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