Manarola

A colourful collection of houses built on a mountainside looking directly onto the sea of the Cinque Terre.

 

Vista di Manarola di sera

Manarola is the second of the Cinque Terre villages that can be reached from La Spezia. It is perched on a rocky headland clinging to which are the colourful little houses and towers of the village, which wind their way along the flow of the Volastra , around which its little lanes and steps stretch out among the buildings. Nestling amid lush vineyards, Manarola is the place where most of the Cinque Terre’s wine is produced.


The origins of the village stretch back to ancient times, when the first homes arose in Volastra, as a result of the military roads and the need to change horses. The area also offered advantages from a strategic point of view, for protection from pirate attacks, which is why the settlements grew up next to the rock spur.

 

Manarola offers a host of attractions for both locals and visitors, the most noteworthy of which is the famous nativity scene that remains lit up throughout December by almost twenty thousand light bulbs and decorates the Colle delle Tre Croci, or Hill of the Three Crosses. Spread over an area of some 4000 square metres, it is the largest nativity scene in the world, and has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records. In addition to this peculiar, picturesque work, also worth a visit are the Castle of Manarola, the Romanesque Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Salute and the Church of San Lorenzo, containing statues and tempera paintings dating back to the 17th century

 

 

Manarola also plays host to a number of traditional festivals besides the “switching on ceremony” of the nativity scene. Every year, in June, Manarola welcomes the Festa dei Pittori, or Painters’ Festival, during which artists can be seen at work in the streets of the village, while in the months of July and August, the Annual Organ Festival takes place. Another interesting attraction in August is the procession in honour of the village’s patron saint, with an alluring succession of boats adorning the sea opposite Manarola, illuminated by the glow of hundreds of lights twinkling in the darkness.

Presepe di Manarola

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